The first signs of R'n'R came to Australia in/around 1956 when in 1957, Bill Haley and Little Richard blew rocked the Sydney Stadium. It everybody away..and it was here for good !! During the period 1957 to 1964, every major and minor R 'n' R performer came to Australia EXCEPT ELVIS !
We also bred our own Legends and here are just some of them..in NO PARTICULAR ORDER..
He was only around 5' 8' and white, but he was a powerhouse in the style of James Brown. He started singing the more jazz style ballads of the mid fifties and then found himself hooked on the exciting new style of Johnny Ray. In 1957 he recorded hist first single after encouragement from Bill Haley and his manager and it became the first Australian R 'n' R hit.
Top 40 radio hadn't quite hit (1959), and radio was very much a 'live'edium with the D.J being the real personality who chose his own material and played whoever he liked.
Johnny became a start and went on to host Australia's 1st live R 'n' TV Show (Six O'Clock Rock), and have many many Gold and No1 hits.
Like Elvis he had a short life and passed away in 1978. He was then and is still regarded as Australia's King of Rock 'n' Roll
See his photographs and more info here
COL JOYE & THE JOY BOYS
Not far behind Johnny O'Keefe in both starting times and popularity came Col Joye and his Joy Boys. It was mainly a family affair with Kevin being the manager and pianist, Keith playing bass and Col rythmn guitar and singing. They also had a lead guitarit and Tenor Sax. They were from the other side of the tracks really from O'keefe. He was from the Elegant East of Sydney and Col from the Workers West. However they both appealed to the masses and like Ok'eefe, Col had many Gold and No1 Hits.
He was the main featured star on Australia's Bandstand TV Show and was very popular. His style was quite passive in a semi country style which he kept presenting until 1995 when he accidently fell from a high tree at his home in Sydney. His injuries were such that he had to retire from a very long and succesful career.
See more info here and some photographs
Around 5 years younger than both O'keefe and Joy, Lonnie was a true country boy who'd spent much of his life at a Sydney Boarding school. He was another one who had Johnny Ray as an idol and his forst steps into showbiz were singing songs from his fav trio, Johnny Ray, Nat King Cole and Frankie Lane.
He started in 1956 like the other two, with his little Rockabilly band and was going very well until late 1957 he had a car accident and had to go back to the family 7000 acre farm near Moree. He spent a year there doing what they do there, and talked his family into coming back to Sydney to try music again. Within a few months he had a record contract, a No.1 Hit and was appearing with all the World's greats at the Sydney Stadium. He was the third of the Superstar Trilogy of that era in Australia and had many Gold and No.1 hits also. He was constantly on TV and touring and is still doing it today...42 years after his first pro job.
More story and photographs here
Lonnie Lee Web Site
Originally from New Zealand Johnny Devlin was an Elvis style performer
who really tore NZ up from 1956 on.. He came to Australia in 1959 and
was very popular due to his great gyrations and energy on stage. He
had many hit records, and was a prolific songwriter, writing Gold for
not only himself but many others as well. He was the Australin guest
on the Beatles Tour of OIZ in 1964 and spent time in England hoimself
later. Today he is still performing all over Australia with appearances
in other countries.
More info and stories right here about 'Devo'
JOHNNY REBB and The REBELS
One of Australia's first R 'n' R stars Johnny Rebb had
several hit records and he and his band were very popular at R 'n' R
dances in Sydney. He was known as the 'Gentleman' of Rock and gave it
up for his other succesful business ventures in the early 70's.
More info and Story here
DIG RICHARDS Dig
Richards was a shy boy from the South Coast of NSW and he had a few
hit records in the period 1959 to 1963. He was very popular at dances
with his band the R' Jays and they were the resident band on the TV
Show 'TEEN TIME'. Like Carl Perkins, he also had a car smash in the
early part of his career and the momentum stopped and he never caught
up. HE started writing and recording his own songs around 1970 and in
1971/2 had a couple of hits. He entered in cabaret performing until
his death in around 1977 of Gut Cancer.
More info and Story here
Warren was from the southern beach suburbs of Sydney and he and his
band The Squares were very popular in those areas. He was featured frequently
on TV and toured extensively. He was known as The Shy Guy' and had one
of the better voices from the stars of that time. He is still prforming
today, now with his grown up kids who have inherited some of that great
talent. Warren had several hits and specialised in taking old semi classical
classics and puttin g some life into them.T
More on Warren with photo's
It is sometimes who was the first OZ R'n'R singer and the answer usually
comes between Johnny O'Keefe and Alan Dale. Alan also from the southern
beach areas of Sydney had a great band called The HouseRockers and his
style was very much like Bill Haley and the other 'big band' Rockers
of the mid late fifties. His first hit was in 1959 and he continues
right up to today to sing those great songs at all his shows. He is
also a succesful promoter and agent, helping many of his peers from
that early era.
