Glenn Shorrock the Adelaide thread from Twilights, Axiom and the Little River Band
Glen Shorrock capped his career with the global success of the Little River Band.
Image courtesy South Australian Music Hall of Fame
Glenn Shorrock was an Adelaide founding member of The Twilights, Axiom, Little River Band and its spinoff trio Birtles Shorrock Goble, and a solo performer.
Shorrock migrated to Adelaide on the Orcades in 1954 when he was 10. His father Harry Shorrock worked at the Weapons Research Establishment in Salisbury. His mother, who couldn’t cope with summer heat and bushfire, took Shorrock and his sister back to England but they returned in 1956 and the family settled in Elizabeth.
Shorrock's first public performance was in 1958 at St Peter's Lutheran hall in Elizabeth when he mimed Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up”. When the record player stopped, he continued singing and realised he had a good voice.
In 1962, Shorrock formed the Checkmates, with Clem McCartney, Mike Sykes and Billy Volraat, that became The Twilights (still with McCartney and Sykes). The harmony group performed in Adelaide cafes and folk clubs, sometimes teaming up with instrumental groups The Vector Men or The Hurricanes. The Twilights then were joined by some members of the Hurricanes and dropped Mike Sykes.
The Twilights with Shorrock and McCartney as lead vocals, Frank Barnard (drums) and John Bywaters (bass guitar) had extra depth with Peter Brideoake (guitar) and Terry Britten (guitar). The result was eight consecutive national hits including covers of the Velvelettes “Needle in a haystack” and the Hollies” “What’s wrong with the way I live?” (recorded at the Abbey Road, London). The band moved to Melbourne in 1965 and disbanded in 1969 and Shorrock formed an early Australian supergroup Axiom. It recorded two acclaimed albums and had three top 10 singles but disbanded in the UK in 1971.
Shorrock stayed in the UK and recorded his own song “Let's get the band together" as a single in 1971 and a cover of “Rock'n'roll lullaby”. As Andre L'Escargot and His Society Syncopaters, he released “Purple umbrella". He joined the multinational progressive rock band Esperanto and performed backing vocals for Cliff Richard.
Also in the UK at the time was Australian rock band Missisippi with Beeb Birtles and Graham Goble, both originally from Adelaide where Birtles was in Down the Line that became Zoot. (Birtles and Goble later formed a trio with Shorrock.)
When Birtles reformed Mississippi as the Little River Band, Shorrock joined it in Melbourne in 1975. It became one of Australia’s most successful bands and the first to achieve major success in the United States. Shorrock wrote the hits “Emma”, “Help is on its way” and “Cool change". In 2001, the Australia Performing Rights Association (APRA) named “Cool change”, as one of the top 30 Australian songs.