The Easybeats Biography

Formed in Sydney, Australia, in 1964, this beat group comprised Harry Vanda (Johannes Jacob Hendrickus Vandenberg, 22 March 1947, The Hague, the Netherlands; guitar), Dick Diamonde (b. Dingeman Van Der Sluys, 28 December 1947, Hilversum, the Netherlands; bass), Steve Wright (b. 20 December 1948, Leeds, Yorkshire, England; vocals), George Young (b. 6 November 1947, Glasgow, Scotland; guitar) and Gordon ‘Snowy’ Fleet (b. 16 August 1946, Bootle, Lancashire, England; drums). Originally known as the Starfighters, they changed their name after the arrival of Fleet, who modelled their new style on that of the Liverpool beat groups of the period. After a series of hits in their homeland, including six number 1 singles, the group relocated to England in the summer of 1966 and were offered the opportunity to work with top pop producer Shel Talmy. The combination resulted in one of the all-time great beat group singles of the 60s: ‘Friday On My Mind’. Strident guitars, clever counter-harmonies and a super-strong beat were the ingredients that provided the disc with its power. Following a solid push on pirate radio, it peaked at number 6 in the UK. Unfortunately, the group found it difficult to follow up their hit and their prospects were not helped after splitting with Talmy during the recording of their first UK-released album. When they finally returned to the UK charts in 1968, it was with the ballad ‘Hello, How Are You’, the mood of which contrasted sharply with that of their first hit. Lack of morale and gradual line-up changes, including new drummer Tony Cahil, subtly transformed the group into a vehicle for key members Vanda and Young, who were already writing material for other artists. In 1969, after an Australian tour, the Easybeats split up. Ironically, they enjoyed a US hit some months later with ‘St. Louis’.

In the wake of their demise, Vanda/Young went into production, released records under a variety of pseudonyms and were largely responsible for the Australian success of such artists as John Paul Jones and William Shakespeare. George Young and his two brothers, Angus and Malcolm, were part of the original line-up of AC/DC, while Vanda/Young found success in their own right during the early 80s as Flash In The Pan. Wright enjoyed brief solo success in Australia with tracks such as Vanda and Young’s ‘Evie’, but his career was blighted by addiction. The Easybeats undertook a national reunion tour in 1986, the flavour of which can be sampled on the final five tracks of 1995’s Live Studio And Stage release.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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