ARTIST: The Easybeats
TITLE: The Definitive Anthology
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 10 Aussie & Charting US and UK: She’s So Fine (#3 AUS), Wedding Ring (#7 AUS), Women (Make Me Feel Alright) (#4 AUS), Come and See Her (#3 AUS), I’ll Make You Happy (#1 AUS), Sorry (#1 AUS), Friday On My Mind (#16 US, #6 UK, #1 AUS), Heaven and Hell (#8 AUS), Hello, How Are You (#20 UK, #34 AUS), St. Louis (#100 US, #21 AUS)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Good Times has been on quite a few anthologies.
LINEUP: Harry Vanda, Stevie Wright, George Young, Snowy Fleet, Dick Diamonde. Tony Cahill replaced Fleet while they were in the UK.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Australian sensations migrate to the UK, release a touchstone song of the decade, decline and breakup. Two of the group become famous as producers.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Easybeats created some of the best known Australian songs of the 60’s: “Sorry”, “Good Times”, “Heaven and Hell” and of course “Friday On My Mind” are all well-regarded 60’s rock in various degrees of popularity and covers. They were also very proficient, cutting several albums and loads of B-sides and rarities in their relatively short career.
At first George Young wrote with Stevie Wright, and this partnership wrote all of their early hits up to “Friday On My Mind”. On that track, Harry Vanda replaced Wright as the main partner for Young (though Wright sang lead on it). Vanda was Dutch, and was finally proficient enough in English to become a songwriting partner. With Vanda and Young, the band increased their productivity and sophistication, but soon declined in sales everywhere but Australia for some reason.
There was no reason for the decline. They made memorable pop/rock and specialized in tuneful songs with hooks and interesting harmonies and counter-melodies. Sure, they didn’t get deep into psychedelia but that shouldn’t have been disqualifying. There was a problem with “Heaven and Hell” not passing muster on US radio (which was very prudish but inconsistently so in the 60’s)
This collection contains all of their singles and top album cuts, though some of the rarities are a little flaky and could have been better served by going for more album cuts instead. There’s another collection of rarities I’ll get to as well that contains some gems.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Young and Vanda set up shop as producers, and made quite a few records of famous Australian artists, including a little band starring Young’s brothers. You may have heard of AC/DC??
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B+: There’s a lot of tip-top stuff here, but at 50-some tracks it’s a bit too long. I guess they did really mean Definitive.