More about Al and photo's here
Barry was from the Northern suburbs of Sydney, across the giant harbour
Bridge, and looked a little like Elvis. This led him into performing
all of El's songs and he had a very big following right across Australia.
He had a few hits and made many TV appearances on all the major shows.
He is still performing today those great early Elvis hits.
More on Baz and phot'os here
From the inner Sth West suburbs of Sydney near the Airport around Botany
Bay, Lucky was very visible due to his guitar which was shaped like
a star. His style was Rockabilly and he had several hit records especially
one which has to be one of the alltime OZ hits..'I've been everywhere'.
He was very popular on TV and at shows and even made Las Vegas in the
early 60's. He still today is knocking them dead all over Australia
with his mix of modern country and rock.
More on 'Luck' and his photo's.
History of Australian Rock here
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Lee was an American who came to Australia in the early 50's. He was a music promoter who had promoted Frank Sinatra, Elvis and others in USA. He decided to do it here and hired the Sydney Stadium. Over a few years he brought out Sinatra, Johnny Ray, Bob Hope and every rocker and crooner EXCEPT ELVIS and BING CROSBY. He also started the first strip clubs, Jazz clubs, Hamburger Diners, Plastic Paint and one of Australia's Legendary record labels.. LEEDON. He died nearly a pauper in London around 1965
More on Lee's help to OZ Rock
The SYDNEY STADIUM
Built in the early 1900's, it was made of corrugated iron sheeting without any lining and was situated just down the hill from the notorius Kings Cross opposite Rushcutters Bay. It was the boxing mecca for Australia and all the world's best fought there. In the mid 50's Lee Gordon hired it for his concerts and it featured nearly every major world act until it was pulled down in the late 60's. The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson, Connie Francis and all ofm them stood on it's revolving stage in themiddle of 10,000 seats. A landmark sadly missed today by many.
Read about it here
Some of the OTHER LEGENDS..
JUDY STONE... Pint sized & country influenced, she was very popular on TV and had the most hits of any girl star of that era. She still sings at selected shows today.
The Judy Stone Story
JAY JUSTIN He wrote most of his own hits of which he had many and was also a favourite on TV and at his shows. He also still today performs and records.
THE DELLTONES Four guys from the southern beaches of Sydney became Australia's, Diamonds. They were very popular and as well as having many of their own hit records, they provided vocal backing for many of the other stars. Only one original member is left in the Delltones of today and they still constantly tour.
The Delltones Story
Join P.O.O.L. by pressing the sign above. It'll take you to Oldies Unlimited and other Links to Classic and Oldies Rock 'n' Roll Sites
ROCK 'n' ROLL HEAVEN
Other great Rockers from that time.. Adam - Now back to his real name Ian McLeod still doing great Rockabilly - Roland Storm - A Pianoman still punchin the keys to many fans - Digger Revell - From 1964 to now knockin' em dead across Australia - and The De Kroo Bros - Back together after years altho' Doug and his Rockabilly band have kept on happen'- Frankie Davidson - still performing his great comedy style hits - Jimmy Little The first Australian Aboriginal to have a No1 hit and his sweet voice is still pleasing his audiences - Dinah Lee - Top the pops in NZ then did it in OZ - Also still performs - From around 1963 Bryan Davies made it on TV and his audiences still love him
Singers:Dig Richards - Laurel Lea
- Noel Widerberg - Promoters, D.J's etc:George
Hilder, Promoter - Muso's:Peter Bazley,The Leemen.
This record company specializes in producing Australian records/CD's of the 'Good Old Days' and some can be purchased on line or by snail mail. Mainly LONNIE LEE products...
The Starlite Records Shop
PLACES TO BUY
Here is a list of some of the sellers and re-sellers of Classic & Oldies R'n'R records, CD's and tapes. If you know of any store who fits this category please
Email - Other Sellers
Yester & Todays Rockers
DanceClubs & Newsletters
AustralianR 'n'R MAGAZINES
Around for many years The BIG
BEAT of THE FIFTIES is just great and writes about the artists
and records and The Australian R 'n' R Revival magazine
is more about Rock 'n' Roll Dance. If you know of any more let us knowEmail
- Other Magazines Both of the magazines are available ONLY
from the publishers.
A look at some of the recent covers