Born to Be Wild by Maria Venuti and Jeanne Little

Born to Be Wild by Maria Venuti and Jeanne Little
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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A tribute to the world of pinball parlours and motorbikes, which Maria Venuti and Jeanne Little performed on The Mike Walsh Show in 1984.

The clip weaves together covers of the 1960s hits 'Born to Be Wild', written by Mars Bonfire and first sung by Steppenwolf in 1968, and 'Leader of the Pack', written by George 'Shadow' Morton, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich and popularised by The Shangri-Las in 1964.

Watching the clip it's obvious that Jeanne relishes the chance to get dressed up and perform in character, which makes the clip more enjoyable. Her broad Australian snarl lends a welcome local flavour to the two American songs.

This performance of a rock song followed by a pop song (given a rock spin) exemplifies Jeanne's impressive performance range, especially when compared with her covers of 'You and Me' from the Victor/Victoria musical and the classic orchestral 'Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)' by Marlene Dietrich. At her strongest when she's bouncing off someone, teaming her with fellow Australian comedian Maria Venuti here is a perfect choice.

Jeanne looks fabulous with a mohawk, and wearing leather and chains for the second song. She makes the clothes for her appearances and this outfit was no exception. In an interview after the song she tells host Mike Walsh about her amusing trip to the hardware store to buy the heavy chains for the costume.

Musical numbers like this one – complete with high production values and note-perfect backing from Geoff Harvey's band – were an important part of The Mike Walsh Show and very popular with audiences.

Excerpt taken from The Mike Walsh Show: Episode 4131 first broadcast on 14 August 1984.

Notes by Beth Taylor