Ross Wilson (musician)

Ross Wilson (musician)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Ross Wilson

Img_capt =
Img_size = 150
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Ross Andrew Wilson
Alias = Ross Noble
Born = birth date and age|1947|11|18
Died =
Origin = Melbourne, Australia
Instrument = Singing, guitar, harmonica
Voice_type =
Genre = Rock and roll, progressive rock
Occupation = Singer, songwriter, producer
Years_active = 1964—present
Label = Sparmac
Associated_acts = The Pink Finks
The Party Machine
Sons of the Vegetal Mother
Daddy Cool
Mondo Rock
Mighty Kong
Urban Legends
URL = []
Notable_instruments =

Ross Wilson (born Ross Andrew Wilsoncite web |url= |title="Eagle Rock" entry at Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-07 ] November 18, 1947 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) is an Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer who is best known for fronting the groups Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock, and for production of albums by Australian band Skyhooks.cite web |url= |title=Ross Wilson interview on "Talking Heads" with Peter Thompson |publisher=ABC |date=2007-07-09 |accessdate=2008-05-15 ] He has also performed solo, and as a judge on celebrity singing TV series "It Takes Two" from 2005.cite web |url= |title=Ross Wilson entry |publisher=IMDb |accessdate=2008-05-13 ] Wilson, was individually inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1989 and again as a member of Daddy Cool in 2006.cite web |url= |title=ARIA presents the 2006 ARIA Hall of Fame |publisher=ARIA |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-05-05 ] [cite web |url= |title=ARIA Awards 2007: About Hall of Fame |publisher=ARIA Awards |accessdate=2008-05-08 ]


Early years

Wilson’s father was an amateur jazz musician and his mother would play classical music on the piano at their home in Hampton, Victoria a suburb of Melbourne. Wilson learnt to sing harmonies with the local Anglican church choir and was selected as a wedding singer. In 1958, at ten and a half years old, he and his brother Bruce Wilson attended their first Rock & Roll show featuring Johnny O’Keefe, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly and the Crickets. A car accident in 1963 caused severe injuries including to his leg, during recovery over subsequent months Wilson took up harmonica playing and would copy from records to develop his playing style.

Wilson began his musical career in 1964 and formed his first band The Pink Finks with thirteen year old Ross Hannaford (guitar and vocals), who would become his long-time musical partner, whilst both were still at school.cite web |url= |title=Daddy Cool |publisher=Milesago |accessdate=2008-05-08 ] cite web |title=Australian Rock Database entry for Daddy Cool |url= |publisher=Magnus Holmgren |accessdate=2008-05-06 ] They released a cover version of "Louie Louie" as a single in 1965 and followed with three more singles.cite web |url= |title=Ross Wilson on "Saturday Night Country" |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation |date=2003-05-28 |accessdate=2008-05-13 ] At about this time he met Patricia (future Pat Wilson) whilst working at the Department of Supply. The Pink Finks was followed by the more progressively oriented The Party Machine (1967-69) still with Hannaford, but included Mike Rudd on bass (later in Spectrum). Remuneration for his earlier car accident was received by 1969, which enabled Wilson to travel to England with Pat, he had been invited by friend Brian Peacock (bass guitar) to join his band Procession. Whilst there, Wilson married Pat, recorded an album "Procession" with the band and wrote the song "Eagle Rock". Wilson returned to Australia later that year and formed Sons of the Vegetal Mother (1969-70), again including Hannaford and Rudd.

1970-1976: Daddy Cool and producing Skyhooks

In 1970 Sons of the Vegetal Mother formed a side-project called Daddy Cool. The original members were Wilson, Hannaford (vocals and guitars), Gary Young (drums, vocals) and Wayne Duncan (bass, vocals), other members that joined, included saxophonist Jeremy Noone and guitarist Ian Winter.

Known for their "good time" image, Daddy Cool's repertoire mixed covers of 1950s R&B and doo-wop classics with original compositions mostly written by Wilson and influenced by the work of Frank Zappa. The band signed to the independent Sparmac label, co-owned by producer and former child prodigy guitarist Robie Porter. Daddy Cool became very popular in Australia and their records also gained a following in the USA and Canada in the early 1970s. They scored a nationwide #1 hit in Australia in mid-1970 with the single "Eagle Rock" and their debut LP, "Daddy Who? Daddy Cool", also reached #1 to set a record as the biggest selling Australian album to that time.cite book |title=Australian Chart Book 1970-1992 |format=doc |last=Kent |first=David |authorlink= David Kent|publisher=Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. |year=1993 |isbn=0-646-11917-6 |accessdate=2008-06-07] The "Eagle Rock" promo was directed by Chris Löfvén who had earlier that year directed the video for Spectrum's single "I'll Be Gone".

