In this brief but brilliant round-up Lillian Roxon speaks with a sense of urgency – talking at a mile a minute in order to review albums and mention acts she hasn’t had time to focus on in her radio series.
This episode is interesting for showcasing her great ear and enthusiasm for both new and established talent. Enduring names mentioned here include Leonard Cohen and Ravi Shankar.
Listeners who have come to trust Roxon’s recommendations are treated to an insight into her personal taste when she confides that fellow Australians The Easybeats are her ‘all-time private favourite group’.
It’s personal asides like this that leave audience members feeling like they are friends of Roxon’s, or members of her exclusive club.
Lillian Roxon delivered witty, insightful copy in her print journalism, so she was well suited to the world of radio where you need a new piece every day on a different topic.
In reference to her book Lillian Roxon’s Rock Encyclopedia, Craig McGregor wrote in the The New York Times , 'Like Oscar Wilde, what she writes is but a pale imitation of what she says: her life is her art, man. She has a rare wit, Muhammad Ali reflexes, and an insatiable craving for experience at whatever cost.'
This is an episode of the radio show Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’ produced in 1971 and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States.
The Easybeats' 'Friday On My Mind' was added to the NFSA's Sounds of Australia in 2007.
The cover image for this title is from 'The Easybeats (VARA TV, The Netherlands), 13 August 1968'. Published under Creative Commons 1.0. Author: Eric Koch.
Notes by Beth Taylor
Lillian Roxon (1932–1973) was an Australian journalist who lived in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Dubbed ‘the mother of rock’, she wrote the iconic Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia, which was published in 1969.
In the 1970s Roxon documented the emerging rock revolution and later the birth of punk from her haunt – the New York city music club Max’s Kansas City – which was frequented by Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.
During 1971 she wrote and presented a show called Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’. The shows, which ran from March to October 1971, were recorded and then pressed onto vinyl LPs (20 shows fitted onto one LP) and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States. At the time, her voice would have been a curiosity for listeners unaccustomed to hearing Australian accents.
Roxon died tragically at the age of 41 from a severe asthma attack.
The Discotique recordings in our collection date from 28 June to 23 July 1971 and appear on an LP that the Roxon family donated to the NFSA in 2013. Given Roxon’s significance to the history of rock music, Radio Archivist Maryanne Doyle had long been looking for radio recordings of Roxon reporting on the music scene.
Maryanne first heard about the Discotique recordings thanks to Robert de Young, producer of the documentary Mother of Rock, about Roxon’s life. Mother of Rock (2010) is preserved in the NFSA collection as part of the National Documentary Program funded by Screen Australia.
Notes by Beth Taylor