“In the beginning, back in 1965,” Australian Music was nothing more than American Music, and English Music performed by Australian artists. Then, in the 70’s, when my mother was a teenager, something began to happen. A new sound emerged, one which was our very own. It was no longer Rock ‘n’ Roll by Aussies, but OzRock; A form of hard-core rock which was unique to us. It was no longer “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” like Elvis did it. Neither was it Heavy Metal. It was ours, and we’re still proud of it.
There were pioneers in this sound which we have begun to build our nation around. I’ve noticed my American friends don’t know them much. But, it was more than just AC/DC that pioneered this new genre of sound. It’s not just ‘rock,’ it’s OzRock, and there were others. This weekend, two of those pioneers passed away. They weren’t lead singers, but they were Harvey James, the guitarist of Sherbet and Steve Prestwich, the drummer of Cold Chisel.
We might not always know their names because they aren’t up front with the microphone. But, we all can appreciate what these men have contributed to Australian Music as I know it to be in my lifetime. They wrote some of the most played songs in our history. Songs which have forever changed the music we produce, and have been so influential they have actually changed our lives. They helped us make it something which was truly our own. These two men were genuine legends who have left behind them a legacy which will remain forever in every song by Australian’s of all musical genres since.
So here I am, taking my tiny corner of the internet to say Thank You to Steve Prestwich from Cold Chisel and Harvey James of Sherbet. Your legacy has outlived you and it will outlive me too. While I’m cleaning my house today, I will be playing OzRock and Australian Pop written by you with thousands of hits on YouTube.
‘Howzat?’ Music which was once a record, then a cassette, then a cd, all still selling now as digital downloads to the newest generation of your fans. It’s a long time since the ‘War Is Over’ and we’re still sitting under the ‘Flame Trees,’ ‘on the Slip Stream’ by ‘Bow River,’ feeling that ‘Summer Lovin’.’ Because, we know ‘it’s like no other.’
In whatever may come after life, you both deserve the very best. Rest in Peace.