Little River Band

By Russ:

You have likely enjoyed some amazing hit-making bands that came out of Australia: AC/DC, Crowded House, the Bee Gees, etc.

Well here’s another Supergroup also from “the land down under”. They did not start out with a bang, but gradually emerged into pop consciousness around 1975.

This group has been regarded as one of the tightest of their era. Featuring a succession of excellent lead singers and several equally amazing lead guitar players, the group rocked through an evolution of solid hits with exquisite vocal harmonies and well-crafted songs.

A young, quiet spoken songwiriter, Graeham Goble was their original musical architect. As guitarist / vocalist, he wrote a lot of the band’s early hits and developed beautiful, cohesive arrangements for their recordings.  At the end of this post, there is an astounding fact about one of Goble’s techniques towards achieving such rich harmonic voicing in his productions.

About their music, we read some nice YouTube comments:

“I am 23 and I love this stuff. This is real music. I can’t stand the majority of the music in my generation. They don’t make songs like they used to.”

… and this one:

“I listened to a radio interview years ago with Robert Plant. He was talking about the difference between music then and now, and he said ‘we were all mostly classically trained musicians. We understood the instruments, and the basics of music. We revolted, but we had that as our base. We knew classical, and blues, and country, and jazz and so forth. What we created was a product that resulted from those amazing influences. What you have today is ten-thousand Limp Bizkits’ Amen, and Amen.”

[While these comments talk about the music of the Little River Band, they also pretty much sum up where Gary and I are coming from as we produce this “Best Years Of Music” blog. -RS]

Mississippi were an Australian soft rock band (1972–1975), which included Graham Goble on lead vocals and guitar, Beeb Birtles on lead vocals and guitar, and Derek Pellicci on drums. They sought to follow USA’s Eagles’ country-rock formula for success, but with polished vocal harmonies similar to Crosby, Stills and Nash.

When Mississippi added vocalist Glenn Shorrock they became The Little River Band,  and went on to be one of the most successful bands ever to come out of Australia, and the first to achieve major commercial success in the United States.

Cover of the original Australian version of the album Little River Band. Clockwise, from left: Beeb Birtles, Glenn Shorrock, Graham Goble, Derek Pellicci, Ric Formosa, Roger McLachlan.

1975 LRB Original Line-up L-R Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles, Derek Pellicci, Ric Formosa, Roger McLachlan, Graeham Goble

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As the band’s history progressed over some 30 years we find that  it became not unlike other great entertainment teams; for example, Martin & Lewis, Pink Floyd’s Rogers & Gilmour,  The Guess Who’s Cummings & Bachman, The Beatles’ Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, ,,, and the list goes on.

Acrimony developed between some of the original members. I guess you could chalk it up to creative differences but, rather than dwell on details about that, we are just going to focus on some of their wonderful music.

Videos:

(1976) LRB / It’s A Long Way There / BB #28

This was the group’s first big hit. What a way to introduce “The Little River Band” on the radio! But the young Australian troupe did just that, and with this song they broke into the American market in post-Watergate 1976.

Graeham Goble says he wrote this song to tell the story of his long lonesome drives from his home town of Adelaide to Melbourne to play with his band. And what a story he tells!

What we have here is a sophisticated studio orchestral arrangement that merged lush strings with the fine vocal blend of Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble and Ric Formosa’s endless (single-take!) guitar soloing, that made this song a classic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1977) LRB / Help Is On It’s Way / featuring singer Glenn Shorrock / from 3rd studio album, Diamantina Cocktail / written by Glenn Shorrock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1978) LRB / Lady / featuring Glenn Shorrock (lead singer & piano) /written by Graeham Goble / from their 4th studio album, Sleeper Catcher

Listen to vocal harmonies in the Chorus of this song. Glenn carries the main melody while Graeham takes a higher part and Beeb takes a lower part. This magnificent blend is an example of why they were regarded as one of the best vocal rock bands, ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1979) LRB / Reminiscing / featuring Glenn Shorrock / from 4th studio album, Sleeper Catcher / written by Graeham Goble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Reminiscing

