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.

Other related ADELAIDEAZ articles

Gilbert & Sullivan great Dennis Olsen adds his Grainger role in 'Percy and Rose' to favourites

Adelaide-born Dennis Olsen, singer, actor, director and pianist, became one of Australia’s leading “patter” exponents of Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Olsen originally trained for a professional career as a pianist. He decided to become an actor and attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, graduating in 1962. He has appeared with the Old Tote Theatre, the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company. His roles  included The importance of being earnest, The crucible and The Venetian twins. After success with Opera Australia, Olsen briefly joined the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company in London. He returned to Australia in 1971, playing in theatre as well as Gilbert and Sullivan over four decades. He also directed sang Noël Coward songs in cabaret and acted in films (including South Australian Film Corporation’s The Fourth Wish), television and radio. Olsen experienced highs and lows with the South Australian (later State) Theatre Company. He was a desired performer for every director before Jim Sharman arrived in 1982. Sharman rejected all but one of the established local performers for his Lighthouse group. During Sharman's time, a second professional company emerged in Adelaide and Dennis Olsen created a favourite role: Percy Grainger in Percy and Rose.


Bobby Limb, Bruce Gray, Errol Buddle and Dave Dallwitz get jazz start in Adelaide dance halls

Some of South Australia’s best-known jazz musicians – Bobby Limb, Errol Buddle, Bruce Gray’s All-Stars and Dave Dallwitz’s Southern Jazz Group – had their start in the 1940s and 1950s playing on radio and in dance halls. The source of jazz training in the 1930s and 1940s was Adelaide College of Music that presented an annual On Parade show, the first at the Theatre Royal in 1939, always attracting capacity crowds. Dave Dallwitz, a child violinist, was a teacher at the South Australian School of Art who joined, then led, the popular Southern Jazz Group (1945-51.) Bruce Gray, also a child violinist, played fife before moving to clarinet with the Adelaide College of Music Military Band and a jazz quartet with pianist Colin Taylor, Bill Munro and Bob Wright. He worked with Mal Badenoch in 1943 and joined Malcolm Bills’ Dixielanders that became the basis for the Southern Jazz Group. The 1958 Australian Jazz Convention was staged Norwood, when Adelaide had venues like the St Vincent’s Jazz Club where enthusiasts “bopped” to the Black Eagles.

Cheetahs, Tassie devils and lizards among Monarto Zoo’s many breeding successes

Monarto Zoo’s breeding program keep producing highlights, such as the number of giraffes born there reaching the 40s, making it Australasia’s biggest breeder of giraffes. Kesho, from a litter of cheetahs in 2012, has now given birth to two litters. Monarto’s natives keeping team have been part of an Australia-wide effort to save Tasmanian devils from a cancer threat. In a conservation world first, Monarto Zoo successfully bred one of Australia’s rarest species, the pygmy blue-tongue lizard, in 2016.


Hermann Heinecke has major impact as violin teacher and conductor of his Grand Orchestra

August Moritz Hermann Heinicke was brought out from Germany in 1890 as violin teacher at Adelaide College of Music by its founders Gotthold Reimann and Cecil Sharp. Heinecke was acclaimed soon as Adelaide's premier violinist and violin teacher. Daisy Kenny and William Cade were among his pupils. When Adelaide University's Elder Conservatorium of Music opened in 1898, the college closed and Heinicke became an acclaimed senior teacher there. Charles Cawthorne’s Adelaide Orchestra in 1893 became Heinicke's Grand Orchestra, with 45 players. In 1890, Heinicke had proposed a United German Gentlemen's Singing Society. Sixty-four men formed the new Adelaide Liedertafel that Heinicke conducted until World War I. In 1914, with strong anti-German feelings affecting Adelaide, nine university students, who felt that Heinecke “had attempted to affront British sentiment at a public concert”, assaulted him and painted the union jack on his bald head. He resigned from the conservatorium in 1916.

Peter Combe's version of 'Snugglepot & Cuddlepie' attracts 20,000 to Elder Park in 1992 Festival

Peter Combe’s highly successful musical adaptation of May Gibbs’ classic Snugglepot and Cuddlepie played to 20,000 at its first performance in Elder Park in 1992. Produced by the Adelaide Festival of Arts, it was a concert version with the Adelaide Festival Chorus, the Adelaide Girls Choir and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. A production in the Festival Theatre in 1993 featured Ruth Cracknell. As a music teacher at Prince Alfred College junior school in the 1970s, Combe started writing songs and his first operetta – Bows Against the Barons (based on Robin Hood) – for his students. In 1975, he moved to Sydney and appeared in Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club rock musical. In between teaching and performing in pubs/clubs, he wrote a children's musical Frederick WhatsHisName & his TwoLegged Six String Guitar. Another musical was based on Norman Lindsay's The magic pudding. In 1977, Combe went to England where he presented Music Times, a BBC TV educational program, and, back in Australia from 1979, he did ABC radio's Let's Have Music. His Australian-first children's music video, “Toffee Apple”, during children's programming on ABC TV, turned Combe into Australia's first kids' pop star. 

Allan Callaghan pushes wheat production aim from FAQ yield to a global quality standard

Allan Callaghan, principal of Roseworthy Agricultural College from 1932 and later chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, has been described as dragging South Australia’s agriculture “kicking and screaming into the 20th Century”. From the 19th Century, South Australia had sold mainly flour to the world using wheat based on yield. Good and bad quality wheat was lumped together for milling as a FAQ (fair average quality). Soft FAQ wheat suited merchants for milling but Callaghan argued that quality had to be combined with high yield and drought resistance, together with baking quality, for a standard Australia needed to sell wheat to the world. Roseworthy and South Australia’s first full-time wheat breeder Jim Breakwell worked with Callaghan to create this vision. Through the 1940s/1950s, South Australia’s department of chemistry was involved in quality testing (protein analysis, baking tests etc) of Roseworthy’s advanced breeding lines. After Breakwell released his improved quality wheat varieties: Rapier (1939), Scimitar (1941) and Javelin (1942), the Waite institute focussed on disease resistance and the agriculture department divided South Australia into zones with recommended varieties. From 4% in the 1930s, South Australia was producing 51% medium-to-strong wheat in 1952. Callaghan’s dream of segregating better quality wheat from FAQ was finally approved for the 1957-58 season. In 1974, the quality benchmark “Australian Standard White” was introduced. This ensured buyers got grain of certain protein, moisture and other qualties vital to making bread, biscuit or pasta.

Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback