Happy 70th Birthday Russell Morris

Happy 70th Birthday Russell Morris

russell morris
(Photo by Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images)

Russell Morris is an ARIA Hall of Fame inductee with a string of Top 10 hits from the 60s and 70s, and is still touring today.

It's his 70th birthday so to celebrate we thought we'd take a look back at some of those hits in honour of the milestone.

Let's start at the beginning, 1966, when Russell was just 18 years old in his first group Somebody's Image. They had a hit with "Hush", originally penned by Joe South, and produced by a young Ian Meldrum, which reached #15 on the ARIA Chart.

The big breakthrough came with "The Real Thing" in 1969. Morris' debut solo single was a near seven-minute production extravaganza, written by Johnny Young, produced by Ian Meldrum. The backing track was performed by members of Melbourne soul band The Groop, which included Brian Cadd, Richard Wright (drums) and Don Mudie (bass) as well as Zoot guitarist Roger Hicks (who developed the acoustic guitar riff) and backing vocalists Ronnie Charles (The Groop), the Chiffons (including Maureen Elkner) and Marcie and The Cookies' Sue Brady and Judy Condon. It was the highest selling single in Australia in 1969. 

Check out this live version from RocKwiz... And, our article on the history of Oz Psych.

"Sweet Sweet Love" arrived in 1971 and peaked at #7 on the ARIA Chart. Produced by Howard gable, it was the first single off the Bloodstone album. 

Fast-forward a few decades to 2012, Morris released the first of his trilogy of Australian story albums. Sharkmouth is a collection of tracks about Australian's in the 1920s and 30s and includes songs about Phar Lap, Les Darcy and The Great Depression. The album features appearances by Deisel, Troy Cassar-Daley and Renee Geyer. The album reached #6 on the ARIA charts and was certified platinum. 

Van Diemen's Land followed in 2014 which focused on larger events rather than individuals, from the prison ships that began Australia as a penal settlement to the union strikes, the First and Second World Wars as well as paddle steamers on the Murray River. Van Diemen's Land was nominated for Best Blues and Roots at the 2014 ARIA Awards, certified Gold sales and was the highest charting album of Russell’s 50-year career to date debuting at #4 on the overall ARIA Charts. 

In 2015, Morris released Red Dirt – Red Heart, the third and final album in the trilogy and it won the ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album.

Get stuck into his catalogue on Spotify here...

Related Posts