Whenever I’m in the mood for some Australian riff rock – as I am right now – I instinctively turn to Skyhooks:
This coincidence took a slight detour before ending up as it appears today.
To begin with, my friend Michael (Hi, Michael!) heard a song by a low-fi indie band called The Spook School. The opening vocal melody…
…reminded Michael of this:
The Angels – “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (1976) (excerpt)
But when Michael told me about that Spook School melody, I thought it sounded more like this:
Skyhooks – “You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good in Bed” (1974) (excerpt)
Here are the full versions:
The Angels – “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (1976)
Skyhooks – “You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good in Bed” (1974)
By the way, that song by The Angels was embroiled in a musical controversy, in that it ripped off a song and never acknowledged the rip-off. (Warning: Self-Promotion Alert) I just happen to have a post about it.
Here are the kings of Australian 1970’s riffs, Skyhooks, with their 1990 reunion single “Jukebox In Siberia” which to me is a very slight song built around not much more than a riff. But I think the riff is great. Let the riffing* begin!
Skyhooks – “Jukebox In Siberia” (1990)
(*I’ll try not to use the word “riff” that much again.)
A few days ago, Living In The 70’s, the 1974 debut album by Skyhooks, was inducted into Australia’s National Film & Sound Archive for posterity, as it was deemed culturally important – or, as they put it: “…to immortalise iconic sound recordings that form a part of our history.”
The album is now a museum piece.
I’m happy to visit a museum with this in it:
Skyhooks – “Whatever Happened To The Revolution?” (1974)
You can hear more about the album’s entry into perpetuity on this ABC News page. It mentions that six out of the album’s 10 songs were banned from radio airplay when it was released. Here’s one of the banned songs:
Skyhooks – “You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed” (1974)
Incidentally, The Seekers’ “I’ll Never Find Another You” was also inducted into the Archive – and that’s more than alright by me.
Although today’s song isn’t exactly power pop (note to self: neither is Bert Kaempfert, you big eejit), it is Australian.
Here’s possibly the most Australian band of the 70’s Skyhooks with a song about the unfortunate consequences for a man spending the night with a girl from a particular suburb of Melbourne (hint: Balwyn):
Skyhooks – “Balwyn Calling” (1974)
Skyhooks were never afraid to get specific about the geography of Australia (predominantly Melbourne), potentially alienating foreign audiences. But that didn’t matter to them one bit. They were unapologetically Australian, through and through. They named names while describing life as it was being lived in the early 70’s, and shone a light on some of the seamier aspects of Australian culture back then in a wonderfully direct, but literate way. I think they’re a national treasure.
In the 1970’s here in Australia, the two biggest bands in the land – Sherbet and Skyhooks – were in direct competition with each other for the hearts and minds of teenyboppers. It was one of those media-created rivalries (Beatles vs Stones, Oasis vs Blur etc) designed to increases sales for both bands.
I played you a Sherbet song yesterday, so I thought it only fair that I play you a Skyhooks song today. Here’s Skyhooks’s ode to the glory of the riff:
Skyhooks – “Million Dollar Riff” (1975)