Who listens to the Radio?
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 14 September 2020
The Sports were formed in 1976 in Melbourne with Stephen Cummings as lead singer with Ed Bates on guitar, Robert Glover playing bass guitar, Jim Niven on the piano and Paul Hitchins serving as the drummer.
The band were considered to be both a New Wave band and a Rock band during their 1976-1981 existence.
Lead singer Stephen Cummings was previously in a band with Joe Camilleri who later found success with Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons and The Black Sorrows as well as being a successful solo artist and producer.
The Sports first release was the EP “Fair Game” in 1977, this was not a wide release as it there was only 500 copies made but it did get attention in London after a copy was sent to popular music magazine New Musical Express and they declared it to be their ‘Record of the Week’.
The band was signed by Mushroom Records and their debut album “Reckless” was released in May 1978 and peaked at No. 43 on the charts, “Reckless” was produced by Joe Camilleri.
Debut single “Boys! (What Did the Detective Say?)”/”Modern Don Juan” peaked at No. 55 and their second single “When You Walk in the Room” peaked at No. 42, “When You Walk in the Room” was originally by Jackie DeShannon and was a No. 3 hit in the UK by The Searchers.
The lead single for their second album “Don’t Throw Stones” was “Who Listens To The Radio” and despite being well known it was not a massive hit in Australia as it peaked at No. 35 though it did peak at No. 45 in the United States.
“Don’t Throw Stones” was The Sports most successful album as it peaked at No. 9 in Australia and No. 194 in the United States.
The remixed version of the song is often the version you hear for example Disc 2 of Australia’s Ultimate Songs has the remix instead of the version that you see in the music video.
“Don’t Throw Stones”/”Terror Hits” continued The Sports climb up the charts when it peaked at No. 26.
The final single from the “Don’t Throw Stones” album was “Suspicious Minds”/”Bruises” and it peaked at No. 70.
The Sports toured the United Kingdom in 1979 and got to record the EP “O.K, U.K” along the way, the EP peaked at No. 40 though it may of been the single “Wedding Ring” that was doing all the selling and the sold total went to “O.K, U.K”.
The band’s third album “Suddenly” peaked at No. 13 on the charts in 1980 and had two singles from it while a third was only for the United States.
“Strangers on a Train”/”Can’t Ever Decide” gave the band it’s best single at the time with a peak position of No. 22 but “Perhaps”/”Regular”/”Daddy’s Little Thief” did not chart and “No Mama No”/”Strangers on a Train” did not chart in the United States.
Ex Skyhooks guitarist Red Symons joined the band on keyboards in 1980 but his stay was a short one as he was gone after a tour.
The album “Sondra” was released in 1981 and peaked at No. 20 on the charts, this album was the last album by The Sports and the only album that had Skyhooks drummer Freddie Strauks as the drummer for The Sports.
The lead single “How Come”/”Drug Sluts” became the best charting single for The Sports as it peaked at No. 21 but follow up single “When We Go Out Tonight”/”Some Brass Thing” did not chart.
The EP “The Sports Play Dylan (and Donovan)” was released in November 1981 and peaked at No. 70 with the single “Sunshine Superman” peaking at No. 72.
The Sports broke up in late 1981 but it wasn’t quite over for the band as there were some more releases in the pipeline before they were completely over and out.
The compilation album “All Sports” made it to No. 35 after its release in December 1982 but its single “Black Stockings (For Chelsea)”/”Last House on the Left” did not chart and that was the final active release by The Sports.
The live album “Missin’ Your Kissin'” was released in 1987 and compilation albums were released in 1997 and 2004.
The Sports like many of Mushroom Records greatest acts appeared at the Mushroom 25 concert in November 1998 and the crowd were treated to renditions of “Strangers On A Train” and “Who Listens To The Radio”.
In the end, The Sports had released four albums, one live album, three compliation albums, three EP’s and fourteen singles with all four albums charting, one compilation album, one EP and nine of the fourteen singles charting.
That is the story of The Sports.