Ian Alexander "Molly" Meldrum AM (born 29 January 1943) is an
Australian popular music critic, journalist, record producer and
musical entrepreneur. He was the talent co-ordinator, on-air
interviewer, and music news presenter on the former popular music
program Countdown (1974–87) and is widely recognised for his
hat, which he has regularly worn in public since the
1980s (it is commonly mistaken for an Akubra). On 15 December 2011,
Meldrum had a life-threatening fall from a ladder in the backyard of
his Melbourne home. He was placed under intensive care in a critical
condition at the Alfred Hospital and had surgery for his head and
spinal injuries. By April 2012 he had recovered enough to give
interviews and resume work duties.
Meldrum has featured on the Australian music scene since the
mid-1960s, first with his writing for
(1966–74), a weekly
teen newspaper, then his tenure with Countdown and subsequent media
contributions. As a record producer he worked on top ten hits for
("The Real Thing", "Part Three into Paper Walls", both
1969), Ronnie Burns ("Smiley", 1970),
("Day by Day",
1971), Supernaut ("I Like It Both Ways", 1976) and The Ferrets ("Don't
Fall in Love", 1977).
Oz for Africa
in July 1985, the Australian leg of Live
Aid. In January of the following year he was appointed a Member of the
Order of Australia, with the citation for "service to the fostering of
international relief and to youth". Meldrum has earned a reputation as
a champion of Australian popular music both in Australia and
internationally; his contributions have been acknowledged with an
Australian Recording Industry Association
(ARIA) Award for "Special
Achievement" in 1993, and the "
Award" in 1994 at the
Australasian Performing Right Association
(APRA) Awards. Music
and Samantha Chenoweth describe him as "The
single most important person in the Australian pop industry for forty
years" in their 2006 book, 1001 Australians You Should Know. In 2014,
Meldrum was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, together with his TV
show, Countdown, he became the first non-artist to receive the
accolade. Earlier that year he published his autobiography, The Never,
Um... Ever Ending Story: Life, Countdown and Everything in Between.
1 Early years
Go-Set years: 1966–74
3 Countdown years: 1974–87
4 After Countdown
5 Personal life
5.1 2011 accident
6 Awards and accolades
9 See also
12 External links
Ian Alexander Meldrum was born in Orbost, Victoria, on 29 January
1943.[A] His father was Robert Meldrum (7 April 1907 – 1978), a
farmer from Caniambo (25 kilometres (16 mi) from Shepparton) and
then a World War 2 army sergeant – who served with the A.I.F. in
Port Moresby – and his mother was Isobel Elizabeth (née Geer)
(1912–1969) from Orbost. The couple married on 17 August 1940,
two months after Robert's enlistment. Meldrum's younger brothers
are Brian (born 1946, Mildura) and Robert (born 1950, Kerang).
Meldrum moved around during childhood and grew up largely with one of
his grandmothers in Quambatook where he attended the local primary
school alongside future country music artist, John Williamson. He
also stayed with a number of aunts and was raised in the
traditions of the Church of England. He developed a musical
interest in Gilbert & Sullivan and Verdi. Meldrum's father
later ran a hardware store in Kyabram. His mother had periodic
hospitalisations for mental illness including some years at Larundel
Mental Asylum, Bundoora in the mid-1960s. In the early 1960s
Meldrum arrived in Melbourne where he briefly attended Taylors
College. Initially intending to become a disc jockey he studied at
a radio school. He would go to
University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne – without
formally enrolling – carrying law books, to eat lunch with the law
students: "I hung around, I wouldn't even say I got into a
Soon after, he had moved in with the family of his close friend,
Ronnie Burns, who became a pop star: first as a member of The Flies
(1964–65) and then as a solo artist.:viii, 24 Meldrum had
followed Burns to the latter's home and asked, "Is there any chance I
could come and live with you and your family?" What had started as
a two-week stay with the Burns family became nine years. During The
Beatles' tour of Australia in June 1964, Meldrum was captured by TV
cameras climbing atop the bonnet of their car shortly after arrival at
Melbourne airport. Later, he and Burns were ejected from The
Beatles' Melbourne concert for being "too
While on a surfing holiday at a Victorian coastal resort in Lorne in
1964, Meldrum befriended Lynne Randell, who became a pop star in the
mid-1960s and later worked as Meldrum's personal assistant in the
1980s.:42 Also in 1964 Meldrum began his music career as a
roadie for his friends' band, The Groop, which had early performances
Go-Set years: 1966–74
Main article: Go-Set
Go-Set was a weekly pop music newspaper started in February 1966 by
Phillip Frazer, Tony Schauble, and their
Monash University mates.