Just as Cole Porter will always be remembered for “Night and Day” and Paul McCartney for “Yesterday”, Graeham Goble will forever be associated with his most popular song “Reminiscing”. First appearing on the album Sleeper Catcher in 1978, Goble had to fight to have it included:

“I loved watching old black and white movies, and I always also loved the music of Glenn Miller and Cole Porter, that whole era of writing, and it was my attempt to write a song to depict the romantic era. It came out very quickly, I wrote it in about half an hour. Even though a lot of people think it sounds complicated, on the guitar it’s very simple to play. It nearly never got recorded – when the time came to record it, the keyboard player I wanted to use, Peter Jones, was out of town, so we cut the band track with a different keyboard player. It didn’t work. A few days later when we tried it again with a different keyboard player, again it didn’t work, and the band was losing interest in the song. Just before the album was finished, Peter Jones came back into town, the band and I had an argument because I wanted to give Reminiscing a third chance. Peter played on it, we cut it, and finished it, and sent the album to Capitol. Capitol said that they couldn’t hear any singles on the album, and didn’t know what to release. Five weeks later, someone at Capitol’s New York office said ‘You’re all crazy, Reminiscing is a smash.’ Capitol put it out, and it just immediately caught on fire, and became our highest chart hit.”

“It’s quite staggering; you don’t realise you’ve written something like that until it happens, until it’s history.”

In her autobiography, John Lennon’s erstwhile lover May Pang describes how much Lennon enjoyed the song. “We spent the whole afternoon in bed, getting up only to play Reminiscing again and again. We must have listened to the song eight or nine times.”

The legendary Frank Sinatra also regarded the song very highly, saying that it was “the best 1970s song in the world”.

Over the years, “Reminiscing” would appear regularly on AOR and oldies radio stations. On February 3, 2014, Goble received a Five Million-Air Award for five million airplays of “Reminiscing” in the United States.

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(1981) LRB / The Night Owls / featuring Wayne Nelsen lead vocal / Stephen Housden guitar solos / written by Graeham Goble / from their 6th studio album, Time Exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1981) LRB / Take It Easy On Me / featuring Glenn Shorrock and Wayne Nelson / Written by Graeham Goble / (Glenn’s swan song)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1983) LRB / We Two / featuring singer John Farnham / Written by Graeham Goble / The notes Farnham hits at 2:25 and 2:26 are really up there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1983) LRB / The Other Guy /featuring singer John Farnham /  live performance on The Don Lane Show, Channel 9, Melbourne, Australia, February 14th, 1983.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1983) Westfalenhalle Dortmund Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Early Key Members

Glenn Shorrock – lead vocalist

Glenn Barrie Shorrock was born on 30 June 1944 in Chatham, Kent, England. His family migrated to Adelaide, South Australia on the Orcades in August 1954 when he was ten. As a lead vocalist, he was a founding member of pop groups The Twilights (mid- to late 1960s), and  Axiom (1969). Glenn co-wrote and sang vocal harmony to the Twilight’s “I’ll Be Where You Are

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Graeham Goble – musical director

Graeham George Goble  was born 15 May 1947 in Adelaide, Austrailia.  A musician, singer/songwriter and record producer, best known as a founding member of Australian rock group Little River Band (LRB).

He said at an early age “My early influences were bands like The Beatles, The Hollies, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bread and I always wanted to be in a band with harmonies“.

Starting out as a drummer, Goble quickly progressed to the banjo. “As soon as I had a stringed instrument in my hands I suddenly had all these melodies.Thereafter came the transition to guitar.

A number of bands followed in quick succession: The Silence (1966–67), Travis Wellington Hedge (1968), Allison Gros (1969–71) and Drummond (1971). Each of these bands was recorded and Goble fans are always keen to hunt down the vinyl.

Allison Gros (1970) L-R John Mower, Russ Johnson, Shane Simon, Graeham Goble, Rob Leedham

Allison Gros recorded their first single (“Naturally“) on the Gamba label. Record producer David Mackay, impressed with this record, brought the band to the attention of Ron Tudor, owner of the Fable label.

Tudor arranged for Allison Gros to travel from Adelaide to Melbourne where the band recorded two singles, “If I Ask You” and “All The Days“.

