Daddy Who? Master of Cool!
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 29 December 2020
Daddy Cool was a side project of the progressive rock band Sons of the Vegetal Mother (aka Vegetals) from 1970 and the idea was that the band would play Doo-wop and Rock & Roll songs in short sets the were played in between Vegetals sets.
Ross Wilson, Ross Hannaford, Gary Young and Wayne Duncan played as Daddy Cool and while the Vegetals were popular, fans believed that Daddy Cool was even better.
Robie Porter of Sparmac Records saw the band performing on May 7 1971 and signed them up to the label with work beginning on the album “Daddy Who? Daddy Cool” not long after.
The single “Eagle Rock”/”Bom Bom” was released in the same month they signed with Sparmac Records and it was a #1 hit for 10 weeks in Australia (17 weeks in Melbourne) and is considered by some to be the greatest song in Australia’s music history though some say The Easybeats have the No. 1 spot with “Friday on My Mind”.
Elton John was so inspired by Eagle Rock that he and Bernie Taupin wrote “Crocodile Rock” which later became an International hit and Bernie Taupin is seen in a picture wearing a “Daddy Who?” promo badge.
“Eagle Rock / Bom Bom” was eventually knocked off No. 1 spot by Drummond and their cover of a 1957 Doo-wop song by The Rays titled “Daddy Cool”.
Drummond who were made up of artists from the record label Fable included the soft rock band Allison Gros who later became Mississippi and then finally became Little River Band (LRB) in 1975, they were the ones who recorded “Daddy Cool”.
“Daddy Who? Daddy Cool” was a #1 album in Australia after its release in July 1971 giving the band a No. 1 album and a No. 1 single on debut
Their second single “Come Back Again”/”Just As Long As We’re Together” was a hit for the band as it had peaked at No. 3 after its release in September 1971 and Jeremy Kellock (Jerry/Jeremy Noone) joined the touring line-up that same month having played on the LP.
November 1971’s “The Daddy Cool EP” was a five song EP where all members contributed lead vocals and it sold well with the EP peaking at No. 12 which kept up the good times for the band.
“Hi Honey Ho”/”Don’t Ever Leave Me” was released in December 1971 to support their upcoming album and it peaked at No. 16 giving the band five Top Twenty recordings for 1971 releases.
Their second album “Sex, Dope, Rock’n’Roll: Teenage Heaven” was released in January 1972 and had peaked at No. 15 but the good times weren’t around for long as trouble started brewing as Jeremy Kellock (Jerry Noone) left the band to be replaced by Ian Winter and disagreements started to rise in the band.
Their next single “Teenage Blues” / “At the Rockhouse” peaked at a low of No. 83 but “I’ll Never Smile Again”/”Daddy Rocks Off” got the band back into their Top Twenty groove with a peak of No. 16 after its release in July 1972.
The band originally ceased performing on August 13 1972 at the Much More Ballroom in Fitzroy, the venue was also known as the TF Much Ballroom and the performance later became the “The Last Drive-In Movie Show” live album in 1973.
But fans still craved for Daddy Cool as the compilation “Daddy Cool’s Golden Hits” peaked at No. 9 and live album “The Last Drive-In Movie Show” peaked at No. 34 in 1973 and the band returned in 1974 to play at Sunbury and release singles for the label Wizard (run by Robie Porter) but with no chart success.
Gunther Gorman and Wayne Burt were added to the band in 1975 but by the time September came around the band called it a day for the second time after playing at the Reefer Cabaret in Prahran.
Fans had to wait until 1994 for the next Daddy Cool adventure as the band and Skyhooks released a four song single with the band contribution being the songs “$64,000 Question” and “Ballad of Oz” but the single did not chart well and the once big plan with Skyhooks to rock around Australia in Arenas was shelved.
Things picked up again in 2005 as the band reunited for charity and released the single “The Christmas Bug” and more was to come in 2006 with the release of a double DVD called “The Complete Daddy Cool”, their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame in August and the album “The New Cool” was released in November of that year.
Daddy Cool was inducted into the Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame in 2014 and played its last show on November 19 that year.
It is amazing that Daddy Cool’s initial studio career only lasted between between 1971 and 1972 but they managed to make memorable songs such as “Eagle Rock”, “Come Back Again”, and “Hi Honey Ho” in such a short period of time and with “Eagle Rock” being iconic, Daddy Cool’s work will not be forgotten any time soon.