The first actual Rock'n'Roll' record scene by Australians started in
1958 when Johnny O'Keefe recorded for Festival Records and then others
such as Col Joye, Johnny Rebb,Dig Richards, Lonnie Lee, The Delltones
and many others followed suite
1959 is considered to be the birth of Aussie Rock as this was the year
that TV shows like Six O'Clock Rock and Bandstand took the stars to the
whole of Australia and consequently record sales took off.
Melbourne also had it's record stars of that early time such as The Thunderbirds,
Johnny Chester, Malcolm Arthur, The Planets and others although they did
not have the national success the Sydney stars had. This was mainly due
to the fact that the TV and major record companies were all based in Sydney.
The first hit parades were of the Top 10 variety and those radio announcers
were the very first to take Aussie Rock and spin it. The Top 40 playlist
format had just been introduced and it started to take hold due to the
fact it would play all the latest records, not just the 'Top 10'
at 'Top 10' time. Radio 2UE in Sydney and 3UZ in Melbourne were the first
with this format in Australia and for good or bad, it lasted many years.
The announcers later become Disc Jockeys and in Sydney there was Tony
Withers, Bob Rogers, John Laws, Graham Webb, Brian Henderson, Rhett Walker
and a few others and finally Ward Austin in the later years. Melbourne
had Stan the Man Rolfe, Don Lunn, Bert Newton and others.
The popularity of these stations and the individual announcers would
rise and fall like the tide and it was not always a Top 40 listing that
meant success. Most of the stations had their own Top 50, Top 100, Top
20 and so on and if they were the top station at the time, it was more
important for the recording star to be on the top of that parade than
any other. Unfortunately today there is little physical evidence of those
other parades and most of the chart successes used for 'Gold' radio today
are taken from the 2UE or 3UZ Top 40s as they were actually printed and
distributed to stores.
Who were they?
The 3 major consistent recording stars of the time 1959 to 1965 were
Johnny O'Keefe, Col Joye and Lonnie Lee although many others had great
Other atists who should be acclaimed for their hits were Johnny Devlin,
Johnny Rebb in the very early years,Dig Richards, The Delltones, Lucky
Starr, Warren Williams, Barry Stanton, Noelene Batley, The Crescents,
The Leemen, The Joyeboys and others.
A little later from around 1963 or so others such as Digger Revell,
Jay Justin, Little Pattie and The Atlantics bridged the time from the
first stars to the 2nd wave in 1964 when the English sound got louder
1959 to 1964 - The 'Boom Years'
The Starlite publication of 'The Roots of
Australian Rock-n-Roll' will be released early 2000 to coincide with
the Anniversary of Australia's music industry...If you are would like to
be on the e-mailing list to be notified when it is due for release. Please
email your name, address, phone and e-mail address.