After Daddy Cool broke up late in 1972, Wilson and Hannaford formed the shortlived Mighty Kong which included former Spectrum drummer Ray Arnott and Company Caine guitarist Russell Smith. They recorded only one LP, "All I Wanna Do Is Rock" released on Porter's new label Wizard Records, but the band broke up soon after. Whilst performing with Mighty Kong, Wilson was impressed by a fledgling Melbourne band called Skyhooks and signed their main songwriter Greg Mcainsh to his publishing company.

Daddy Cool made a surprise reformation for the January 1974 Sunbury Pop Festival and remained together until late 1975. Also performing at Sunbury in 1974 were Skyhooks and, despite being booed off stage, Wilson recommended the band to Mushroom Records boss Michael Gudinski. In June / July 1974 Wilson took time off Daddy Cool and produced Skyhook's breakthrough debut album "Living in the Seventies", which overtook Daddy Cool's first album to become the biggest-selling Australian LP. He went on to produce their next two albums, "Ego is not a Dirty Word" (1975) and "Straight in a Gay Gay World" (1976), both of which were also successes in Australia.

1976-1991: Mondo Rock and solo

Contractual problems with Porter's Wizard label, to whom Wilson was signed at the time, forced him to wait out the end of his recording contract. He turned to producing records for Skyhooks on Mushroom Records and Company Caine on his own label Oz Records. When his contractual obligations ended, Wilson also scored Chris Löfvén's 1976 film, "Oz", inspired by "The Wizard of Oz" but set in Australia. [imdb|id=0075030|name=Oz (1976)] Wilson performed "Livin' in the Land of Oz" (also released as a single), "The Mood", "Greaseball", "Who's Gonna Love You Tonight" and "Atmospherics", with fellow ex-Daddy Cool members Gary Young and Wayne Burt; he produced the soundtrack which also featured the film's stars Joy Dunstan and Graham Matters singing a track each and two tracks by Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons.cite web |url= |title="Oz" (1976) soundtrack |publisher=IMDb |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] Jo Jo Zep, containing Young and Burt, were also signed to Oz Records and released the single "Beating Around the Bush" from the soundtrack.

In order to promote his single, Wilson formed Mondo Rock:

Mondo Rock went through several incarnations but the best known lineup included bassist Paul Christie (ex-Kevin Borich Express, later in The Party Boys), guitarist and songwriter Eric McCusker, (ex-The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band), drummer John Hackett (ex-Stars) and on keyboards and guitar was James Black. Wilson also produced the band's first single in 1978 "Fugitive Kind" and first album, 1979's "Primal Park" for his own Oz Records label. Greatest singles success was with 1980's "State of the Heart", 1981's "Chemistry" and "Cool World" all from their award-winning second album "Chemistry" released in 1981 on Avenue Records. 1980s teen-idol Rick Springfield recorded "State of the Heart" in 1985, making the U.S Top 40. McCusker had written "State of the Heart" [cite web |url= |title="State of the Heart" at Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-20 ] , co-written "Chemistry" with Christie, [cite web |url= |title="Chemistry" at APRA |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-20 ] and Wilson had written "Cool World". [cite web |url= |title="Cool World" at APRA |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-20 ] Mondo Rock released "Nuovo Mondo" in 1982 which included their track "Touch of Paradise" written by Wilson and Gulliver Smith [cite web |url= |title="Touch of Paradise" APRA |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-18 ] (aka Kevin Smith, ex-Company Caine) this became a 1986 hit when covered by Australian pop singer John Farnham (ex-Little River Band).

In 1983, Wilson wrote a song, "Bop Girl" [cite web |url= |title="Bop Girl" at APRA |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-20 ] for his then wife Pat Wilson aka "Mummy Cool" when writing for "Go-Set" magazine back in 1971-1972. As a single, it featured Ross on backing vocals, and became an Australian #2 hit and even gained recognition internationally. It also had a video directed by Gillian Armstrong, which featured not only Ross, but the actual screen debut of Nicole Kidman.

