Blackfeather – Boppin’ The Blues
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 21 July 2020
Writing about music has been wonderful, it is always great fun but it is also very difficult to pick from the many Australian groups and solo artists that this country has had.
This piece is about a song by Blackfeather called ‘Boppin’ The Blues’ and in 1972 it was a massive hit for the band.
I had first heard of this song in 1996, I was a student at Hastings Primary in Victoria and if my memory is still good it was every Wednesday afternoon that my teacher Mr Atkins got out the guitar or piano and we had to sing songs with him as a class.
One of the songs frequently sung was Blackfeather’s ‘Boppin’ the Blues’ and it was hit for the class probably because of the simplicity and catchiness of the lyrics especially when repeating ‘Bop bop, Boppin’ The Blues’ for a couple of minutes.
The song is catchy right from the start with twenty-five seconds of Piano playing before a single word is sung, the song is all about having a good time with even Police (Boys in Blue) stopping to dance when hearing the music.
Blackfeather was formed in 1970 and had a hit in 1971 with ‘Seasons of Change’ and this song is notable as they had earlier given the song to Fraternity whose lead singer was Bon Scott to record as a single and Fraternity’s version reached No. 1 in Adelaide prompting the record label to release Blackfeather’s version which had done better on the national chart.
The release of the song had broken a verbal agreement between Blackfeather’s guitarist and chief songwriter John Robinson and Infinity Records’ David Sinclair that ‘Seasons of Change’ would not be released by the record label and instead.
The band’s second single was ‘Boppin’ The Blues’ and it was released in July of 1972 with ‘Find Somebody to Love’ on the B-Side.
Blackfeather had originally wanted to make their own version of the Carl Perkins song (co-written by Howard ‘Curly’ Griffin) of the same name but they couldn’t remember the lyrics and so they wrote their own lyrics among other changes yet credited the songwriting to Griffin and Perkins despite all the differences concerning lyrics, melody and structure.
‘Boppin’ The Blues’ gave Blackfeather a No. 1 hit from July 24 to September 24 and they were the only Australian band or solo artist in 1972 to reach No. 1 on the Kent Music Report chart.
Blackfeather has had many changes since its formation in 1970 with a total of 48 people listed as members at any stage plus there were two different versions of the band going around at the same time in 1971.
Blackfeather almost changed Australian music history when in 1977 the band then known as Feather was going to have Jimmy Barnes as part of the band upon leaving Cold Chisel to join his brother John Swan at Feather but his farewell performance went so well that he decided to not join Feather.
The band released only three albums and three singles in their career but are still remembered today and who knows maybe some Primary School out there is still singing the song ensuring that the song is remembered well into the future.