Meldrum started writing for the paper in July that year after
befriending its editor, Frazer.:viii Frazer said "As I
recall it, Ian was sweeping the floor... I said to [Schauble], 'Who's
this guy? Where'd he come from?' and Tony said, 'I dunno, he just came
in and wanted to do something.'" Meldrum's first story was on
Burns, "Ronnie Meets the Barrett Brothers".:22–31 His first
printed interview was with Johnny Young, a singer-songwriter from
Perth. Soon Meldrum was writing a weekly gossip column and regular
feature stories. He continued until the paper folded in August
1974.:22–31 By social networking and building a list of
industry contacts, Meldrum was able to cover many facets of the local
scene; his gossip columns informed not only general readers but also
other musicians and, according to Frazer, they were the major reason
people continued reading Go-Set.
Meldrum's writing style was "freeform ramblings, always in the first
person, and nearly always concerning aspects of the music scene with
which he had been involved." It was during this period that
Meldrum was given his nickname, Molly, by his friend and fellow Go-Set
writer Stan Rofe, a Melbourne radio DJ. Rofe's writing style was more
analytical; he "praised or criticised an aspect of the music industry,
and press[ed] Australian musicians to perform better. [He] was also
critical of Meldrum's performance as a 'journalist' often questioning
his integrity and music values." The nickname, Molly, first
appeared in print in 1968 in Rofe's column.:32–34 While
Go-Set Meldrum became editor and compiler of its monthly
offshoot, Gas, which was aimed at younger teen girls. It was first
published in October 1968 (with a feature on The Monkees) and its last
issue was in March 1971.
The Groop had landed a recording deal with CBS Records. Meldrum
followed them to Melbourne's Armstrong Studios, in late 1966, to
observe the recording process. He learned production and
engineering techniques from studio owner, Bill Armstrong, and in house
engineer-producer, Roger Savage. Meldrum became involved with a
number of artists' releases, including The Masters Apprentices' August
1967 single, "Living in a Child's Dream". Lead singer, Jim
Keays, recalled that Meldrum "had quite an influence on the eventual
outcome" as the unlisted assistant engineer. He produced
Somebody's Image's first three singles, "Heat Wave" (September),
"Hush" (November) and "Hide and Seek" (April 1968). Their best
performed single, "Hush", which peaked at No. 14 on the Go-Set
National Top 40, was a cover version of Billy Joe Royal's track
from earlier in 1967. Besides producing, he was also Somebody's
Image's manager from early 1967 and formed a friendship with lead
singer, Russell Morris.:74–75
Kommotion was a teen-oriented daily TV pop music show, which had
premiered in December 1964 on ATV-0, later Channel Ten. It
included local performers miming to the latest overseas hits and
artists showcasing their own material. In August 1966 its
then-producer, David Joseph, was fired and most of the cast walked out
in support.:22–31 Al Maricic replaced Joseph and Meldrum
reported the change-over for Go-Set.:22–31 Maricic asked
Meldrum to join the show: originally he declined but was convinced
otherwise by Frazer, who reasoned that it would be good for their
circulation.:22–31 Episodes of
Kommotion were directed by Rob
Meldrum's repertoire included miming to Peter and Gordon's "Lady
Godiva", The New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral" and George
Formby's "Why Don't Women Like Me?".:22–31 Fellow mimers
included Grant Rule,
Denise Drysdale and Maggie Stewart—who later
married Burns. Meldrum's stint with
Kommotion ended in January 1967
Actors Equity banned the practice of miming other artists'
work.:22–31 He moved on to another
ATV-0 music show, Uptight,
hosted by Ross D. Wyllie, which was broadcast for four hours on
Saturday mornings with live bands and acts miming their own
From January 1968, Meldrum relocated to London, reporting in
The Groop's efforts to break into the United Kingdom market; he also
wrote about the English rock music scene. While there, Meldrum
extended his networking to international contacts, including meeting
Apple Records executive, Terry Doran, who introduced him to his idols,
Paul McCartney and John Lennon. His writing style in Go-Set
developed a camp form. Meldrum returned to Australia to attend his
mother's funeral in May.
