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Friday, September 4, 2015

Stars...Paradise...debut album from 1977

Stars were a country and rock band formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. Founding members were Glyn Dowding on drums; Malcolm Eastick on guitar and vocals; Mick Pealing on vocals; and Graham Thompson on bass guitar. They were joined by guitarist, songwriter, Andrew Durant in 1976 and relocated to Melbourne. Thompson then left and was replaced by a succession of bass guitarists including Roger McLachlan (ex-Little River Band) and Ian McDonald.

They were touted as the "rock'n'roll cowboys" and played the local pub and club circuit. They were noticed by Little River Band's guitarist Beeb Birtles and were signed to Mushroom Records. Birtles produced their debut single, "Quick on the Draw" which reached the Australian Kent Music Report top 30 in July 1976. Their second single, "With a Winning Hand" peaked into the top 40 in October.

The band's debut album, Paradise, peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report in 1978 and included their highest charting single "Look After Yourself" which reached No. 21 on the related singles chart. Their second album, Land of Fortune, was released in 1979 but did not reach the Top 50. By that time Durant had been diagnosed with cancer, the band had their last performance on 5 November and Durant died on 6 May 1980 at age 25. A tribute performance by Stars members and other Australian acts followed in August and a double-LP, Andrew Durant Memorial Concert was released in 1981. It peaked at No. 8 on the albums chart with proceeds donated to Andrew Durant Cancer Research Foundation.

Post Stars, Eastick joined Broderick Smith's Big Combo (1979–1982) and later provided guitar for different artists including Max Merritt and Jimmy Barnes. Pealing formed his own band Mick Pealing and the Ideals (1980–1981), they were also a backing band for RenĂ©e Geyer, he then formed The Spaniards (1983–1986) and worked with other artists including Eastick. McLachlan toured with Cliff Richard in 1978, worked with John Farnham (1987–1988), briefly rejoined Little River Band (1998–1999) and was a member of Mighty Oz Rock with Pealing in 2004.

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