The Skyhooks Story In 9 Songs

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The Skyhooks Story In 9 Songs

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When it comes to classic Aussie rock acts, none are more revered than legendary Melbourne ensemble, Skyhooks. The glam rockers combined melodic guitar riffs and a pub rock sensibility with relatable lyrics addressing drugs, sex and everyday life in a changing Australia throughout the ‘70s. Throw-in flamboyant costumes and frontman Shirley Strachan’s captivating vocals and you have yourself a delectable cocktail of chart-topping singles from a band who did more in seven years than most rock acts achieve in a lifetime.

We’re delving into their hit-laden back catalogue to bring you the Skyhooks story in nine classic tunes.

“Living In The 70’s”

Released at a time when Australia was going through political and social upheaval, “Living In The 70’s” is a vibrant splash of glam rock detailing the uncertain landscape facing the youth of Australia. A defining song of the era, showcasing Skyhooks knack for a catchy riff and bassist Greg Macainsh’s relatable lyrics, this song helped the album of the same name top local charts for 16 straight weeks. Not a bad way to announce yourself to the Aussie music loving public.

“Horror Movie”

From the eerie synth opening to the brooding bass line, “Horror Movie” encapsulates a feeling of dread throughout its near claustrophobic four-minute runtime. The band’s first number one hit compares the 6:30 news to that of a horror movie, with Strachan drawing you into this nightmare with his seductive delivery. The film clip of the band dressed in various costumes is also incredible, with Strachan’s open chest blue and gold jumpsuit worth the price of admission alone.

“You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed”

Never ones to shy away from controversy, Skyhooks had the establishment up in arms when they released their debut, Living In The 70’s. Addressing everything from sexual conquest to drug use, six tracks from the album were banned by commercial radio, That didn’t stop the ABC’s new youth station 2JJ from playing them, with the station’s first broadcast tune being Skyhooks “You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed.” The sexually provocative hit makes reference to Mick Jagger and plays off Strachan’s hyper sexuality as he claims, “Fifteen times a week and you still want more.”

“Balwyn Calling”

Despite being explicitly about sex, “Balwyn Calling” was another song off Living In The 70’s that managed to squeeze past the censors. Anchored by the duelling guitars of Bob Starkie and Red Symons, Strachan instil Macainsh’s lyrics about a one-night stand that turns into something more with cheeky dread as he warns the man to “get out of Balwyn.”

“Ego is Not A Dirty Word”

The use of cowbell always makes a song that much better – something proved correct with this Skyhooks classic. An uplifting disco meets rock concoction with Strachan in full glam rock mode, “Ego Is Not A Dirty Word” is the perfect dance floor filler with a killer guitar riff.

“All My Friends Are Getting Married”

Showing a softer, more introspective side to their work, this country flavoured ditty from sophomore album Ego (Is Not A Dirty Word) finds Strachan pondering his life choices as his friends are starting families while he’s still living the high life as a famous musician, mirroring Strachan’s personal life at the time.

“Women In Uniform”

Switching things up for their fourth long player, Skyhooks swapped regular producer and Daddy Cool member Ross Wilson for American Eddie Leonetti and replaced the recently departed Red Symons with Bob Spencer from Sydney rockers, Finch. The result is an album steeped in punk rock tropes as evident by first single “Women In Uniform.” An ode to women who wear uniforms, this is a thunderous guitar rocker with a killer groove featuring Strachan stretching his vocal chops with a euphoric scream that tails off at the songs climax.

“Million Dollar Riff”

An industries rock track that sounds like it was conceived backstage at the Sunbury festival, “Million Dollar Riff” is a unique in that it incorporates riffs from a bunch of popular songs. Along with including their own hit riff from “Horror Movie,” the track contains samples of The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction,” Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water,” Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love,” the Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” Van Morrison’s “ Gloria” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” A celebration of Aussie pub rock inspired by their 1976 American tour, this is straight-up rock and roll with Skyhooks’ personal touch.

“Jukebox In Siberia”

Released as a single to support their greatest hit collection, The Latest And Greatest, “Jukebox In Siberia” was the first new material from Skyhooks in six years. A strangely political track looking at the rule of Russian under communist party leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the song became the band’s second number one single, 15 years after “Horror Movie” topped the ARIA charts. Produced by Ross Fraser, the man behind John Farnham’s classic Whispering Jack, “Jukebox In Siberia” contains an 80s style guitar solo and feels very much of its time, helping cement Skyhooks as Aussie greats.

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