Friday On My Mind by The Easybeats

Title:
Friday On My Mind by The Easybeats
Category:
NFSA ID:
258900
Year:
1966
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Friday on My Mind by the Easybeats was composed by Harry Vanda and George Young. Recorded in London in 1966, it was released as a single later that year. This clip includes the start of the song and first verse.

Summary by Thorsten Kaeding

Performer:
The Easybeats

Unlike their other hits, which were recorded in Australia, ‘Friday On My Mind’ was recorded in London, at the Abbey Road Studios made famous by the Beatles. By late 1966, the Easybeats were working with Shel Talmy who had produced hits for bands like the Who and the Kinks. Out of these London recording sessions came ‘Friday On My Mind’.

The song has proven to have lasting and universal appeal and could be considered the granddaddy of later songs on the same theme (like Loverboy’s 'Working for the Weekend’ in 1981 or Calvin Harris’s dance anthem 'Ready for the Weekend’ in 2009). As you can hear in this clip, the insistent beat of the opening cleverly matches the impatience in the lyrics, with plaintive frustration suggested by the drawn-out 'baaad’ and 'naaag’. The tune’s pace begins to pick up as the end of the week approaches, and it’s hard to resist the toe-tapping urgency as the song continues to build throughout the verse.

Another sign of the song’s international reach and versatile appeal is the range of artists who’ve recorded cover versions of it, from glam-era David Bowie (1973) to rockers Peter Frampton (1973) and Gary Moore (1987), and as a duet between Australian pop singer Vanessa Amorosi and country star Lee Kernaghan (2001).

 

Friday On My Mind synopsis

Friday on My Mind is considered one of the greatest ever Australian pop songs and made the Easybeats an enduring name in the pop and rock world.

 

Curator's notes

Often described as Australia’s answer to the Beatles, the Easybeats are widely regarded as the greatest Australian pop band of the 1960s. They were the first Australian rock’n'roll act to score an international pop hit with their classic 1966 single 'Friday On My Mind’. Although they were only around for five years, the Easybeats had a lasting impact on the Australian music scene. They showed that Australian rock bands could achieve success with their own songs both in Australia and overseas.

All five founding members of the Easybeats were from families who had recently migrated to Australia from Europe: lead singer Stevie Wright and drummer ‘Snowy’ Fleet were from England; rhythm guitarist George Young was from Scotland; lead guitarist Harry Vanda (Johannes Vandenburg) and bassist Dick Diamonde (Dingeman Vandersluys) were from the Netherlands. The five met at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in 1964 and became part of the vibrant Sydney rock scene.

It wasn’t long before the band came to the attention of the music publisher and producer Ted Albert, beginning a lasting relationship between members of the band and Alberts Publishing. A string of hit singles followed in 1965 and 1966, with ‘She’s So Fine’, ‘Woman (Make You Feel Alright)’, 'Come and See Her’ and the 'Easyfever’ EP all topping the charts in Australia. There was now no doubt that the Easybeats were the most successful and popular band in the country at the time and they were regularly mobbed by hysterical fans as ‘Easyfever’ took hold.

Having gone as far as they could in Australia, 1966 saw the band move to London, the source of the ‘British Invasion’ sweeping the world music scene. At the forefront of that movement were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as the Kinks and the Who. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, ‘Friday on My Mind’ was heavily influenced by the British Invasion sound. The song initially received limited airplay before it began to be played on Radio Luxembourg and pirate radio stations, often due to the influence of Australian DJs. With the increase in airplay the song took off, eventually reaching number one in the Australian charts, number six in the UK, top ten in Germany, France, Italy and Holland and number 16 in the US.

The song was also significant in that it was the first Easybeats single co-written by Harry Vanda and George Young. Most of their previous Australian hits had been written by Stevie Wright and George Young. The Vanda and Young team went on to become arguably Australia’s most influential producer-songwriter team. As well as continuing as a duo under the name of Flash and the Pan, they wrote and produced hits such as Stevie Wright’s 'Evie (Parts 1, 2 & 3)’ (1974), John Paul Young’s ‘Love is in the Air’ (1978) and Grace Jones’s ‘Walking in the Rain’ (1981). They also went on to produce the first six albums for AC/DC, featuring George Young’s younger brothers Malcolm and Angus, as well as producing records for the Angels and Rose Tattoo.

The Easybeats were not able to follow up the success of ‘Friday on My Mind’, and by 1968 and into 1969 the members started to drift apart. This was partly due to the influence of drugs but largely because of the increasing isolation of the Vanda and Young team who began to concentrate on their own projects.

'Friday on My Mind’ was released in Australia on 17 November 1966. It debuted on the national pop charts the following week and spent six weeks at number one over the summer of 1966–67. The record reached number six on the UK charts in October 1966.

Notes by Thorsten Kaeding