The members of Allison Gros were recruited to record the song “Daddy Cool” but their Chipmunk version was so atypical that they recorded under the fictitious name Drummond.

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The Drummond group would provide Goble with his first Number 1 hit single, albeit through unusual circumstances. The Australian band Daddy Cool released their debut album in July 1971.

In the Country-Rock group Mississipi, as a songwriter, his song “Kings of the World” reached the Top 5 in 1971.

As a performer in LRB, Goble was responsible for the vocal arrangements and high harmonies on eleven studio albums and numerous Top 10 singles

Timeline of Significant Groups in the career of Graeham Goble
1966 The Silence
1968 Travis Wellington Hedge
1969 Allison Gros (aka Drummond)
1972 Mississippi
1975 Little River Band

(including Birtles & Goble 1978–1980)

1986 Band on hiatus
1988 Little River Band
1989 Broken Voices
1991 Graham Goble (including The Graham Goble Encounter)
2002 Birtles Shorrock Goble
2007 Graeham Goble

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Beeb Birtles – vocals, guitarist

Born Gerard Bertelkamp, 28 November 1948, he is a Dutch Australian musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He acquired the nickname  “B.B. Eyes” in high school (after a Dick Tracy character). This soon became “BB” and ultimately just “Beeb”.

Beeb had been the bass guitarist in the pop-rock band Zoot (1967–71) which launched the career of singer-guitarist Rick Springfield, followed by the band Mississippi (1972–74). During 1973 the group issued a single which had been co-written by Birtles, “Early Morning” 

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Glenn Wheatley – manager

Glenn Wheatley (upper lerft) as member of the Masters Apprentices

Glenn Dawson Wheatley (born 23 January 1948) began his career as a musician in Brisbane in the mid-1960s and in the late 1960s became nationally famous as the bass guitarist of leading rock band the Masters Apprentices.

In 1974 members of the band Mississippi met in London with Glenn Shorrock and Glenn Wheatley (ex-The Masters Apprentices). With Wheatley as manager, they agreed to reconvene in Melbourne in early 1975. Due to the indifferent reception the band had each received in the UK, they decided their new band would establish itself in the United States.

Wheatley’s first-hand exposure to band rip-offs in the 1960s, combined his early 70s work in music management in the UK and the US, allowed him to help the Little River Band become the first Australian group to enjoy consistent commercial and chart success in the US.

Ric Formosa – lead guitar (1975)

Riccardo “Ric” Formosa (born 1 September 1954) is an Italian-born Australian musician and composer. He played lead guitar on the first two LRB albums, Little River Band and After Hours. For the latter, he wrote the song “Bourbon Street” and co-wrote “Another Runaway” with fellow member Beeb Birtles. Formosa toured Australia with LRB, playing 311 shows in 1975–1976. He was replaced by David Briggs in August 1976.  To see a (2018) interview with Formosa, click here.

David Briggs – lead guitar (1976)

David Briggs

David John Briggs (born 26 January 1951, Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian musician and record producer. In 1976 Briggs joined Little River Band and worked with them until 1981. He wrote their hit single “Lonesome Loser” and co-wrote “Happy Anniversary“.

Wayne Nelson – lead vocals, bassist

Wayne Nelson (born June 1, 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American singer and musician best known for being a member of the rock band Little River Band where he played bass guitar, keyboards and became a lead singer. Previously, he worked with artists including Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina.  In April 1980 LRB’s management invited Nelson to join the  band as additional lead singer and he officially became a member at that time.

Stephen Housden – lead guitarist (1981)

In 1981 Stephen was invited to replace LRB lead guitarist David Briggs after release of their 6th studio album, Time Exposure. Prior to that Stephen backed up many artists (such as John Farnham) as a recording session player, and with the Stevie Wright Band he was lead guitar on the recording Evie 

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John Farnham – lead vocalist (1982)

John Peter Farnham AO (born 1 July 1949) is an Australian pop rock/soft rock singer. Farnham, who was born in Essex, England was a teen pop idol from 1967-79, billed then as Johnny Farnham.

In February 1982 Shorrock left Little River Band and was replaced by Farnham on lead vocals.

