The Real Thing: Adventures in Australian Rock and Roll, 1957 to Now

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Random House, 1999 - Rock groups - 224 pages
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We have tried in this book to uncover the anecdotes that tell the wider picture of Australian rock 'n' roll. Whether it was the incandescent hustling of Lee Gordon, the tale of groupies and trendies from the mouth of Buffalo, ot the righteous anger of Midnight Oil, we have attempted to capture some of the qualities that have made Australian rock 'n' roll great. And the important theme that runs through it all is the desire to make a noise that's loud enough to be heard from the bottom of the world to the top. it has been socially aware, it has been the soundtrack to the fall of goverments, and it has also been four guys dessed in pink suits.' THE AUTHORS It was over 20 years ago, late one night, when Johnny O' Keefe hammered on the door of his photographer's studio and demanded that the inhabitants take a new drug with him. The limo with the gold JO'K insignia on the doors waited outside to ferry merry-makers to clubs and other pleasures, but all those who swallowed the lethal-looking pills immediately fell into a catatonic stupor as John (to his friends he was always John, Johnny O'Keefe or JO'K - never Johnny) raged up and down the room with mad energy, trying to whip the bodies off the floor and into action. He rarely slept until the downers cornered him at dawn, and night cruising Kings Cross in the silver Pontiac meant instant service, grovelling managers and the omnipresent disco music replaced with ancient JO'K hits. Johnny O'Keefe died so many times while he was alive that when his body finally gave up on the drugs and alcohol on 6 October, 1978, he never really disappeared. He died the night his red Plymouth Belevedere crashed outside Kempsey in June 1960. He dies again in England in 1961 after an abortive American tour, ending up reincarnated in Tooting Beck mental asylum. And he died in 1964, that grim year for rockers that began with the Beatles and ended with the death of Johnny O'Keefe's era. THE REAL THING: ADVENTURES IN AUSTRALIAN ROCK 'N' ROLL 1957 - NOW is a colourful, compelling and comprehensive book on the real and secret history of Australian music from the day Johnny O'Keefe saw Blackboard Jungle in Surry Hills in 1957 and invented Australian rock 'n' roll to the surrender of America to the invasion of silverchair in the 1990s. THE REAL THING captures the spirit of rock in Australia through the insider anecdotes and stories of the participantsm backed by exhaustive research and documentation. Accompanying the text are rare photos and images, many of which have come from previsouly untapped private collections. A compact disk, featuring well-known Australian acts and artists covering famous Australian hit songs from the 1950s to the 1990s, is incorporated into the unique design of the cover. Artists include Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, Christine Anu, The Reels, Kate Ceberano, Hunters + Collectors, Penny Flanagan, The Sports, Ed Kuepper and Penny Flanagan; songs include 'The Real Thing', 'Wedding Ring', 'My island Home', 'The Carnival IsOver', 'Are You Old Enough?', 'Reckless', 'Throw Your Arms Around Me' and 'Better the Devil You Know'. Written by Toby Creswell, editor of Juice magazine, and Martin Fabinyi, co-founder of Regular Records, THE REAL THING provides an entertaining and intimate view from the inside. The authors have had exclusive access to the personalities behind the scenes and in front of the microphones who have shaped the course of Australian rock 'n' roll for four decades. Nearly a billion records by Australian artists have been sold in the forty years since Johnny O'Keefe released 'You Hit the Wrong Note, Billy Goat' in 1957. THE REAL THING will strike a chord with every person who has bought a record by an Australian artist. Rock 'n' roll has been the soundtrack to the lives of most Australians. THE REAL THING is more the history of Australian music - it is the story of our lives.

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