Great Aussie Rock Guitarists Of The 70s & 80s - Part 1

Great Aussie Rock Guitarists Of The 70s & 80s - Part 1

Posted 22 Aug 2019
ian moss
Ian Moss (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

As Ian Moss celebrates the 30th Anniversary of his smash Matchbook album, we look back at some of the contemporaries and predecessors of the man who has remained Australia’s most loved rock guitarist for nigh on 40 years now.

Let us know who you wanted to see included in a follow-up feature!
Kevin Borich

Before Mossy, KB was the man when it came to finesse and fire. Landing in Australia with the La De Das at the start of the 70s, Borich carved out a niche for himself as Australia’s pre-eminent blues-rock guitarist with that band before kicking off a solo career in the mid-70s. Whilst he never achieved the sort of chart success solo as he had with classic La-de-da singles like “Gonna See My Baby Tonight” and “Too Pooped To Pop”, Kevin released some solid records and was a popular live draw with his Kevin Borich Express. His appearance on stage with Carlos Santana at the Rockarena Festival in 1979 is legendary, and he finally saw some more chart action as a member of the Party Boys in the 80s. 

Phil Manning

And before KB there was Phil Manning, who first made a name for himself playing lead for Australia’s own blues university Chain from the late 60s onwards, and who subsequently released several solo records in the 70s. Like Borich, Manning has continued to work, although he does keep a low profile.

Ross Hannaford

One of Melbourne’s most loved musicians, the late great Ross Hannaford is best known for his work alongside mate Ross Wilson in Daddy Cool, but he was perennial on the local scene over subsequent decades playing an eclectic mix of R&B, reggae and funk. A decidedly less-is-more player, Hanna was also a consummate sideman and was indeed a member of Ian Moss’s band for a whole in the 80s.

Kirk Lorange

One of Australia’s most highly regarded guitarists of the 70s was not a member of a band and didn’t release his own record until the 80s, after which he decided never again. Kirk remains best known for his distinctive work with Richard Clapton, whose recordings of the era are brimming with Lorange’s signature slide.

Kerryn Tolhurst & Chris Stockley

Tolhurst and Stockley were the two guitarists of Melbourne’s much-loved Dingoes and band whose combination of American roots music and distinctive Australian songwriting would inspire Cold Chisel significantly. Both players came from significant previous groups – Stockley from Axiom with Brian Cadd and Glenn Shorrock, and Tolhurst from Country Radio with Greg Quill (he co-wrote the classic hit “Gypsy Queen”) – and had been playing locally since the 60s.

Dennis Wilson & Tim Gaze

The two guitarists from much-loved early 70s Sydney band Karvas Jute had a considerable impact on the Sydney scene of the 70s. Indeed Gaze had previously been a member of the perhaps even more influential Tamam Shud.

Lobby Loyde

Lob was the godfather of Australian blues-rock and hard-rock, going back to his days in mid-60s Brisbane with hardcore R&B combo the Purple Hearts. Of course, it was in Melbourne, first with the Wild Cherries, then briefly with the Aztecs, then upfront of the legendary Coloured Balls, that Loyde really made his name.

Harvey James

Best known as Clive Shakespeare’s full-time replacement in Sherbet, Harvey James is perhaps most-highly regarded by serious Australian guitar fans for his work in Mike Rudd’s Ariel. He first came to prominence in the pre-Little River Band outfit Mississippi and in the early 80s was a founding member of the Party Boys.

Billy Green

Billy Green, or Wil Greenstreet as he was known at the time, first came to national prominence as guitarist for Doug Parkinson In focus in the late 60s and later made several solo recordings, including for the soundtrack of notorious 70s biker film Stone. These days he is devoted to the saxophone and lives in New York.


Closer to Ian Moss’s age and era of initial prominence, John Dallimore first appeared as the teenage prodigy lead guitarist of Victorian surf-coast boogie-rockers Redhouse in the mid-70s before moving to Sydney and trying to make it on his own eponymously named band. Touted for big things in the late 70s, Dallimore took too long to make a record and was pretty much swept aside as the 80s brought with them new sounds and styles

Andy Durant & Mal Eastick

Famously, Stars were the band that Michael Gudinski signed instead of Cold Chisel in 1976. Adelaide contemporaries of Chisel, they mixed Southern boogie and country-rock and featured two gun guitarists in co-founder Mal Eastick – who was a member of Jimmy Barnes’ band in the 80s - and then young Andy Durant, who come on board late and sadly was struck down by cancer at the age of 25.

And of course, the man himself...

Ian Moss

It’s been three decades since Ian Moss launched his post-Cold Chisel career with the phenomenal debut solo album Matchbook. In recent months, Mossy has been gearing up to celebrate 30 years of the multi-platinum release with an expanded reissue, featuring bonus collection of never before released live recordings and rare B-sides. 

Get the expaned 30th Anniversray edtion of Matchbook here.  

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