1975–76: Band Beginnings

In 1974 Birtles, Goble, Pellicci and Shorrock met in London with Glenn Wheatley (ex-The Masters Apprentices). With Wheatley as manager, they agreed to reconvene in Melbourne in early 1975. Due to the indifferent reception they had each received in the UK, they decided their new band would establish itself in the United States.

Wheatley’s first-hand experiences of the rip-offs in the 1960s music scene, combined with his experience working in music management in the UK and the US in the early 1970s, allowed him to help the Little River Band become the first Australian group to enjoy consistent commercial and chart success in the US.

The Little River Band was spawned from the band Mississippi in March 1975 in Melbourne as a harmony rock group with

  • Glenn Shorrock on lead vocals,
  • Beeb Birtles on guitar and vocals,
  • Graeham Goble original guitar and vocals,
  • Derek Pellicci on drums and
  • session player Graham Davidge on lead guitar and
  • Dave Orams on bass guitar.

Graham Davidge played on the band’s first recording in 1975, a cover of the Everly Brothers song “When Will I Be Loved

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Davidge left the band shortly thereafter.

The Mississippi nucleus of Goble, Birtles, Pellicci, plus new boy Glenn Shorrock and manager Glenn Wheatley kicked off the venture. Guitarists Ric Formosa and Roger McLachlan were recruited to complete the sound of this revitalized band.

1975 LRB 1st Line-up  L-R Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles, Derek Pellicci, Ric Formosa, Roger McLachlan, Graeham Goble

The new group performed in public for the first time in March 1975, still known as Mississippi. The new name Little River Band followed soon after, taken from a road sign to the town of Little River as the band traveled to a performance in Geelong,  Australia.

Listen to Ric Formosa’s fine guitar work in “My Lady & Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graeham Goble, as principal composer, vocal arranger and co-producer, and with strong interest in the band’s on-stage performance and day-to-day administration, would soon come to be known as the “father figure” of the band.

Glenn Shorrock put it less kindly, stating that “it’s like having a policeman onstage with you every night“.

The creative tension, competition and differing personalities within the band would also fuel its subsequent rise to international stardom. As George Martin would later remark, “That’s what makes these acts what they are. It’s a matter of harnessing this energy they have.

LRB Studio Album #1Little River Band – November 1975

Track #1 / It’s A Long Way There / full version / written by Graeham Goble / BB #28 

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FOR GUITAR PLAYERS ONLY: All lead guitar licks to the long version of It’s A Long Way There /( as originally played by Ric Formosa)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track #2 of this album became the band’s first single, written by Beeb Birtles, “Curiosity (Killed The Cat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track #5 / Beeb Birtles wrote and sang “I’ll Always Call Your Name” / BB #62

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Track #7 / Glenn Shorrock wrote and sang “The Man In Black

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1976–82: Some Personnel changes

During August 1976, David Briggs joined as lead guitar (ex-Cycle, The Avengers, Ram Band) along with George McArdle on bass guitar (also ex-Ram Band).  (Original bassist Roger McLachlan, became a sessions player and subsequently joined the Australian country rock group Stars)

LRB Studio Album #2 After Hours – 1976

Track #1 on After Hours / Days On The Road / Stunning LIVE performance / Check out bassist George McArdle’s chops in this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track #5 / Ric Formosa co-wrote with Beeb Birtles “Another Runaway” . 

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Track #6 / written by lead guitarist Ric Formosa “Bourbon Street

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Formosa toured Australia with LRB, playing 311 shows in 1975–1976. He was replaced by David Briggs in August 1976

1977 LRB  L-R: David Briggs, George McArdle, Glenn Shorrock, Derek Pellicci, Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble

LRB Studio Album #3Diamantina Cocktail  – June 1977

During recording there were “frictions and competition between the band members”. Consequently Birtles, Goble and Shorrock each recorded their parts separately in the studio as much as possible.

