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About Daddy Cool

Just about the time that Sha Na Na was starting to attract attention from the U.S. press as an oldies revival band, half a world away in Australia, Daddy Cool was going in a similar direction on a very different path. They were organized by Ross Wilson (vocals, guitar) in Melbourne, while the rest of the band consisted of Ross Hunnaford and Ian Winters on guitars, Gary Young and Wayne Duncan (both veterans of the Rondells) on drums and bass, respectively, and Terry Noone on sax and piano. The were highly theatrical and animated, but not in the broad, burlesque manner of Sha Na Na. Daddy Cool was closer to a real-life Ruben & the Jets, with touches of unique, down-under British looniness (weird headgear and propeller beanies) and a highly animated presentation that shook up the Australian concert scene. Initially, Daddy Cool did covers of rock & roll and doo wop standards. Wilson proved an able songwriter, however, and was comfortable writing in a retro-rock & roll style, generating one perennial down-under hit, "Eagle Rock." They cut their first album, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, for Reprise in 1971, and toured the U.S. three times during the year that followed. Reprise backed that album with a heavy promotion that included large ads in Rolling Stone and other, similar publications (something the Easybeats never got), but they never broke through to American audiences. A second album, Sex, Dope and Rock 'n Roll (Reprise), followed in 1972, after which they faded away as a major international presence; a live album came out the same year on the Wizard label before the group split up. The band re-formed in Australia in 1974 with Gunther Gorman and Wayne Burt on guitars, and remained together for another year. Gary Young and Burt later became founding members of Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, for which Ross Wilson served as sometime producer. Daddy Cool's "Eagle Rock" gets reissued every few years and manages to chart once each decade or so in Australia. Daddy Cool's outtakes were compiled into an album in 1980, and their catalog has been repackaged several times for Australian CD reissues in the '90s. ~ Bruce Eder


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