Talkin’ Bout Skyhooks!
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 26 May 2020
Skyhooks, the legendary Australian band that some radio stations feared to play but the public loved to see and hear in a career that lasted on and off for three decades.
They had massive hits around the country with songs like Living in the 70’s, You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good In Bed, Horror Movie, Ego Is Not A Dirty Word, Blue Jeans, All My Friends Are Getting Married and more.
The ‘classic’ lineup of the band comprised of Graeme “Shirley” Strachan (Lead Vocals), Greg Macainish (Bass), Red Symons (Guitar), Imants “Freddie” Strauks (Drums) and Bob Starkie (Guitar).
Steve Hill, Peter Ingliss, Peter Starkie, Bob Spencer and Tony Williams were all part of the band at one stage or another with the latter two replacing Symons and Strachan after their departures.
The band pushed the boundaries particularly when the band released the Red Symons song ‘Smut’ and had taken a shot at Queensland Police with ‘Over the Border’ and at America with ‘Keep the Junk in America’.
Skyhooks called it quits in 1980 the day after appearing on the hit TV show Countdown but just a few years later they were back touring the nation to great success but fans had to wait a couple of years before the band new material.
The band gave fans what they wanted in 1990 with the release of the single ‘Jukebox in Siberia’ and it gave the band a #1 hit making them the only Australian artist or band to get to the top of the charts that year.
After Jukebox in Siberia, they released ‘Tall Timber’ before the band went to work a couple of years later on a new album with the aim to release it in 1994.
Unfortunately their 1994 single ‘Happy Hippy Hut’ which was paired up with Daddy’s Cool’s ‘The Ballad of Oz’ did not do well and the band shelved their album plan with their work being dubbed ‘the lost album’ but it didn’t stay buried for too long.
The Lost Album/The Collection was a 2 CD package that was released in 1999 by Mushroom Records and contained 30 songs.
All of the band’s 1970’s hits were on Disc 1 and Jukebox in Siberia, Tall Timber, Happy Hippy Hut and the ‘lost album’ tracks were on Disc 2.
There are some great songs on Disc 2 with examples being Kooyong Dollar, Kickback, 1976 Guitar, Westgate Light, Tigersnake Kiss and Powdertown.
Greg Macainish proved that he was still one of Australia’s best songwriters with songs that commented on Australian life at the time, one example is Kooyong Dollar with lyrics mentioning Hungry Jacks, driving a Ford and the Victoria suburb of Prahan.
If you like a song about guitars then 1976 Guitar is the song for you, if you want a song about corruption then Kickback is what you’re looking for.
The sounds of guitars dominate the songs so if you like guitars then you’ll enjoy the lost album and if you enjoy the great lyrical work of Skyhooks then the lost album has that covered too.
The Collection/The Lost Album is the perfect combination for Skyhooks fans who want the hit tracks from the 1970’s with the added bonus of the ‘lost album’, adding to the bonus of the album tracks is the fact that only ‘1976 Guitar’ appeared in the next Skyhooks compilation titled ‘Hits’n’Riffs’ when it was released in 2015.
So sit back, relax and play some Skyhooks tracks to get through you through the day or night, there’s nothing like it.
Article by – Ryan Stevenson