Mondo Rock released further albums including "The Modern Bop" in 1984, which had their best charting single "Come Said the Boy" (#2 on National singles chart) and "The Modern Bop"; and "Boom Baby Boom" in 1986, "Aliens" (EP) in 1989 and "Why Fight it?" in 1990. The later albums and singles had little chart success. Wilson's most successful solo release was 1989's "Bed of Nails" which reached #25 on the National singles charts. [cite web |url= |title=Ross Wilson - "Bed of Nails" | |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] It was released from his July 1989 solo album "Dark Side of the Man" on WEA.

1990s and beyond

Wilson returned to performing in the late 1990s and he has released two albums of new material plus a two-CD retrospective covering his entire career, including many rare tracks. He has also collaborated with children's group The Wiggles, singing on their re-recording of "Eagle Rock" and playing the part of "King Mondo" in the video "Space Dancing". Wilson has sometimes been misaccredited the role of Captain Feathersword from The Wiggles, however this part is played by Paul Paddick.

Wilson was approached in early 2006 by St Kilda Football Club president Rod Butterss to do a re-write of the St Kilda theme song "When The Saints Go Marching In"

Ross Wilson has appeared as a judge on the Seven Network celebrity reality singing competition "It Takes Two" in both 2006 and 2007 series, and was featured in the ABC interview series "Talking Heads" with Peter Thompson on 9 July 2007.

In 2008, Wilson was invited to Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California to perform the song "Eagle Rock" at the Eagle Rock Music Festival. [cite news|url=|title=Ross Wilson To Perform Eagle Rock For Eagle Rock|last=Cashmere|first=Paul|date=2008-05-09||accessdate=2008-05-14]

Personal life

Wilson has a brother, Bruce Wilson, who designed the logo for the Mojo Label under which The Pink Finks' released "Louie Louie", [cite web |url= |title=The Pink Finks |publisher=Milesago |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] Bruce also design the logo for The Party Machine, and printed their "obscene and seditious" songbook. [cite web |url= |title=The Party Machine |publisher=Milesago |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] Ross Wilson's first wife, Pat Wilson, was a journalist and, briefly, a pop star with "Bop Girl" (written by Wilson)cite web |url= |title="Bop Girl" entry at Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) |publisher=APRA |accessdate=2008-05-07 ] in 1983 and reached #2. On the promo video for "Eagle Rock" a pregnant Pat Wilson is in the front row of the concert footage, their son Daniel was born after "Eagle Rock" reached #1. They were married for twenty years, from 1969 to about 1989. As from 2007, his second wife, Tanya Wilson had been married to Wilson for ten years, from about 1997.


Studio albums with Ross Wilson:

The Pink Finks

* "In Group" (EP) (1965) [In E2558]
* "Louie Louie" (EP) (December 1980) [Raven RV06] - "Louie Louie" / "Back Door Man", "Comin' Home" / "You're Good" / "Rub My Root" / "Something Else" / "Untie Me"

The Party Machine

*"You've All Gotta Go"/"Gentle Art" (7") (1969) EMI/Columbia


* "Procession" (1969)

ons of the Vegetal Mother

* "Garden Party" (EP) (November, 1970) - Only 250 copies were produced

Daddy Cool

* "Daddy Who? Daddy Cool" (July 1971) Sparmac AUS #1
* "Daddy Cool" (EP) (November 1971) Sparmac AUS #12
* "Sex, Dope & Rock'n'Roll: Teenage Heaven" (January 1972) Sparmac AUS #15 aka "Teenage Heaven" (US release)
* "The New Cool" (2006)

Mighty Kong

* "All I Wanna Do" (1973) Wizard
* "Calling All Cats" / "Hard Drugs (Are Bad For You)" (December, 1973) Wizard


as Producer, session musician
* "Living in the Seventies" (1974) AUS #1
* "Ego is not a Dirty Word" (1975) AUS #1
* "Straight in a Gay Gay World" (1976) AUS #2

"Oz" Soundtrack

as Producer, main performer on 7 tracks, session musician on others
*"Oz" (1976)

Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons

as Producer, session musician
* "Don't Waste It!" (1976)
* "Whip It Out" (1977)

Mondo Rock

* "Primal Park" (1979) also produced
* "Chemistry" (1981)
* "Nuovo Mondo" (1982)
* "The Modern Bop" (1984) also co-produced
* "Boom Baby Boom" (1986)
* "Aliens" (EP, 1987)
* "Why Fight It?" (1991)


* "Dark Side of the Man" (1989)
* "Go Bongo Go Wild!" (2001) also co-produced
* "Country and Wilson" (2003) also co-produced
* "Tributary" (2008) Liberation Blue

External links

* [ Ross Wilson official website]
* [ "It Takes Two" official website]


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