When Sharpies Ruled: A Vicious Selection

When Sharpies Ruled: A Vicious Selection


A power-packed 23-track CD packaged with a 28 page booklet with liner notes and a separate 60 page booklet of Sharpie snaps, ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ is the ultimate aural and visual statement on the infamous Australian youth movement and gangs of the ‘70s.

The Sharpies were a uniquely Australian working class phenomenon from the late ‘60s to the late ‘70s. Notorious in their day for their predication for trouble, these days they’re remembered for their startling style sense (‘Connies’ - tight Italian cardigans - and razor cut hair were favoured; the name ‘Sharpie’ came from their early emphasis on looking sharp),  and their outrageous dancing (as parodied by Magda Szubanski on Fast Forward in the ‘90s).  Whilst the phenomenon was strongest in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs, it was a national movement, with many major centres providing a unique variation on the basic theme.  Akin in some ways to the early skinhead movement in the UK, Sharpies were not politically or racially motivated (indeed, the gangs fully represented the burgeoning multi-cultural nature of working class society at the time) and they adhered to a strict code. Whilst their culture was violent, the altercations were usually restricted to inter-gang rivalries, which notably flared up when they crossed into each other’s territories on public transport.

Photo courtesy John Bowie

The Sharpies of course loved their music, and ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ presents the best of their favourite local bands, including the Coloured Balls and Rose Tattoo (the two bands most synonymous with the Sharpies movement) and well as power-boogie masters Billy Thorpe &The Aztecs, tough glam thumpers Skyhooks, Hush and Rabbit (the band fronted by AC/DC’s original pre-Bon Scott vocalist Dave Evans) and working class punks La Femme. The compilation includes classic hits of the era like Skyhooks ‘Horror Movie’ ,Hush’s ‘Bony Maronie’,  Ted Mulry Gang’s ‘Jump In My Car’  and Supernaut’s ‘I Like It Both Ways’, alongside killer minor hits like Taste’s ‘Tickle Your Fancy’, the Coloured Balls’ ‘Flash’ and ‘Love Me Babe’ and Stevie Wright’s ‘Hard Road’, fan favourites from  Kevin Borich’s group The La De Dasand Angry Anderson and Phil Rudd’s early group Buster Brown, and a number of hard and fast rarities by the likes of Finch, Bullet, Fat Daddy and Fatty Lumpkin.

If nearly 80 minutes of pounding ‘70s Aussie rock’n’roll isn’t enough, the super deluxe ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ package also includes in-depth liner notes by both album compiler/ noted punk & proto-punk expert Glenn Terry and Skyhooks main man Greg Macainsh (whose 1974 film school short feature entitled ‘Sharpies’ is a YouTube favourite), as well as over 100 eye-catching images of artists and the Sharpies themselves.

The release of ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ accompanies the rise in international interest in the Australian Sharpies phenomenon as part of a burgeoning interest in ‘70s youth cultures in general and in pre/proto-punk hard rock in particular, and it follows the publication of a number of memoirs relating to the movement. Album compiler/annotator Glenn Terry, and former Sharps Julie Mac  (author of two Sharpie books ‘Rage’ and ‘Snap’) andSam Biondo (who is a member of Melbourne sharp revival band the City Sharps and who also curated the Skins’n’Sharps exhibition in 2006) are amongst those who will be available for interviews.


When Sharpies Ruled -  A Vicious Selection

  1. Coloured Balls - Time Shapes
  2. Finch - Out Of Control
  3. La De Das - The Place (single edit)
  4. Coloured Balls - Flash
  5. Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs - Let’s Have A Party (Recorded live at Sunbury 1974)
  6. Stevie Wright - Hard Road
  7. Buster Brown - Roll Over Beethoven
  8. Skyhooks - Horror Movie
  9. Coloured Balls - Love You Babe
  10. Fat Daddy - Roll Daddy Roll
  11. Ted Mulry Gang - Jump In My Car
  12. Bullet - Rock My Lady
  13. Hush - Bony Moronie
  14. Fatty Lumpkin - Movin’
  15. Kevin Borich Express - I’m Goin’ Somewhere
  16. Ted Mulry Gang - Crazy
  17. Finch - Hey Spunky
  18. Taste - Tickle Your Fancy
  19. Rabbit - Wildfire
  20. Supernaut - I Like It Both Ways
  21. Rose Tattoo - Remedy
  22. La Femme - Chelsea Kids (single version)

Get When Sharpies Ruled: A Vicious Selection here.

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