The members of The Easybeats first met as they were being accommodated in a hostel for migrants, at Villawood, a western suburb of Sydney.
Leading guitarist, Harry Vanda (22nd of March, 1947) and bassist, Dick Diamonde (28th of December, 1947) were Dutch, while vocalist, ‘Little Stevie’ Wright (20th of December, 1948), rhythm guitarist, George Young (6th of November, 1947) and drummer, Gordon ‘Snowy’ Fleet (16th of August, 1945) were British.
George Young, a Scot, is the older brother of AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young.
The Easybeats formed in 1965 and tasted immediate success when “She’s So Fine” went to No.1 on the Australian pop charts. Before year’s end “Wedding Ring” (No.6) and “Sad And Lonely And Blue”/”Easy As Can Be” (No.9) had followed it into the Top Ten.
Nineteen Sixty-Six was even more sensational for the group, for in the first six months it had racked up three consecutive number one hits: “Women (Make You Feel Alright)”, “Come And See Her” and the 45 r.p.m. EP (extended play), “Easyfever”, which included “Too Much” and “I’ll Make You Happy (Just Like Your Mama Wants)”.
Understandably, The Easybeats decided that it was time to spread its wings and the band was soon en route to England. Meanwhile, “Sorry” reached No.4 on the Australian charts.
It did not take long for The Easybeats to realise that it had gone from being a big fish in a small ocean to being a small fish in a big one. Nonetheless, Harry Vanda and George Young managed to pen “Friday On My Mind”, which symbolised the thoughts of many teenagers in the rebellious ‘Swinging Sixties’.
Recorded in London, the single occupied six weeks at No.1 back in Australia, and entered the British charts, peaking at No.6. It even received airplay across the Atlantic, where its zenith was to be No.16.
However, the excesses that could become available to those who achieved success were starting to take their toll on at least one of the group’s members. Homesickness for Australia, and the fame that that country had represented, also became a factor in the unease that had developed within the group, and it was eventually decided that the five should return.
Even there, things were not as they had been and the best result the group achieved, during its remaining three years as an entity, was that of taking the double A-sided compositions of Vanda and Young, “Heaven And Hell”/”Pretty Girl”, to a height of of No.11, in mid-1967.
Harry Vanda and George Young formed their own group, Band Of Hope, and, in 1972, Marcus-Hook Roll Band. Neither was noticeably successful, however, the pair was to become notable as producers of records. In 1974 and 1975 they produced the first two albums by AC/DC: ‘High Voltage’ and ‘TNT’.
They formed and wrote for another Australian group, Flash And The Pan. It experienced two hits in Australia, “Hey St. Peter” (No.2, in 1977) and “Down Among The Dead Men” (No.8, in 1978). Then, quite out of the blue, the band found success in the United Kingdom, when, in 1983, “Waiting For A Train”, reached No. 7.
In 1974, Vanda and Young resurrected Stevie Wright’s recording career when, as a solo artist, he took “Evie (Part 1)” to No.1 and “Guitar Band” to No.16. In fact, the pair’s compositions were recorded by many Australian artists; with one further example being that of John Paul Young’s international hit, “Love Is In The Air”, which climbed as high as No.7, in the United States, in 1978.
You will find “She’s So Fine” on my list of favourite recordings, located in the suggested playlists. I remember turning the volume on my radio up, to make the single’s introduction as loud as possible.