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|Little River Band
the band that had six consecutive U.S. Top 10 singles
Little River Band was formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1975, and named after a road sign for the Victorian township of Little River, near Geelong. Its original line-up consisted of Glenn Shorrock (vocals), Graeham Goble (guitar, vocals), Beeb Birtles (guitar, vocals), Ric Formosa (guitar, vocals), Roger McLachlan (bass), and Derek Pellicci (drums).
The band's self-titled first album was released in November 1975. The following May they released a second album, After Hours, and in September of that year set off on their first trip overseas to support Queen at Hyde Park and the Average White Band in the United States. Their American record company decided that After Hours was too dark, and put the band straight into the studio to record the next album, resolving to use some of the After Hours tracks and the best of what was being recorded for the band's third Australian album. In both forms the result was called Diamantina Cocktail, which went gold in America, the first time an Australian act had achieved such a feat. It was followed by Sleeper Catcher.
From 1978 until 1981, Little River Band achieved a then-record six consecutive U.S. Top 10 singles with Reminiscing, Lady, Lonesome Loser, Cool Change, The Night Owls, and Take It Easy On Me.
Ironically, Little River Band's success led to tensions within the band which in turn led to a number of personnel changes. From the first album on, front-liners Shorrock, Birtles, and Goble recorded separately; they also traveled separately when on tour, only coming together on stage. Formosa, apparently not enthusiastic about touring outside of Australia, left the group in August 1976 to pursue other musical interests and was replaced by David Briggs. At the same time, the group replaced McLachlan with George McArdle. Formosa remained in touch with his former bandmates, however, and conducted and wrote string parts for several songs after he officially left the band. When Pellicci was severely injured in a gas grill fire in May 1978, the band brought in a substitute drummer, Geoff Cox, rather than cancel shows. Cox remained with the group through the summer of 1978 and even played alongside Pellicci after he came back until he was healed enough to continue on his own. A keyboardist, Mal Logan, was added in time for another U.S. tour in late 1978. McArdle left the group in January 1979, and Barry Sullivan took over on bass until being replaced by Wayne Nelson in April 1980. Guitarist Stephen Housden joined the band in August 1981, replacing Briggs.
By 1982 Shorrock, Birtles, and Goble were the only original Little River Band members left. In that year, however, Shorrock was forced out and replaced by John Farnham. Logan was dropped at this time as well. At this point the band sought to move towards a more "80's style" sound and added keyboardist David Hirschfelder in September 1983. Birtles left that same year because he did not like the direction the band was taking, and he was not a fan of Farnhams onstage performance. Pellicci left in February 1984 for similar reasons. Steve Prestwich was brought in as the new drummer, while Birtles was not replaced.
Little River Band continued to enjoy success, both in Australia and the United States, despite the many personnel changes. That success prompted Farnham to leave the group to pursue a solo career in 1986. Farnham's departure left the group in limbo until MCA president Irving Azoff convinced Shorrock and Pellicci to return in 1987. The Shorrock-Pellicci-Goble-Housden-Nelson line-up released two albums before Goble stopped touring with the group in 1989; he left altogether in 1992. Peter Beckett took Goble's place on stage in 1989, and the group also went through a series of keyboard players. Shorrock left again in 1996 and was offered the option to buy out the remaining members (he took a payment instead). Wayne Nelson also left in 1996. Hal Tupea then came in as bassist, and Steve Wade became the new frontman. This lineup lasted until late 1997. At that point, everyone, except Wade, was let go. Derek Pellicci left again in early 1998, leaving Housden as sole owner of the band's name.
Little River Band's performance legacy has been in the hands of Wayne Nelson since 2006, as Housden himself no longer tours with the band. The current version of Little River Band -- Wayne Nelson (lead vocals, bass), Rich Herring (lead guitar), Greg Hind (guitar, vocals), Chris Marion (keyboards, vocals), and Mel Watts (drums, vocals) -- continues to work in the U.S. and performs around 100 shows every year. Three founding members, Birtles, Shorrock and Goble, continue to perform reunion concerts, under the name Birtles Shorrock Goble: The Original Voices of Little River Band.
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This page was last updated on 06/16/2017.