Step back in time with Countdown host Molly Meldrum in Part 2 of HiberNation’s return to the good old days of music. Discover Australia’s greatest hits of the 1970s and vote for your favorite!
In Part 2 of our decade of musical hit streaks, we spotlight each year’s greatest Australian songs from the 1970s with commentary from legendaries. Countdown host Molly Meldrum.
Special assistance was provided by graphics guru Gavin Ryan, who analyzed the numbers for the vintage.
TOP AUSSIE OUTSIDE EVERY YEAR OF THE 1970s
1970: SUMMER – MIXTURES
This local band got lucky when they released their cover of the British band Mungo Jerry’s hit on a small label (Fable) at a time when major record companies were embroiled in a bitter copyright battle with the radio stations.
With the UK version blacklisted on local radio, The Mixtures’ In summer hit No.1 for nine weeks, followed later that year by The song of the stroller, which the group wrote themselves – it reached number 2 in the UK and was a hit in the US – one of the first international hits to be written, recorded and produced in Australia.
âThey were a fantastic group,â Meldrum said. “They deserved more success than they had ever had.”
1971: EAGLE ROCK – DADDY COOL
In 1971, this set a record for a local single by spending 10 weeks at No.1 (and 17 weeks at No.1 in their hometown of Melbourne), then again became a Top 20 hit when it was re-released in 1982. .
In 1972, a young Elton John heard Eagle Rock while touring Australia.
âIt definitely inspired Rock Crocodile“said Meldrum.
âRod Stewart, David Bowie, they all loved it. It should have been an international success. It was such an important song for Australian music, not just at this time, but it continues to be a song new generations love.
âI remember going to one of their concerts at Melbourne Town Hall and I was just heading to be the greatest groupie ever, and I was absolutely not ashamed of the all.”
1972: MOST PEOPLE I KNOW (THINK I’M CRAZY) – BILLY THORPE AND THE AZTEC
Featured at the Sunbury Music Festival that year, the song skyrocketed the charts and became Thorpe’s iconic anthem – which would become the title of one of his memoirs.
âI actually said to Billy once, ‘This song is the story of my life,’â Meldrum said.
âHe dedicated it to me once at a concert, he called me Ian or Meldrum, that was before people knew me as Molly. His voice on it is breathtaking.
âThorpey was a great artist and a great person. ”
1973: DELTA DAWN – HELEN REDDY
Originally an American Top 10 country hit for Tanya Tucker in 1972, a year later Australian singer Helen Reddy would have one of her three No.1 US hits with the track (the others being her iconic I’m a woman and Angie baby).
âNow there is an amazing woman,â Meldrum said.
âHelene is very underrated. She was someone that Australian industry artists idolized, people like Colleen Hewett, because she was so successful in America on her own terms and Delta dawn came after she really summed up the changing times with I’m a woman. “
1974: EVIE (PARTS 1, 2 AND 3) – STEVIE WRIGHT
The former Easybeats frontman had been through rough times, his former bandmates Harry Vanda and George Young – who were set to produce AC / DC – wrote the epic Evie for him.
The song (with Malcolm Young on guitar) became the first 11-minute song to reach number 1, later covered by Suzi Quatro and The Wrights, a supergroup made up of members of Jet, Powderfinger and You Am I.
“Evie is such a complicated song, but the way Stevie sang it, he made it a hit, âMeldrum said.
“Vanda and Young were the building blocks of Australian music, dating back to the Easybeats” Friday on my mind, one of the greatest songs of all time.
âWhen they got to Australia it was like we inherited The Beatles and (producer) George Martin all in one. They changed the sound of our music.
1975: HORROR FILM – SKYHOOKS
Just as the ‘Hooks were launched, color television in Australia and an ABC television show called Countdown, moderated by Molly Meldrum.
Skyhooks would be filming a performance catchy enough for the program.
“There is no doubt that without Skyhooks Countdown would not have survived in those early years, âMeldrum said.
âWe needed them as much as they needed us, and with the song by Greg Macainsh, Shirley Strachan and Red Symons, they had it all.
“It was an Australian band that sang about Australia.”
1976: HOWZAT – GRASS
Sherbet, directed by Daryl Braithwaite, had previously scored hits of the 70s with Summer Love and Child’s play, but took it to the next level with Howzat, which turned cricket metaphors into a breakup song.
Not only a No.1 Australian, he reached No.4 in the UK, entered the Top 10 across Europe and even broke into the US Top 100.
âEngland have the cricket references, but it’s also just a great pop song,â Meldrum said.
1977: DON’T FALL IN LOVE – THE FURETS
Discovered by Molly Meldrum after hearing the demo they sent her, he ended up spending so long producing their debut album that he was given the pseudonym Willie Everfinish.
Do not fall in love was released with Lies like a double a-side; Meldrum spent weeks working Lies, then only had three hours to quickly record Do not fall in love, which became the radio hit song.
âIt was very original but very eye-catching,â said Meldrum. “Of course, the song I spent the least time on became the big hit.”
1978: STAYIN ‘ALIVE – LES BEE GEES
Beginning their life as a folk / pop group, by the mid-1970s the Bee Gees had morphed into a disco / funk group and made most of the 40 million sales. Saturday night fever the soundtrack placed them as one of the most successful acts of all time.
âBack then, people were still shocked that the Bee Gees were doing disco,â Meldrum said. “But they knew what they were doing.”
The other big Australian song that year was the expat band Kiwi Dragon’s Are you old enough.
âAn incredible song, with an incredible leader in Marc Hunter,â Meldrum said. “It’s a shame they didn’t take off overseas – they really should have.”
1979: UP CAZALY TEA – THE TWO MAN BAND
Mike Brady and Peter Sullivan’s ode to South Melbourne footballer Roy Cazaly sold over 250,000 copies in 1979 and remains a constant feature of the AFL Grand Final to this day.
The other big local success of the year was C’Mon Australien C’Mon, which started out as a TV jingle by the Mojo ad gurus to promote cricket on Channel 9, then expanded by popular demand to become a standalone single.
“Australians love sport, and here are some examples of sport mixing with music,” Meldrum said.