Despite these tensions, this album marked the band’s big breakthrough into the United States and it climbed to #49 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart in 1977. It  contained two top 20 singles:

Track #1 / “Help Is on Its Way” / written by Glenn Shorrock (see Video above)

Track #7 / “Happy Anniversary” / written by Beeb Birtles and David Briggs 

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Bassist George McArdle explains bass riffs in Happy Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Track #9 / “Changed and Different” / written by Graeham Goble /  nice sax solo in this one

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LRB Studio Album #4Sleeper Catcher (May 1978)

This album peaked at No. 4 in Australia and No. 16 in the US.

Track #4, written by Beeb Birtles, “Light Of Day
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1978 LRB  Back row from left: David Briggs, Glen Shorrock, George McArdie, Graeham Goble. Front two from left: Beeb Birtles, Derek Pellicci

By May in the following year it was certified platinum by RIAA for sales of 1,000,000 copies, and was the first Australian recorded album to achieve that feat. AllMusic’s Mike DeGagne praised Shorrock’s vocals, which give the album “the perfect MOR sound, draping the tracks with his cool, breezy style that is much more apparent and effectual here than on the band’s earlier efforts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1978 / Fall From Paradise / Written by Beeb Birtles & Graeham Goble / Sydney Opera House, Australia / from Sleeper Catchers album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sleeper Catcher album provided four singles with “Shut Down Turn Off” (April 1978) their highest charting in Australia at No. 16, however in the US the highest charting was “Reminiscing” (June 1978), which peaked at No. 3. The album’s last single, “Lady” (December 1978), reached No. 10 in the US in early 1979.

1978 LRB  L-R David Briggs, Glenn Shorrock, Derek Pellicci, Beeb Birtles, Graeham Goble

LRB Studio Album #5First Under the Wire – July 1979

This album reached No. 2 in Australia

It was also their highest charting album on the Billboard 200 – reaching No. 10. In November 1979 it was certified by RIAA as a platinum album. AllMusic’s Mark Allan described how, with their “mix of harmony-drenched pop tunes and nonthreatening rockers, they appealed to a wide audience.”

Both singles, “Lonesome Loser” (July 1979) and “Cool Change” (October 1979) peaked in the US top 10.

Track #1 / Lonsome Loser / written by David Briggs

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Track #4 / Cool Change /sung by Glenn Shorrock /  written by Glenn Shorrock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By way of comparison, here’s John Farnham singing Cool Change LIVE in Melbourne later in 1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track #5  / It’s Not A Wonder / written by Graeham Goble / Gary’s favourite

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Track #10 / Mistress Of Mine / written by Graeham Goble 

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Glenn Shorrock Interview – 1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LRB Studio Album #6Time Exposure – August 1981

The line-up of Birtles, Briggs, Goble, Nelson, Pellicci and Shorrock recorded their sixth studio album in Montserrat with George Martin (the Beatles) producing.

1981 LRB & SIR GEORGE MARTIN L-R David Briggs, Derek Pellicci, Sir George Martin, Graeham Goble, Beeb Birtles, Glenn Shorrock  – Photo taken at AIR Studios Montserrat in the Caribbean

 

About the Time Exposure album:  Australia’s paper, The Canberra Times Garry Raffaele felt that the “essence of it all is that it’s easy listening, no demands, easing up, slowing down, getting older.” It reached No .9 in Australia and No. 21 in the US; and in November it was certified gold by RIAA.

Time Exposure was also the last album with lead guitarist, David Briggs, who actually  left prior to its release. He was replaced on tour by lead guitarist Stephen Housden, who ultimately joined the group.

The album had other band members on lead vocals:  Beeb Birtles on two tracks, “Ballerina” and “Guiding Light

Track #1 / Wayne Nelson was lead singer on this hit single, “The Night Owls” (1981).

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The Night Owls” peaked at No. 18 in Australia and No. 6 in the US. Raffaele described the track as “the punchiest thing LRB has done for some time but it’s still middle-of-the-road pap, hummable.”

Nelson also shared vocal duties with Shorrock on the second single, “Take It Easy on Me” (November 1981). According to Australian music journalist Ed Nimmervoll, Nelson’s presence was “adding to the problems within the band“; Nimmervoll opined that Goble “agitated within the band to replace Glenn Shorrock with John Farnham.”

Track #2 / “Man On Your Mind / and Track #3 / “Take It Easy on Me” / (both released in 1982), became Top 20 Hits in the United States.

