Song Of The Day 7/7/2013: Ted Mulry Gang - "Jump In My Car"

Australian '70s Music Week: The music of Australia and New Zealand, particularly before punk and new wave blew everything up, has been a topic of fascination for me lately. I was finding enough interesting material that I felt we had enough for a theme week dedicated to the music of that time and place.

From a historical perspective, it always seemed to me that Australia and New Zealand were the most remote English-speaking countries in the world, isolated in the South Pacific from all the other British-derived nations, including America. Breezing through some Australian charts of the time, I came across a lot of bands that were big hits Down Under that never cracked the charts of the rest of the world.

Wanting to learn more about the music from someone who remembered that era, I said to myself, "Well, we're just gonna have to go out and find an Australian." And we did: Colin Donald, an actor from Melbourne, graciously consented to give me some of his thoughts over email about a music history that remains a secret to a lot of us, and I'll be sharing what he said throughout this week.

On the subject of Australian rock's development from the beginning of the era, Colin said:
"The phrase 'tyranny of distance' is often used to explain the 'behind the times' development of just about everything in Australia and NZ. Fashion, entertainment, arts, business, etc. all heard about overseas trends and then waited weeks or months for them to arrive. My parents would read about Beatles' releases and them place an order at a record store for the vinyl to be shipped out. Of course, everything for the last couple of decades has been virtually instantaneous. But for a long time we suffered the cultural cringe of being an outpost of the British Empire and regarded their markets and advances as the ones this nation would like to follow. America was sort of 'that other country of English speaking people' with a culture we didn't quite embrace.  
"That would partly explain the difficulties for Australian acts to become successful overseas. Young bands would have to travel enormous distances from their supportive home base and try to survive under management and promoters that were ill-prepared. Nonetheless, England was seen as the first place to conquer, so you should probably regard the Easybeats and the Bee Gees of the 1960's as our first overseas success stories. But if you look at countries of birth, most of those guys weren't 100% Australian. (And I'll get to the Easybeats connection to AC/DC later). The Seekers had a lot of overseas chart success around that time, but they were much more folk than any other style."
Ted Mulry (1947-2001) was one of those not-quite-Australian success stories, having been born in Lancashire, England and moved to Sydney to make it big in the early '70s. "(He) had a hit single 'Julia' before he formed the 'Gang'," Colin informed me. "Jump In My Car" was a #1 hit in 1975 for Mulry's outfit. It was famously remade by another -- um, artist who, like Mulry, had to rely on a country other than his own for his musical stardom.

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