Category Archives: Johnny O’Keefe
Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you yes we do….. so sang The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band and it opened our show on the day after Australia Day with just the right amount of respectful parody. The band is based in Melbourne and is centred around singer and multi-instrumentalist Mick Conway (Captain Matchbox) and his brother Jim Conway, who is widely regarded as one of Australia’s finest exponents of the blues harmonica. Inspired by early jazz and jug band music, their songs stand out for their cheeky sense of humour. A great opener which created the perfect mood for a show which, (like Australians really), doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Yes, I too was over all the nationalistic back-slapping and excuse for a mighty piss-up but, what the hell, I’m ready to jump on the band-wagon if it means I get an excuse to play all my favourite Australian music. The show was a mix of new, old, iconic, one-hit wonders and a tear-jerker thrown in for good measure. And, don’t worry Roy Orbison fans, I even found an Orbison cover to close the show with. The far-sighted Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds delivered a great version of ‘Running Scared’.
Talking of iconic, I did play some Easybeats and, of course, AC/DC but, as I told my listeners, the first Australian rock’n’roll performer to tour the United States and make the local Top 40 charts was none other than Johhny O’Keefe. He remains Australia’s most successful chart performer, with twenty-nine Top 40 hits to his credit in Australia between 1959 and 1974. His signature tune, ‘Wild One’ was recorded by Iggy Pop as ‘Real Wild Child’ in 1986. It was also used on the soundtrack for the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ and was covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Everlife, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Glamour Camp and many others. My favourite in his line-up is ‘She’s My Baby’. Here’s some very rare television footage of him performing “She’s My Baby” on Bandstand in 1965.
The other groundbreakers in the playlist were The Saints. Formed in Brisbane in 1974, they are considered to be one of the first and most influential punk groups. By 1975, at the same time as the Ramones, they were employing the fast tempos, raucous vocals and ‘buzzsaw’ guitar that characterised early punk rock. With their single ‘(I’m) Stranded’, in late 1976, they released a record that was way ahead of better-known punk acts like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Bob Geldof has been quoted as saying, “Rock music in the Seventies was changed by three bands – The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Saints.”
Thanks to the lovely Linda Airey, publicist to the stars, who visited the studio while she was on holiday in Byron. She’s worked with some some fantastic talent having worked for Virgin in London and Roadshow in Australia and she now heads up her own publicity outfit out of Sydney. Not enough time to get all the dirt out of her, but she’ll be back, or so she threatens.
The two h0urs went way too quickly as usual. Here’s the playlist for you:
Australia – Captain Matchbox
Funky Tonight – John Butler Trio
Paper Aeroplane – Angus & Julia Stone
Good Things Come To Me Now – Karma County
Thunderbirds Are Coming Out – TISM
The Bold And The Beautiful – The Drugs
You Sound Like Louis Burdett – The Whitlams
I Need You Tonight – INXS
Where The Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue
Lighthouse – The Waifs
Banjo & Violin – The Audreys
Bad Luck Everywhere You Go – C.W. Stoneking
Treaty, Radio Mix – Yothu Yindi
Put Down That Weapon – Midnight Oil
Down River – Wllcannia Mob
Let Me Be – Xavier Rudd
Black Betty – Spiderbait
Woman – Wolfmother
Save The Day – The Living End
She’s My Baby – Johnny O’Keefe
She’s So Fine – The Easybeats
Thunderstruck – ACDC
Punks Not Dead – Darren Hanlon
(I’m) Stranded – The Saints
Pussy Town – Machine Gun Fellatio
Cocaine – The Cruel Sea
Don’t dream its over – Crowded House
Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs
Running Scared – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Next week is the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper’s death by plane crash, so next week’s theme is ‘They Died in a Plane Crash’. Think of a playlist with the famous three, as well as Patsy Cline, John Denver, Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughan…..
Tune in to Lyn McCarthy on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org