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1981 / Live Exposure Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1981 / 44 minute Recap of the Shorrock lineup / LRB Beatclub Rockarchive / an in-depth review of the great quality of this band lineup – Formosa on guitar, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The parting of Glenn Shorrock

In Beeb Birtles 2017 autobiography, Every Day of My Life,  he described a big rift between Glenn Shorrock and guitarist David Briggs…

“David’s confidence had escalated to the extent where he became adamant about what needed to be done. I remember a couple of embarrassing moments in the studio where he was quite rude to George Martin, insisting that his way was better and that he didn’t need to be told how or what to play. After our return from recording in Montserrat, during a meeting at Glenn Wheatley’s house, Graeham was quite vocal about David’s conduct. He confronted Dave and virtually fired him. With Glenn, I would go overboard trying to please him but rarely got anything back from him. I found him hard to read at times as he’s a man of few words. After he took his frustration out on me one day during a rehearsal, I spoke my mind and told him in no uncertain terms how I felt and in a meeting with Glenn, Graeham and Wheatley, I said I couldn’t work with Glenn anymore. Graeham, who had always been at opposite poles to Shorrock, agreed with me and Wheatley started freaking out saying he thought it was a big mistake. What was Capital Records going to say? But in hindsight, I believe he was right on the money and to me this would be the mistake that cut Little River Band’s throat.

1982–87: John Farnham years

With departure of Glenn Shorrock, John Farnham became the groups new lead singer . Meanwhile “Man on Your Mind“, the third single from Time Exposure (with Shorrock’s vocals), reached No. 14 in the US 

Beautiful LIVE Vocal Harmonies – 1982

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1982 LRB  L-R Beeb Birtles, Graeham Goble, , John Farnham , Stephen Housden, Derek Pellicci,

Greatest Hits Album – 1982

This compilation of hits released in 1982 went Platinum.. It included two songs: Track #5, “The Other Guy” and Track #9, “Down on The Border“, to introduce John Farnham.

The first single with Farnham as lead vocalist, “The Other Guy” was released in November 1982, and reached No. 18 in Australia and No. 11 in the US.

The other track, “Down on the Border“, peaked at No. 7 in Australia.

Stephen Housden became the group’s new lead guitarist.

1983 LRB L-R Graeham Goble, Stephen Housden, Derek Pellicci, Wayne Nelson, Beeb Birtles, JohnFarnham

Housden would tour the world many times with the LRB and co-write many of their songs including their Top 5 hit “Love Is A Bridge

LRB Studio Album #7The Net – May 1983

This album marks what has become historically, the major crossroad in the band’s musical direction.

DeGagne reviewed the album, which “failed to capture the same success they experienced with Shorrock at the helm. The same type of soft rock fluidity and laid-back charm has been replaced with a sound that seems forced and somewhat strained.”

The Net was LRB’s first full studio release to feature John Farnham as new lead vocalist replacing Glenn Shorrock, and Stephen Housden taking over as lead guitarist. It was also the last album featuring original member Beeb Birtles, who left the line-up after the US tour in support of its release, and drummer Derek Pellicci, who would rejoin the band in 1987.

There stand several significant factors surrounding this record – it contained the band’s last two singles to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, with “We Two” reaching No. 22 and “You’re Driving Me out of My Mind” peaking at No. 35.

LRB / We Two / featuring John Farnham

We Two” was co-produced by the group and Ernie Rose (Mississippi, Rénee Geyer, Stars).

The Net album peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report albums chart and No. 61 on the Billboard 200.

It also contained the song “Down on the Border” which had been released previously on their 1982 “Greatest Hits” album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983 / It’s A Long Way There / featuring singer John Farnham / Live Germany Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk about vocal veratility! Here’s Wayne Nelson taking lead vocal spot in Take It Easy On Me (playing bass and chewing gum) / Farnham and Goble sing background vocals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983 / Reminiscing / featuring singer John Farnham / Stephen  Housden guitar solo at end of this version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983 / Melbourne Hall concert / Middle Man / lead singer: bassist Wayne Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

In 1983 “You’re Driving Me Out of My Mind” became the group’s last single to reach the US Top 40.