In September, he became the manager and producer of Morris; both had
quit with Somebody's Image.:74–75 Meldrum produced Morris'
first solo single, a Johnny Young-composed song, "The Real
Thing".:74–75 Young had written the song for Meldrum's
friend Burns, but when Meldrum heard Young playing it backstage during
a taping of the TV pop show Uptight, he determined to secure it for
Morris, reportedly going to Young's home that night with a tape
recorder and refusing to leave until Young had taped a demo
version. In collaboration with Armstrong's house engineer John
Sayers, Meldrum radically transformed "The Real Thing" from Young's
original vision of a simple acoustic chamber ballad backed by strings,
into a heavily produced studio masterpiece, extending it to an
unheard-of six minutes in length (with encouragement from Rofe) and
overdubbing the basic track with many additional instruments, vocals
and sound effects. To achieve this, they used the services of his
The Groop as the backing band, with contributions from
vocalist Maureen Elkner, The Groop's lead singer Ronnie Charles,
guitarist Roger Hicks from Zoot—who played the song's distinctive
acoustic guitar intro—and arranger John Farrar.
The single reputedly cost A$10,000—the most expensive ever made in
Australia up to that time—and features one of the earliest uses of
the studio technique, phasing, on an Australian recording. "The
Real Thing", which was released in March 1969, became a national
number-one hit for Morris in mid-year. It is widely acknowledged
as one of the finest Australian pop-rock recordings. In May
Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of
its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named "The Real Thing" as one of
their Top 30 Australian songs of all time. Morris followed
with a second number-one hit, "Part Three into Paper Walls",
with Meldrum producing again. He now encouraged Morris to promote
"The Real Thing" with a tour in the United States but Morris disagreed
and they separated in late 1969.
Meldrum also produced several other hits—including Burns' top ten
single, "Smiley", in December 1969—while continuing to write
Go-Set and a variety of magazines. Meldrum made his first of
many visits to Egypt and by December had travelled on to UK, and
through Doran, began working for
Apple Corps as a publicist, which
enabled him to score a scoop interview with Lennon and Yoko Ono, in
which Lennon first revealed publicly that
The Beatles were breaking
up. Meldrum left UK in 1970 to travel to the US, reporting on
the Los Angeles and New York music scenes and further establishing his
After returning to Australia in late 1970, Meldrum continued writing
for the music press, including
Go-Set as well as venturing back onto
TV as a music reporter on Happening '70 (previously titled, Uptight),
hosted by Wyllie, on ATV-0; then a short-lived TV children's show, Do
It; followed by Anything Can Happen on Channel Seven where he met
producer, Michael Shrimpton and reunited with Weekes from his
Kommotion days. In October and November 1971, Elton John
toured Australia for the first time and all concerts were exclusively
Go-Set — Meldrum had briefly met John in London and they
formed an enduring friendship by the end of that tour. By
September 1972 Meldrum was assistant editor for
Go-Set working with
its national editor, Ed Nimmervoll, who had started at the paper in
Meldrum [was] a socialite whose weekly column was a diary of his
social life. Musicians reading the 'Meldrum' column would know whom he
had seen, and what their status as a musician was.
— Ed Nimmervoll, 1998, quoted in Kent, David Martin (September
2002), p. 141.
In 1972 Meldrum produced the soundtrack for
Godspell – Original
Australian Cast (see
Godspell for original Broadway 1971 version)
including the hit single, "Day by Day" for Colleen Hewett. He
Go-Set until its last issue on 24 August 1974. Most
of his work was typed up by his then-secretary, Glenys Long, with
Meldrum pacing the office as he dictated — sometimes typewriters
were thrown or a person was shoved inside a filing cabinet. After
Go-Set, Meldrum wrote columns for Listener-In TV and then
TV Week as
their rock music reporter.
