Glenn Barrie Shorrock (born 30 June 1944) is an English-born Australian singer-songwriter. He was a founding member of pop groups The Twilights, Axiom, Little River Band, and post LRB spin-off trio Birtles Shorrock Goble, as well as being a solo performer.
The Twilights had eight consecutive national hit singles including "Needle in a Haystack" and "What's Wrong with the Way I Live". Axiom's top 10 hits were "Arkansas Grass", "Little Ray of Sunshine" and "My Baby's Gone". Little River Band had national and international chart success, including the Shorrock-penned "Emma", "Help Is on Its Way" and "Cool Change".
Shorrock was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1991 and as a member of Little River Band in 2004. In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations, named "Cool Change" as one of the APRA Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
Glenn Barrie Shorrock was born on 30 June 1944 in Chatham, Kent, England. His family migrated to Adelaide, South Australia on the Orcades in August 1954 when he was ten. His father, Harry Shorrock was a Yorkshire-born fitter and turner at the Weapons Research Establishment in Salisbury. The 1954–55 summer had days of 42 °C (108 °F) and Black Sunday bushfires ravaged the Adelaide Hills in January 1955. His London-born mother Joyce Shorrock was not impressed with Australia, and she took Shorrock and his younger sister back to UK on the Strathmore, only to return to Australia on the "Fairsea" for a second attempt in 1956. The family settled in Elizabeth, 20 km (12 mi) north of Adelaide.
Shorrock's first public performance took place in 1958 at St Peter's Lutheran church hall in Elizabeth when he mimed to Elvis Presley's recording of "All Shook Up" on a gramophone and strumming on a cardboard guitar. When the record player stopped he was forced to continue singing by himself and realised he had a good voice.
In 1962, Shorrock formed his first band, the Checkmates, with Clem McCartney, Mike Sykes and Billy Volraat. They were a doo wop harmony group covering The Platters and The Crew Cuts material. Sometimes teaming up with instrumental groups The Vector Men or The Hurricanes, The Checkmates performed in Adelaide cafes and folk clubs. As a result of The Beatles' popularity, members of The Checkmates and The Hurricanes merged to form The Twilights in 1964.
|1975||Little River Band|
|1988||Little River Band|
|2002||Birtles Shorrock Goble|
In 1964 Shorrock, with McCartney as co-lead vocalist, formed the Twilights by merging with the Hurricanes' Frank Barnard on drums, Peter Brideoake on guitar, Terry Britten on guitar and John Bywaters on bass guitar. Their debut single, "I'll Be Where You Are", co-written by Shorrock and Britten, was released in June 1965. The band had eight consecutive hit singles, including covers of the Velvelettes' "Needle in a Haystack" and the Hollies' "What's Wrong with the Way I Live" (recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London). With two lead singers, two guitarists and five vocalists, the Twilights performed note-perfect covers of pop-rock songs and were famed for their live prowess. They relocated to Melbourne late in 1965 and were popular with teenage audiences and respected by fellow musicians. In July 1966, they won Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds with the prize including a trip to London. In 1967, shortly after returning from London, the group regularly performed the entire Sgt Pepper's album live in sequence, weeks before it was released in Australia. Shorrock married Sue while he was a member of the Twilights. The Twilights disbanded in January 1969 and Shorrock became band manager for Brisbane pop group the Avengers.
In May 1969 in Melbourne, Shorrock formed an early Australian 'supergroup', Axiom, with Brian Cadd on keyboards and vocals, Don Mudie on lead guitar (both ex-The Groop), Doug Lavery (The Valentines) on drums and Chris Stockley (Cam-Pact) on guitar. They recorded two highly acclaimed albums, Fool's Gold and If Only...; and had three top 10 singles, "Arkansas Grass", "Little Ray of Sunshine" and "My Baby's Gone" on the Go-Set national charts. Axiom travelled to UK but disbanded there in March 1971.
Shorrock remained in the UK to pursue his solo career, he signed with MAM Records and released the self-penned "Let's Get the Band Together" single in October 1971. This was followed by a cover of "Rock'n'Roll Lullaby" (written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) in March 1972. As Andre L'Escargot and His Society Syncopaters, he released "Purple Umbrella" with his backing band being Quartet members Britten, Kevin Peek, Trevor Spencer and Alan Tarney. He joined the multinational progressive rock band Esperanto, which released their debut album Esperanto Rock Orchestra in 1973 with the Shorrock written track "Statue of Liberty". He left Esperanto before their third album was released in 1974 and performed backing vocals for Cliff Richard.
Mississippi was an Australian rock band which was working in UK with Beeb Birtles on vocals and guitar, Graham Goble (later Graeham Goble) on guitar and vocals and Derek Pellicci on drums. They contacted Glenn Wheatley (former bass guitarist for The Masters Apprentices) to become their manager. Birtles, previously in Adelaide band Zoot, called Shorrock to take part in the line up. Shorrock returned to Australia in October 1974 and joined Mississippi in January 1975 in Melbourne. They were soon renamed as Little River Band with the original line up of Birtles, Goble, Pellicci, Shorrock and lead guitarist Ric Formosa and bassist Roger McLachlan. The group went on to become one of the most successful bands ever to come out of Australia, and the first to achieve major commercial success in the United States. For Little River Band, Shorrock wrote the hits "Emma", "Help Is on Its Way" (Australian No. 1) and "Cool Change".