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At this time, the band moved towards a more 1980s style sound and added a synth keyboardist, David Hirschfelder (ex-Peter Cupples Band, who had earlier in the year guested on The Net and at some of LRB’s shows), in September 1983.

1984 LRB  L-R Steven Prestwich (drums), Wayne Nelson (bass), Stephen Housden (lead guitar), David Hirschfelder (synth keyboard), John Farnham (lead vocals), Graeham Goble (guitar0

The pressures of success and constant touring took their toll on the band as line-up changes continued. Birtles left in October because he did not like the harder, more progressive musical path that Goble was taking the group and because he had preferred Shorrock’s vocals.

LRB Studio Album #8Playing To Win – January 1985

Their eighth studio album, Playing to Win, delivered a harder sound with producer Spencer Proffer.

This album was the second studio album with John Farnham as lead vocalist and the first to be recorded by the band in the United States.

Track #1 of the  “Playing To Win” album was called “Playing to Win” and released as a single in December 1984 ahead of the album itself. It reached No.59 on the Australian Singles Chart, No. 15 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and No. 60 on The Billboard Hot 100.

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The change in sound, along with the unofficial shortening of their name to LRB, confused fans and radio programmers. Australian musicologist Ian McFarlane felt it was “a strong album but it failed to halt the band’s slide in popularity.” It reached No. 38 in Australia and No. 75 on the US charts. It was the group’s last charting album on the Billboard 200/

Track #3, released as the second single, “Blind Eyes“, failed to enter the charts.

LRB Studio Album #9No Reins – 1986

This was the band’s last studio album with John Farnham on lead vocals.

Track #1 “Face in the Crowd(G. Goble) – 4:38 /

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This album features a cover of Cold Chisel hit When the War Is Over, written by the group’s drummer Steve Prestwich when he was in that band.

Track #5 – “When the War Is Over(S. Prestwich) – 5:09 /

 

Australian music journalist Ed Nimmervoll wrote of the Farnham years, “The experiment had never worked. Whatever John’s talents, America longed for Glenn Shorrock.  At the end of 1985, while LRB was seriously contemplating its future, Farnham took the initiative to start work on another solo album.”

1987–98: Shorrock’s return

After Farnham’s departure, Little River Band were essentially in limbo until 1987. The line-up of Goble, Housden, Nelson, Pellicci and Shorrock established a holding company, We Two Pty. Ltd, with all members as directors in equal share.

LRB Studio Album #10Monsoon – June 1988

The group’s tenth studio album, Monsoon, on MCA , peaked at No. 9 on the Kent Music Report and at No. 13 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia.

It was co-produced by Boylan and Goble. Track #3, its lead single, “Love Is a Bridge“, co-written by Goble and Housden was released in May and peaked at No. 7 on the Kent Music Report and at No. 11 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

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It was their second highest charting single in the Australian market, and a moderate Adult Contemporary radio hit in the US.

LRB Studio Album #11Get Lucky – February 1990

The eleventh studio album, Get Lucky (February, made the top 60 in Australia – their last charting studio album in Australia.

Mike Boehm of Los Angeles Times caught their gig in May, where “Lead singer Glenn Shorrock was stiff and seemed stuck for words between songs. But he knew what to do when the music started, singing in a comfortably husky voice that resembled Phil Collins in tone and easy pop appeal. Wayne Nelson, the group’s Californian, generated more heat in his two lead vocal turns. The three-part harmonies behind Shorrock were exemplary, although the CS&N parallels were unmistakable. Lead guitarist Stephen Housden reinforced the emphasis on melody with his clean, lyrical lines.

Goble had ceased touring with the group in 1989 and left altogether by 1992 as well as signing away his rights to the band’s name. Shorrock left again in 1996; he was offered the option to buy out the remaining members of We Two Pty. Ltd. He took a one-third share of the monetary value of the company as he did not want to commit to the band’s US touring schedule.  Nelson also left in 1996  and Pellicci, left (again) early in 1998.

The departure of all original members left Housden as the sole owner of We Two Pty. Ltd and the Little River Band trademark.  This would later come back to haunt the other members.

