BY MATTHEW DAVIES
Above: Billy Thorpe performing at the Sunbury Music Festival. Source: Aztec Music.
Songwriters are often looking for themes that have wide appeal and strong emotional resonance. Given the Australian love affair with the sun, you might expect to find plenty of tracks in the NFSA’s extensive Australian popular music holdings that are about ‘summer’ — in fact there are hundreds of them.
Little Pattie’s surf club dance craze ‘The Stomp’ led to a few summer hits, but who can go past a title like ‘He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy’? Also from the sixties, one of our first musical exports, The Seekers, give us not one but ‘Two Summers’ and Frank Ifield is right in the middle of the road with ‘Summer is Over’.
The Mixtures get into the act with a cover of Mungo Jerry’s ‘In The Summertime’, taking advantage of a brief period in the 1970s when Australian radio refused to play hits from the UK. Stylus’ cover of ‘Summer Breeze’ was a purely local hit, while Mondo Rock’s ‘Summer of ‘81’ was part of that band’s push to take Australian music to the world.
Billy Thorpe’s ‘Almost Summer’ has the archetypal rocker in a more mellow mood. To finish our mix, take flautist Jane Rutter’s performance of the traditional ‘Last Rose of Summer’, add ‘Summer Love’ from Sherbet, plus singer Darryl Braithwaite’s ‘One Summer’, and top it off with a global hit from a blockbuster movie featuring our own Olivia Newton-John.
Getting warm yet?
Sounds of Summer Playlist
Little Pattie, He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy
The Mixtures, In The Summertime
Mondo Rock, Summer of ’81
Frank Ifield, Summer is Over
Billy Thorpe, It’s Almost Summer
Darryl Braithwaite, One Summer
Sherbet, Summer Love
Stylus, Summer Breeze
The Seekers, Two Summers
Jane Rutter, The Last Rose of Summer
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, Summer Nights