Friday, October 14, 2011

New 60s Favorites, Part Three

A beautiful thing about 60s pop/rock groups is that whenever you decide to take a look at one of them, the band comes across as charming and really good pretty much every time... This time it was an Australian band called the Easybeats.

For music-lovers this band is probably very familiar. The Easybeats have even been referred to as the Australian Beatles. On the other hand, asking any (especially younger) person on the street about the band just might result in ”never heard of” type of answers. For instance, there are probably only one or two Easybeats songs that have been performed by Finnish artists. At first there weren't almost any Easybeats songs I remember hearing on the radio or anywhere else.

I am telling you this just because it plays an important role in my previous knowledge of the Easybeats. Now, just like the Association and the Creation, this band has shown me several sides and styles which really makes the music stand out. The Easybeats especially seem to enjoy the straightforward, groovy rock'n roll songs (Good Times, She's so Fine, Made My Bed (Gonna Lie In It), Wedding Ring, and For My Woman), even throwing in some Motown soul (I Can't Stand It).

There are also some songs that almost sound like they were recorded by the Beatles for some early album (Pretty Girl, It's so Easy). A song like Falling off the Edge of the World is an interesting example of a song that at first sounds a lot like the Beatles – but it still sounds more like the Easybeats after all! Some of my other favorites are the melancholic psychedelic melodies of Land of Make Believe, Remember Sam, and Come in You'll Get Pneumonia. Heaven & Hell, the single that was banned in the US, is also a wonderful slightly psychedelic pop song. It certainly would have been a great follow-up to Friday on My Mind.

River Deep, Mountain High is probably one of the most famous songs in the band's repertoire. It is so good that I don't feel like I need to hear the Ike & Tina Turner version at all... Stevie Wright's lead vocals are superb: he definitely has all it takes to perform soulful songs that also tend to have raw rock'n roll energy. Hello, How Are You is also such a great ballad that I want to mention it. And don't forget The Music Goes Round My Head, a cool baroque piece!

The band was founded in 1964. Children of British and Dutch emigrants, the Easybeats became very successful in their home country and soon were touring Europe and the US with the Rolling Stones. Friday on My Mind was a million-selling hit and a few smaller hits followed. Originally, lead singer Stevie Wright and rhythm guitarist George Young formed the songwriting team, but Wright was later replaced by lead guitarist Harry Vanda as a songwriter. Problems with management, radio airplay and record company support as well as the songwriting team becoming increasingly independent resulted in the band breaking up 1969. The songwriting team continued working on other projects, and there was an Easybeats reunion in 1985.

The Easybeats were a band that had their own unique voice and energy. They definitely weren't just another Merseybeat-styled band or generic 60s rock group. Instead, they sound like a band that took many great things from contemporary music and combined the influences to make a basis for their own music – a method that works even today!

No comments: