Friday, 2 December 2016
Over The Rainbow/I Told The Brook/About Love/Hallelujah, I Love Her So/Twilight Time/Baby, Hold Me Close/My Girl Josephine/That I Love/Funny Face/Don't Cha Know/Sick & Tired/Mashed Potato
Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs were an Australian pop and rock group dating from the mid-1960s. The group enjoyed success in the mid-1960s, but split in 1967. They re-emerged in the early 1970s to become one of the most popular Australian hard-rock bands of the period. Thorpe died from a heart attack in Sydney on 28 February 2007.
Originally a four-piece instrumental group who had put out one surfing instrumental, "Smoke & Stack", they formed in Sydney in 1963. With the advent of the Merseybeat sound, they added a lead singer, Billy Thorpe. His powerful voice and showmanship (which made him one of the most popular and respected rock performers in Australian music), completed the original line-up, which consisted of drummer Col Baigent, bassist John "Bluey" Watson and guitarists Valentine Jones and Vince Maloney (who later played with The Bee Gees). Valentine Jones left the band shortly after Billy Thorpe had joined and was later replaced by Tony Barber.
During 1965 the original Aztecs quit after a financial dispute, so Thorpe put together a new five-piece version consisting of drummer Johnny Dick, pianist Jimmy Taylor, guitarists Colin Risbey and Mike Downes and NZ-born bassist Teddy Toi. This group performed until 1966, scoring further hits with "Twilight Time", "Hallelujah I Love Her So", "Baby, Hold Me Close", "Love Letters" and "Word For Today".
Thorpe went solo in 1967 and for a brief time hosted his own TV show, It's All Happening, but personal problems and a widely publicised bankruptcy brought this phase of his career to an end in 1968. Thanks to Don for the FLAC Files.