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Monday, 28 December 2015

608 - Stevie Wright - Sings The Easybeats

Wright was born in Leeds, England in 1947 and his family migrated to Melbourne, Australia when he was nine. They moved to Sydney in 1960 and lived in Villawood near the Villawood Migrant Hostel. He was lead vocalist for local band, The Outlaws and by 1964 had formed Chris Langdon & the Langdells, which initially played The Shadows-styled surf music but converted to beat music under the influence of The Beatles. After a Langdells performance, Wright met the Dutch-born, Johannes Hendrikus Jacob van den Berg (later Harry Vanda) who was staying at Villawood Migrant Hostel and his compatriot Dingeman van der Sluys (later Dick Diamonde). The pair convinced Wright to form a band with Vandenberg's friend and fellow hostel resident Scottish-born George Young. Together with another Englishman, Gordon "Snowy" Fleet, they formed The Easybeats in mid-1964. Initial line-up of The Easybeats was Diamonde on bass guitar, Fleet on drums, Vanda on guitar, Wright on vocals and Young on guitar.During his time with The Easybeats, Wright was popularly and affectionately known as "Little Stevie"After the break-up of The Easybeats in 1969, Wright returned to Sydney from UK, he formed a backing group, Rachette. He produced the debut single for local band Bootleg, "Whole World Should Slow Down", in 1970. By late 1971, he was in Perth and joined Likefun with Ray Hoff on vocals, Morri Pierson on vocals, Shirley Reid on vocals, John Tucak on bass guitar and Alan Wilks on organ. He soon returned to Sydney and from mid-1972 took the role of Simon Zealotes in the Australian stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Also in 1972, he joined Black Tank with Rory O'Donoghue on guitar and vocals, Ken Firth on bass guitar and Greg Henson on drums.Wright signed with Albert Productions label in late 1973 which reunited him with former band mates Vanda & Young who had returned from UK and were now staff producers and songwriters. Wright formed Stevie Wright & the Allstars for live performances, the line-up included, Johnny Dick on drums, Tim Gaze on lead guitar, and Warren Morgan on piano. In April 1974 he released his debut solo LP, Hard Road, which featured the single "Evie (Parts 1, 2 & 3)" released in May. The song was written and produced by Vanda & Young, it became a hit—the only 11-minute song to chart at No. 1 anywhere in the world and is now regarded as an Australian rock classic. By mid-1975, the Allstars had transferred to John Paul Young and Wright formed the Stevie Wright Band. By 1976 Wright was addicted to heroin, which he had reportedly begun using during his time in the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was hospitalised and undertook methadone treatment. His mental health was further exacerbated after his self-admission to the notorious Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney. Director Dr Harry Bailey administered a highly controversial treatment known as Deep Sleep Therapy which was alleged to treat drug addiction by a combination of drug-induced coma and ECT. Many patients, including Wright, suffered brain damage and lifelong after-effects. The scandal was later exposed and Dr Bailey committed suicide. In 1982, Wright joined Vanda & Young in their studio band, Flash and the Pan to provide vocals on their album, Headlines and the related singles, "Where were You?" in July, and "Waiting for a Train". Wright retired and lived on the South Coast of New South Wales. Sadly last night the 27th December 2015 we lost Stevie at Moruya Hospital on the New South Wales South coast. Here to download is Stevie's album from 1991 "Sings The Easybeats" (AVM-004). The cover gives no producer or band members unfortunately.  R.I.P Stevie. mp3


Anonymous said...

Sad to learn that Stevie Wright has died. The Easybeats opened up all doors to Australian Rock Music!! If it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't know until....... Until........................ We have to search seriously to have news from Australian Artists, Past Present & Future --- at least in this "city" that doesn't... Rock.
PS: I am not a robot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks muchly for this album. The Easybeats were the best band Oz produced and the reworked versions of the five Easybeats tracks on this album send shivers up my spine.