Song of the day: The Valentines – "My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man"

February 21, 2012

Way back (well, two years) before Bon Scott was a hairy hippy in Fraternity (see yesterday’s post), he was in a bubblegum band called The Valentines. Bon shared co-lead vocal duties with a chap called Vince Lovegrove (that’s a great name for a bubblegum singer). Here’s one of their ditties:

The Valentines – “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” (1968) (instrumental)

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Groovy.

The reason I chose this particular song over any of the others that The Valentines recorded (they’re all very similar in their bubblegumminess) is that it was written by Australian songwriting stalwarts Vanda and Young, and that means it has some history to it – specifically, Easybeats history.

There are two versions of “My Old Man…” by The Easybeats, and they both have the same backing track, but one has vocals and the other one doesn’t. I think they’re both interesting, but for different reasons (1. I find it fascinating to hear 1960’s tracks without the singing on them; and 2. when The Easybeats did get around to adding vocals to this song – three years later – they decided to add weird vocals):

The Easybeats – “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” (1966) (instrumental)

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The Easybeats – “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” (1969)

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Song of the day: The Valentines – "My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man"

October 1, 2009

Yet another Vanda and Young composition! And yet another one they gave away! And I had no idea they wrote it!*

Here are hip ‘n’ happenin’ purveyors of Swinging 60’s pop, The Valentines, with “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” (1969):

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The Valentines are notable not just for being yet another recipient of the Vanda and Young songwriting here-have-a-song ethos, but also for having two lead singers, one of whom was Bon Scott. Yes, that Bon Scott. The other singer was Vince Lovegrove. That’s Vince, not Bon, singing lead on “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man.”

The liner notes on the compilation album that I found this song on (The Best Singles Of All Time, Vol. 2 – which reminds me that I never got around to buying Volume 1) tell me that The Valentines were formed in Perth in 1966 and won the Western Australian heat of Hoadley’s National Battle Of The Sounds in 1967. (If you’re not from Australia, and under the age of 40, you’ll have no idea what any of that means.) The notes also tell me that “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” was The Valentines’ highest charting single, reaching number 12 in Sydney in 1969.

After that, it seems, the band broke up, but everyone remained in the music industry in one way or another. As for the lead singers, Vince went on to become a rock journalist and band manager, and Bon went on to achieve rock immortality. Actually, Vince earns his own slice of rock immortality as it was he who introduced Bon to the members of AC/DC.

The Valentines lasted only two years (1967-1969). If you want to know more about this band who, as the years roll by, is fast becoming a fascinating footnote in Australian rock history, Milesago has this mighty informative page.

As a bonus, here are The Valentines with their cover of “Build Me Up Buttercup” complete with Bon Scott lurking in the background (as second vocalist again), and everyone looking rather resplendent in their late-60’s finery:

By the way, Milesago says that The Valentines’ matching outfits were scarlet. Scarlet!

(*Sorry about the exclamation marks at the start, but I’m continually surprised at how many songs Harry Vanda and George Young actually wrote, and for the sheer amount of artists they handed their songs over to. Amazing.)