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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Valentines..Peculiar Hole In the Sky..1967-68...popular Perth band and beginnings for Bon Scott

Perth pop group The Valentines were, for a brief period, one of the most popular bands in the country. Although they started out as an energetic soul/R'n'B band, their best known image was associated with the so-called "bubblegum pop" phenomenon of 1968-70. But there was a wild side to the band which was evident in their live performances (and their off-stage carousing). These days, of course, they're best known by reference to the fact that one of the singers ended up in a little band called AC/DC.

The Valentines formed in Perth in mid-1966, bringing together members of three leading local beat groups: Scott and Milson were from The Spektors, Lovegrove, Ward and Cooksey from The Winztons, and Findlay from top WA band Ray Hoff & The Off Beats. Playing a mixture of soul, R&B and mod covers, by the start of 1967 they were already Perth's top group. A major draw card was the double-vocal attack of dynamic front men Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove, and within a few weeks of their live debut they were packing in crowds at their shows at venues like Canterbury Court and the Swanbourne Surf Livesaving Club (known locally as the Swanbourne Stomp).

It wasn't long before their local popularity came to the attention of Martin Clarke, who operated Perth's only record label in the 1960's, Clarion. The Valentines signed to Clarion in March 1967 and released their first single in May. The single was a good indication of where their early influences lay - the A-side was a cover of Arthur Alexander's "Every Day I Have To Cry", and backed by a cover of "I Can't Dance With You", an early track by British mod icons The Small Faces. It was a strong beginning, selling well locally and peaking at #5 on the Perth charts.

The second single was a Beatlesque Vanda and Young composition, "She Said", released in August '67. It didn't do quite as well but still made the lower reaches of the Perth Top 40. The song came their way because The Valentines had become friends with The Easybeats, whom they supported when they toured Western Australia. Vanda and Young went on to write two more singles especially for them.

Bruce Abbott (drums) early 1968
Paddy Beach (drums) May 1969-Aug 1970
John Cooksey (bass) 1968
Warrick Findlay (drums) 1966-July 1968
Doug Lavery (drums) July 1968-69
John Lockery (bass) 1966-68
Vince Lovegrove (vocals)
Wyn Milson (lead guitar)
Bon Scott (vocals)
Ted Ward (Ted Junko) (rhythm guitar)

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