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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Skyhooks..Living In the Seventies...released 40 years ago and still a classic

I've been wanting to post this one for a while and since this year is the 40th anniversary of its original release, I wanted to get in before everyone else does. One of the biggest selling Aussie albums of all time and certainly one of the most popular Australian bands ever. They turned the music world upside down when this was released in 1974 and it still remains a rock classic.

The Band, a brief history:
Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973 by mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Imants "Freddie" Strauks on drums.They were soon joined by Bob "Bongo" Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, and Red Symons on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Graeme "Shirley" Strachan became lead vocalist in March 1974. Described as a glam rock band, because of flamboyant costumes and make-up, Skyhooks addressed teenage issues including buying drugs ("Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)"), suburban sex ("Balwyn Calling"), the gay scene ("Toorak Cowboy") and loss of girlfriends ("Somewhere in Sydney") by namechecking Australian locales. According to music historian, Ian McFarlane "[Skyhooks] made an enormous impact on Australian social life".

Skyhooks had #1 albums on the Australian Kent Music Report with their 1974 debut, Living in the 70's (for 16 weeks), and its 1975 follow-up, Ego Is Not a Dirty Word (11 weeks).Their #1 singles were "Horror Movie" (January 1975), "Ego Is Not a Dirty Word" (April 1975) and "Jukebox in Siberia" (November 1990).

Symons left Skyhooks in 1977 and became a radio and television personality. Strachan had solo releases since 1976 and finally left the band in 1978 and was also a radio and television presenter. With altered line-ups, Skyhooks continued until they disbanded on 8 June 1980; they briefly reformed in 1983, 1984, 1990 and 1994. In 1992, Skyhooks were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. Lead singer, Strachan died on 29 August 2001, aged 49, in a helicopter crash while solo piloting. Their original lead singer, Steve Hill, died in October 2005, aged 52, of liver cancer.

In 2011, the Skyhooks album Living in the 70s was added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's Sounds of Australia registry.

The album:
Living in the 70's is the debut album by Melbourne band Skyhooks. Released in October 1974 on the Mushroom Records label, the album achieved relatively little success until early 1975. It spent 16 weeks at the top of the Australian album charts from late February 1975, and became the highest-selling album by an Australian act in Australia up until that time, with sales of 240,000. In October 2010, it was listed at No. 9 in the book 100 Best Australian Albums.

The album was produced by former Daddy Cool lead singer Ross Wilson.
Two singles were lifted from the album: "Living in the 70's"/"You're a Broken Gin Bottle, Baby" and "Horror Movie"/"Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)". The latter spent 2 weeks at the top of the Australian singles chart in 1975. Six tracks from the album were banned on commercial radio in Australia; in defiance of this, however, the ABC's new youth station in Sydney, 2JJ, played the track "You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed" as their first ever song when they began broadcasting in January 1975.

"Broken Gin Bottle", the B-side of the original "Living in the 70's" single, was included as track 11 on the 2004 CD remaster.

In 2011 the album featured at number 75 on the Triple J Hottest 100 Albums of All Time. In the same year, the album was added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's Sounds of Australia registry.

The tracks:
(All tracks by Greg Macainsh, except where noted. Red Symons provides lead vocals on "Smut".)
"Living in the 70's" – 3:42
"Whatever Happened to the Revolution?" – 4:08
"Balwyn Calling" – 3:44
"Horror Movie" – 3:47
"You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed" – 3:44
"Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)" – 3:56
"Toorak Cowboy" – 3:45
"Smut" – 5:19 (Red Symons)
"Hey, What's the Matter?" – 2:47
"Motorcycle Bitch" – 3:56
Bonus track on CD remaster[edit]
11. "Broken Gin Bottle" – 4:14


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