Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Little River Band, The #79 Artist of the Seventies*

This great group from Australia formed in Melbourne in 1975 with lead singer Glenn Shorrick, Graeham Goble on acoustic guitar and vocals, Beeb Birtles on rhythm guitar and vocals, lead guitarist Ric Formosa, bassist Roger McLachlan and drummer Derek Pellicci.  The Little River Band enjoyed success almost immediately in Australia, but they had higher aspirations.

A man who really helped them get off the ground was manager Glenn Wheatley.  Wheatley was a famous Australian musician and had first-hand experience in the music business.  The Little River Band released their self-titled debut album in 1975.  After the Australian hit "Curiosity Killed The Cat", LRB began visiting the United States in 1976.  The release of the single "It's A Long Way There" (peak of #28) paved the way for the group.  The single was severely edited from its eight-minute length, but we play the full version here.  "It's A Long Way There" is one of the great Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

The Little River Band was on its way, but Formosa, who didn't want to tour outside Australia, quit the group in August.  He did remain in close contact with the group, and often wrote and conducted string parts for several songs for LRB after he left.  David Briggs replaced Formosa, and George McArdle replaced McLachlan at bass.

The group toured again to promote the album After Hours, but they didn't continue their success.  So they recorded the album Diamantina Cocktail in 1977.  The single "Help Is On Its Way" reached #14, another underrated song, born out by the fact that Diamantina Cocktail became Little River Band's first Gold album. 

LRB's follow-up was "Happy Anniversary", which stalled at #16.

In 1978, the group released the album Sleeper Catcher.  The single "Reminiscing" raced to #3 and gave the group a Platinum album.

Bassist McArdle left the group to pursue a career in the ministry.  Barry Sullivan replaced McArdle.

The Little River Band had a fantastic 1979, coming off the huge hit "Reminiscing".  They scored three more big hits to close out the decade.  "Lady" was another single from Sleeper Catcher that reached #10 overall and #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.


Continuing the great momentum, LRB released the album First Under the Wire.  "Lonesome Loser" went to #6 and helped the group score another million-selling album.


The group then released the amazing single "Cool Change", underrated even with its #10 ranking.
In 2001, the Australasian Performing Right Association named "Cool Change" as one of The Top 30 Australian songs of all-time.    

LRB finished the Seventies as one of the hottest acts around.  They had a streak of four consecutive Top 10 songs, and received great reviews of live performances.  They would go on to achieve eight more hits in the 80's, with two more Top 10 songs.  LRB has now sold over 25 million records worldwide.  

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