Countdown years: 1974–87
Main article: Countdown (Australian TV series)
In 1974 Shrimpton and Weekes were meeting at the Botanical Hotel in
South Yarra, formulating the concept for a new weekly TV pop music
show aimed at the teenage market and decided they needed a talent
scout; Meldrum walked in – to go to the bottle shop for a Scotch
whiskey – and was given the job. The trio approached the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with their idea based on
the British show
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops and on Kommotion.
Countdown premiered on 8 November, with Meldrum as the show's talent
coordinator. He did not originally appear in the series, which had
a different guest host each week.
Shrimpton decided an editorial was needed, so Meldrum provided a
weekly Rock Report from mid-1975 which was renamed "Humdrum" by guest
host, John Paul Young, and by year's end he had become the face of the
series. "Humdrum" saw Meldrum provide a visual form to his
Go-Set gossip column, he would interview celebrities, detail events
and new releases for the week. Joining Shrimpton and Weekes as a
producer was Rule, also from Kommotion. Australian
musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described Meldrum's "Humdrum" as "a riot
of non sequiturs and unjustified hyperbole. In between all the 'ums'
and 'ahs', occasionally
Molly managed to tell the viewers about a good
album he had just heard".
Countdown was originally broadcast weekly, at 6:30pm on Friday
evenings for 25 minutes. Contributing to its success was the
move in January 1975 to a 6pm Sunday time-slot and extending to
60 minutes. Its reach was improved by a mid-afternoon
Saturday time-slot to repeat the previous week's show. Countdown
soon became the most successful and popular TV music program ever made
in Australia, which exerted a dramatic influence on the local music
scene over the next decade. The advent of colour TV in
March 1975 coincided with a major shift in the direction of local
popular music and was vital in the national success for artists such
as Skyhooks and Sherbet. Countdown benefited from the
emergence of the music video genre: it popularised promotional videos,
which were previously a minor part of pop shows. Its use of
film-clips, by both established and developing overseas acts (which
rarely toured Australia), made Countdown an important venue for
breaking new songs and new artists.
Meldrum produced the debut self-titled album for Supernaut in May 1976
and its related hit single, "I Like It Both Ways". He also
promoted The Ferrets; he had them signed to
Mushroom Records and
started producing their debut album, Dreams of a Love, on 19 July
1976. After nearly a year, production was incomplete, so The
Ferrets took over (assisted by audio engineers,
Tony Cohen and Ian
MacKenzie) and finalised it on 15 August 1977 – Meldrum was
attributed as Willie Everfinish.:86 For its lead single he
wanted the A-side as "Lies", taking weeks to produce it, and his
preferred B-side, "Don't Fall in Love", was rushed in three hours.
When The Ferrets premiered on Countdown, they used "Don't Fall in
Love" instead, which reached No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music
Report Singles Chart. Many customers wanted a copy of The Ferrets'
album, however, there was concern at Mushroom as Meldrum had not yet
organised its cover: a white, hand-stamped cardboard sleeve was issued
with a promise of the artwork to follow.
The series gave early exposure to, and generated breakthrough
Australian hits for, international artists including ABBA, Meat Loaf,
Blondie, Boz Scaggs, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Michael Jackson;
sometimes years before they became international stars.
Meldrum made overseas trips and formed friendships with many artists,
enabling Countdown to gain international exclusives. His on-screen
performances were sometimes criticised for rambling and
incomprehensible commentaries or interview questions. When
providing an album review he would often hold the album awkwardly in
front of the cameras with lights glaring off its surface making it
difficult to see. In an early "Humdrum" segment, Meldrum told viewers
to "Go out and buy it" when reviewing an album. Shrimpton was furious,
since ABC policy prohibited direct endorsements, so "do yourself a
favour" became Meldrum's standard recommendation.:137 Other
catchphrases that he added to the vernacular are "So watch out for
that one", "So there you go!" and "A good mate of mine".
