1975 and the Concert for Bangladesh (singer my chiropractor)

Riley Riley

Ayers Rock was an Australian jazz-rock fusion band formed in the 1970s.

With live appearances, coverage in print media and word of mouth, the group became well known despite little radio airplay.

Journalists praised their musicianship, music and live energy.

Signed by Mushroom Records, the band released three albums and a number of singles, including this one: “Lady Montego” (November, 1974)

The original line up in 1973 included Ray Burton (guitar and vocals), Mark Kennedy (drums) and Duncan McGuire (bass), Jimmy Doyle (guitar, vocals) and Col Loughnan (saxophones, flute, piano, percussion, vocals).

Chris ‘Doc” Brown (guitar, vocals) replaced Burton after he left.

Ayers Rock was one of several bands who appeared at the 1975 Australian Concert for Bangladesh held in April at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. 

The concert was organised by Freedom from Hunger and other acts included La De Das, Jim Keays, AC/DC, Phil Manning, Daddy Cool, Hush, Toulouse & Too Tight, The Dingoes and Moir Sisters.

Ayers Rock’s first album, Big Red Rock (November 1974) was recorded before a live audience at Armstrong’s Studios in Melbourne over two nights in September, 1974.

It featured mainstream rock and three longer, instrumental tracks which introduced progressive styles, including jazz fusion.

Label owner Michael Gudinski promoted Ayers Rock in Los Angeles and they were signed by A&M Records.

In fact, they were the first Mushroom Records artists to sign with an international label.

The United States release of Big Red Rock in February, 1975 was followed by a tour there later in the year.

The band played to large crowds, supporting major international artists such as Bachman–Turner Overdrive), performing before crowds of 35,000 people – the first Australian band to perform in large US stadiums.

Ayers Rock was  named 1975 Musicians of the Year on RAMs “New Year’s Honors List”.

Drummer Kennedy left before their second album, Beyond (April 1976, recorded at the Record Plant in Los Angeles), was released.

The album blended a number of music genres and again received a positive critical reception, charting at number 50.

The band toured the US again; Loughnan remained there and Ayers Rock temporarily broke up in August, 1976.

A year later Doyle and Brown recruited members for a new lineup, including Andy Cowan (keyboards and vocals) and Hamish Stuart (drums).

In 1980 they released their third album, Hotspell, on their own Red Rock Records label.

This album had a soft-rock style, with sophisticated arrangements and featured keyboards.

However, it failed to chart and the group disbanded in 1981.

Late-1990s music historians recognised the band’s talent but considered their music over-indulgent at times, failing to bridge the gap between artistic and commercial success.

Duncan Kimball of wrote “that they never really got the chance to reach their full potential.”


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