While still a member of Little River Band, Shorrock released a solo single, a cover of Bobby Darin's 1959 hit "Dream Lover" in April 1979 on EMI, which peaked at No. 8 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart. In February 1982, Shorrock left Little River Band and was replaced by John Farnham, who was managed by Wheatley. Shorrock returned to Little River Band in 1988 but, despite several quality albums, they did not regain the earlier stellar recognition. He left again in 1991 leaving the naming rights with guitarist Stephen Housden. In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations, named "Cool Change", as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
In 1982 Shorrock released a solo album Villain of the Peace and a single, "Rock and Roll Soldier" on Capitol Records recorded in Los Angeles with John Boylan (Charlie Daniels, Little River Band) producing. "Rock and Roll Soldier" reached the Australian top 40 in November but he did not achieve the international success attained with Little River Band. Late in 1982 he toured Australia and then teamed with Renée Geyer to release a duet, "Goin' Back" on Mushroom Records in February 1983. One of his backing singers was Wendy Matthews who had been a session singer in Los Angeles. "We're Coming to Get You", which peaked at No. 6 in October, was recorded with folk group, The Bushwackers it was the theme for the film, We're Coming to Get You. He released "Don't Girls Get Lonely?" in November. In 1984, he recorded "Restless" for the documentary World Safari II: The Final Adventure.
In 1985, Shorrock released The First Twenty Years, which was a double-LP album compilation of his career work with tracks by The Twilights, Axiom, Little River Band and solo work. He was compere of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV music series, Rock Arena in 1986 and as a breakfast announcer for radio station Magic 11 in Sydney. His solo single, "American Flyers" appeared in July. He performed on the tour of stage show One for the Money in 1986–87. He appeared in other stage shows including his own showcase productions Go Cat Go (1990–91) and Two Up (1996).
On 25 March 1991, Shorrock was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame, alongside contemporary rocker Billy Thorpe, bass-baritone Peter Dawson and jazz musician Don Burrows. In 1993, he re-joined with Axiom bandmate, Brian Cadd, to record Blazing Salads and three singles for Blue Martin Records, and a subsequent two-year tour. On tour Shorrock played his hit songs, along with those of Axiom accompanied by Cadd and a backing band of Rex Goh on guitar (ex-Air Supply), Kirk Lorange on guitar (Richard Clapton Band) and Mark Kennedy on drums (Spectrum, Ayers Rock, Marcia Hines Band).
Long Way to the Top was a 2001 ABC TV six-part documentary on the history of Australian rock and roll from 1956 to the modern era. Shorrock provided interviews, "In Awe of The Beatles", "Being Pop Stars" and "Coming from the UK", on his early years with The Twilights. Long Way to the Top Tour followed in August–September 2002 with Shorrock appearing with The Twilights in the first set performing "What's Wrong with the Way I Live?" and "Needle in a Haystack"; he returned in the second set with Axiom to perform "Arkansas Grass" and "Little Ray of Sunshine".
In 2002 Shorrock reunited with other Little River Band founders Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble to form Birtles Shorrock Goble. On 17 October 2004, the 1970s members of Little River Band: Birtles, David Briggs, Goble, George McArdle, Derek Pellicci and Shorrock, were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. The later members including fellow Australian, John Farnham, and US-based musicians, were not included in this induction. Due to a 2002 legal ruling on their right to use the band's name they performed "Help Is on the Way" as the Classic Lineup of Little River Band. Birtles Shorrock Goble recorded a successful DVD and CD, Full Circle (2005) and toured until 2007. In August–September, the trio played a medley of Little River Band hits at the Countdown Spectacular 2 concert series.
In 2005 Shorrock also undertook his career-spanning The Reminiscing Tour – Glenn Shorrock & Friends with invited guest singers including Doug Parkinson and Wendy Matthews. In May–June 2006, he partnered actress Judy Nunn on the first season of reality TV singing competition, It Takes Two, they were voted off after week three. His first solo CD for seven years, Meanwhile, which contains acoustic versions of his career hits was released in 2007 on the Liberation Blue label. He performed The Beatles tribute show Let It Be with Parkinson, Sharon O'Neill and Mark Williams.
In 2008 Shorrock toured with the musical Shout! The Legend of the Wild One, based on the life of Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe. In July 2010, Shorrock performed a retrospective of his 45 years in the music industry. Currently Glenn Shorrock continues to tour Australia performing for public and private events in Australia and promotes new local music artists. In early 2013 Glenn and his band were headlining performers in Macau, New York and London for the media launch of the Titanic II project. This was at the personal invitation of Australian entrepreneur Clive Palmer.
In October 2014, Glenn Shorrock was inducted into the South Australian Music Hall Of Fame alongside Bon Scott's former band Fraternity, Chris Finnen and David 'Daisy' Day.
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1972||"Let's Get the Band Together"||—||—||'Non-album single'|
|1972||"Rock and Roll Lullaby"||—||—|
|"Purple Umbrella" (released by Andre L'Escargot and His Society Syncopaters)||—||—|
|1982||"Rock and Roll Soldier"||39||—||Villain of the Peace|
|"Goin' Back" (with Renée Geyer)||—||—||'Non-album single'|
|"We're Coming to Get You" (with The Bushwackers)||6||—||Villain of the Peace|
|"Don't Girls Get Lonely"||75||—|
|1985||"American Flyers"||—||—||The First Twenty Years|
|1993||"When It All Comes Down" (with Brian Cadd)||—||—||Blazing Salads|
|"De-Emphasize" (with Brian Cadd)||—||—|
|"Little Ray of Sunshine" (with Brian Cadd)||—||—|
|2000||"Orchestra of Grunt"||—||—||Spin Me 'Round|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.|
"Don't Girls Get Lonely" peaked at #69 on Billboard's Hot 100 in October 1983.
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