Russell Morris – The Real Thing
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 5 January 2021
From the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s, Russell Morris was racking up the hits in a career that is as strong today as it was back then.
“The Real Thing”, “Part Three into Paper Walls”, “Sweet, Sweet Love”, “Rachel”, “Mr. America” and “Wings of an Eagle” were all released between 1969 and 1972 with all of those songs being massive hits.
Russell was previously a successful singer with Somebody’s Image as they scored two Top 40 hits with “Hush” and “Hide And Seek” in 1967 and 1968, the band had the backing of Ian “Molly” Meldrum who in his pre-Countdown days was a writer for the popular pop music newspaper Go-Set and when Russell left the band, Molly and his support followed him.
Johnny Young had a song for Russell Morris and it was called “The Real Thing”, Molly Meldrum produced it and the six minute song was something Australians weren’t used to but absolutely loved as it was complete with psychedelic sounds and a nuke going off at the end.
“The Real Thing”/”It’s Only a Matter of Time” peaked at No. 1 after its release in March 1969 and in July “Part Three into Paper Walls”/”The Girl That I Love” was released and it too made it to No. 1 giving Russell a start that few could ever have.
“Rachel”/”Slow Joey” and “Mr. America”/”Stand Together” were successes for Russell in 1970 with “Rachel” peaking at No. 23 and “Mr. America” peaking at No. 8 to give him three Top 10 singles from four releases.
“Rachel” was a song about war from the perspective of a young woman who was coming home after what she experienced in the war became too much for her to take.
“Rachel” would most likely have done better than No. 23 on the charts had it not been for the radio ban that swept Australia from May to October 1970, the radio ban meant that United Kingdom and Australian pop songs that were on major record labels were refused airplay and this included Russell as his record label was EMI.
“Sweet, Sweet Love”/”Jail Jonah’s Daughter” made it four from five releases in the Top Ten when it peaked at No. 8 after its release in June 1971.
Russell’s debut album “Bloodstone” was released in September 1971 and it peaked at No. 12, this album had Australian legends Rick Springfield, Phil Manning, Matt Taylor, Brian Cadd and Warren Morgan providing Guitar, Harmonica and Piano.
“Live with Friends”/”Alcohol Farm” and “Wings of an Eagle”/”Satisfy You” were released in 1972 and Russell was rewarded with peaks of No. 13 and No. 9.
A total of seven singles and one album charted for Russell between 1969 and 1972, six of those singles were in the Top Twenty and five of those were in the Top Ten with the album “Bloodstone” being a Top Twenty album.
The Russell Morris story doesn’t end at 1972, he continued to record and perform through the rest of the twentieth century with success and went on doing the same into the twenty-first century.
A new run of chart success that was just as good as his 1969-72 singles and album run occurred between 2012 and 2019 but that’s another story and one that you will hear about in the future.