Back On The Street Again/Drive My Car/ I Really Miss You/ It's Almost Summer/Do The Best You Can/Theme From Million Dollar Bill/Mama Told Her/Standin' Too Close To The Fire/Don't Need No Protection
William Richard "Billy" Thorpe, AM (29 March 1946 – 28 February 2007) was an English-born Australian pop / rock singer-songwriter, producer,and musician. As lead singer of his band Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, he had success in the 1960s with "Blue Day", "Poison Ivy", "Over the Rainbow", "Sick and Tired", and "Mashed Potato"; and in the 1970s with "Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy". Featuring in concerts at Sunbury Pop Festivals and Myer Music Bowl in the early 1970s, the Aztecs also developed the pub rock scene and were one of the loudest groups in Australia.
Thorpe also performed as a solo artist; he relocated to the United States from 1976 to 1996 where he released the space opera Children of the Sun, which peaked in the top 40 of the Billboard Pop Album chart in 1979. He worked with ex-Aztec Tony Barber to form a soft toy company in 1987 and co-wrote stories for The Puggle Tales and Tales from the Lost Forests. Thorpe also worked as a producer and composed music scores for TV series including War of the Worlds, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Columbo, Eight Is Enough and Hard Time on Planet Earth.
Thorpe returned to Australia in 1996 and continued as a performer and producer, additionally he wrote two autobiographies, Sex and Thugs and Rock 'n' Roll (1996) and Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy) (1998). According to Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane, "Thorpie evolved from child star, beat pop sensation and cuddly pop crooner to finally emerge as the country's wildest and heaviest blues rocker Thorpie was the unassailable monarch of Australian rock music". Thorpe was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1991. He died of a heart attack in February 2007 and was posthumously appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June for his contribution to music as a musician, songwriter and producer.
In early 1975 Billy disbanded The Aztecs to lay plans for his move to the USA. By that stage, Thorpie no longer saw himself as the manic blues rocker. He had cut his hair and dispensed with the faded denims for more stylish attire, and was not content to sit on his laurels. His next two albums, Million Dollar Bill and Pick Me Up and Play Me Loud, featured a sophisticated mix of funk, Adult Oriented Rock (AOR), country and blues with a definite American slant. Million Dollar Bill produced the delightfully breezy single 'It's Almost Summer'/'Drive My Car' (November 1975) which was a minor hit in Melbourne and Sydney (#39). 'Do the Best You Can'/'Mama Told Her' (March 1976) was the second single. The basic line-up on the album was Thorpe, Matthews and New Zealander Billy Kristian (bass; ex-Max Merritt and the Meteors), aided by the likes of Warren Morgan (keyboards, by then a member of John Paul Young and the All Stars).