What’s in a name

From February 2002 to 2007, Birtles, Shorrock and Goble were reunited to  perform again as “The Original Little River Band“. Just one thing, “due to clumsy paper work and general disinterest on the part of original band members as they each left the group in the 1990s” they were not entitled to use the name Little River Band. It was legally owned by Stephen Housden, the group’s guitarist from August 1981 to 2006, after previous members had been paid out upon leaving.

BSG1975

So, they called themselves Birtles Shorrock Goble (BSG).

BSG Videos:

 

 

 

BSG / It’s A Long Way There / featuring Glenn Shorrock / Melbourne concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BSG / Reminising / from “Full Circle” DVD

 

 

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Video Recap – LRB 40th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2002 Album – One Night In Mississippi

Track Listings
1. Man on Your Mind
2. This Place
3. Take It Easy on Me
4. Lonesome Loser
5. Where We Started From
6. Reminiscing
7. Happy Anniversary
8. Who Made the Moon
9. Night Owls
10. Help Is on Its Way
11. It’s Not a Wonder
12. I Think I Left My Heart with You
13. Cool Change
14. Lady

 

 

 

 

Interview – Graeham Goble –  LrB History

A surprising remark by Goble:

Alan Barnes: “Did you study harmony formally, or was it something that was just a natural byproduct of writing your way through the song when it came to arrangement time, or did you actually write the harmonies along with the song?“.

Graeham Goble: “Yeah, no, ah, I never had any study. I can’t read music – it’s always what I hear in my head and I was able to, from a very young age, be able to hear everything in my head, and with the LRB harmonies, and all the harmonies that we are doing these days with my work, which has gotten even a lot more complicated, I just -em can hear it, and in the LRB days I would just sing the parts to the other guys and they would just learn them like that because we couldn’t read music.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1981) Little River Band, Rockarchief volledig concert

 

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 – Chronology of LRB Band Members

  • Graeham Goble (guitar, vocals, 1975-92),
  • Derek Pellicci (drums, percussion, 1975-84, 1987-98),
  • Beeb Birtles (guitar, vocals, 1975-83),
  • Glenn Shorrock (lead vocals, keyboards, 1975-82, 1987-96),
  • Dave Orams (bass, 1975),
  • Graham Davidge (guitar, 1975),
  • Roger McLachlan (bass, vocals, 1975-76, 1998-99),
  • Rick Formosa (guitar, vocals, 1975-76),
  • David Briggs (guitar, vocals, 1976-81),
  • George McArdle (bass, vocals, 1976-79),
  • Barry Sullivan (bass, vocals, 1979-80),
  • Wayne Nelson (bass, lead vocals, 1980-96, 1999-present),
  • Stephen Housden (guitar, vocals, 1981-2006),
  • John Farnham (lead vocals, 1982-86),
  • David Hirschfelder (keyboards, programming, vocals, 1983-87),
  • Steve Prestwich (drums, percussion, 1984-87),
  • Tony Sciuto (keyboards, guitar, vocals, 1990-92, 1994-97),
  • Peter Beckett (guitar, vocals, 1992-97),
  • Richard Bryant (keyboards, vocals, 1992-93),
  • Steve Wade (lead vocals, 1996-2000),
  • Hal Tupea (bass, vocals, 1996-97),
  • Kevin Murphy (drums, percussion, vocals, 1998-2004),
  • Paul Gildea (guitar, vocals, 1998-2000),
  • Adrian Scott (keyboards, vocals, 1998-99),
  • Glenn Reither (keyboards, saxophone, vocals, 1999-2004),
  • Greg Hind (guitar, vocals, 2000-present),
  • Chris Marion (keyboards, vocals, 2005-present),
  • Billy Thomas (drums, 2005-07),
  • Rich Herring (guitar, vocals, 2006-present),
  • Mel Watts (drums, 2007-12),
  • Ryan Ricks (drums, vocals, 2012-present)

LRB Website:  http://www.littleriverband.com/about-us/

–o–

2 responses to “Little River Band

  1. Great piece,well researched.Thoroughly enjoyed.

  2. Wow! What a trip down memory lane! Thank you!

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