In October 1977
Rod Stewart started his Foot Loose & Fancy Free
Tour through the US. In New York the press corps were waiting for
comments, Stewart was granting very few interviews – he recognised
Meldrum and called him over for a "ten-minute grab [which] turned into
an hour and a bit.":33 After Meldrum had run out he was "being fed
questions to ask Rod by the rest of the world's music press.":33
In July 1978 Michelle Morris of
The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times described Meldrum
as "sometimes outrageous, accident-prone and stumbling ... [who] has
become an authority in the industry and often a promotional clip has
only to be played on Countdown for a record to take off in the
In the early 1980s,
Midnight Oil were scheduled to appear on an
episode of Countdown, but on the day of the show they were "bumped"
from the line-up. Countdown required artists to mime their songs
during 'live' performances,
Midnight Oil and manager Gary
Morris insisted they perform completely live and have their sound
engineer supervising—neither side backed down. According to
Shrimpton, the band had arrived late for a rehearsal, due to its very
tight schedule and budget there was a strict policy that latecomers
were not allowed to appear,
Midnight Oil were told they could not
perform that day. In response, the group declared that they would
never appear on the show, a promise they faithfully kept.
Lynne Randell, a friend of Meldrum's since her teenage years, and a
local singing star of the 1960s, had returned to Australia from the UK
in 1980 after her marriage had failed, and she became Meldrum's
personal assistant until 1986. On 13 April 1980, the TV
Week-Countdown Rock Music Awards for 1979 were broadcast as a revamped
version of the previously existing
TV Week King of Pop Awards with the
'King of Pop' title replaced by 'Most Popular Male' and 'Queen of Pop'
replaced by 'Most Popular Female'. Countdown, with
Meldrum organising the ceremonies,:228–229 presented music
awards during 1980 to 1987. Initially they were held in
conjunction with TV Week, they were a combination of popular-voted
and peer-voted awards.
In August 1980 Gregg Flynn of
The Australian Women's Weekly was on set
during the taping of an episode which featured INXS,
Doc Neeson (The
Daryl Braithwaite (ex-Sherbet) and Toy Love. Flynn felt
that Meldrum "appeared decidedly more healthy than some of his guest
bands who looked as if anorexia nervosa was one of the side effects of
guitar strumming." His appointment to the show had had "TV critics
whipping themselves into a lather of hysterical accusations that the
coiffured host was at best a cruel joke and at worst a danger ...
[with his] mangled monologues as being detrimental to young people's
The following year, on 16 March 1981, Meldrum co-hosted the 1980
awards ceremony with international guests
Suzi Quatro and Jermaine
Jackson. Big winners were
Cold Chisel with seven awards, which
were not collected; the group performed the last live number, "My Turn
to Cry", to close the show and then trashed their instruments and the
set. The performance was seen as being directed at TV
Week, Countdown, and Meldrum as being hangers-on. McFarlane felt
the set trashing was a "protest against the show's vacuous
TV Week withdrew their support for the awards
and Countdown held its own ceremonies thereafter.
In February 1985, after Meldrum was announced as King of Moomba, he
quipped "I was at the cricket the other day and the boys in Bay 13 at
the Melbourne Cricket Ground were all yelling out 'Moomba' and 'hail
the king'... not to mention a few 'hail the queen'". On 13
July Meldrum compèred the 1985
Oz for Africa concert — the
Australian leg of the global
Live Aid program running for four hours
— which was broadcast in Australia on both the
Seven Network and
Nine Network and on MTV in the US. During December he used his
industry contacts to organise a charity single for research on fairy
penguins, he produced the recording of a cover of Lennon, Ono &
Plastic Ono Band's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by The Incredible
Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo), Brian Canham (Pseudo
Echo), Scott Carne (Kids in the Kitchen), John Farnham, Venetta
Fields, Bob Geldof,
Steve Gilpin (ex-Mi-Sex),
Colin Hay (Men at Work),
Hewett, Keays (ex-The Masters Apprentices),
Brian Mannix (Uncanny
Wendy Stapleton (Wendy & the Rocketts) and Chris Stockley
(ex-Axiom, The Dingoes).
In 1986, Shrimpton, Rule and Meldrum created another series, The
Meldrum Tapes, for ABC with an international or local artist
interviewed in depth for 55 minutes — eventually 24 shows
were made — which were later broadcast by MTV. Meldrum was
noted for several on-screen gaffes, although the most "famous" of all
was not originally broadcast. In a much retold incident, a clearly
anxious Meldrum gushed during an interview on 13 November 1977, with
Prince Charles, "I saw your mum in London in a carriage!" to which the
Prince replied, "Are you referring to Her Majesty the
Queen?":135–136 Although this incident is often related by
Meldrum in interviews, it was not broadcast until later, as an
Despite some episodes of ineptitude, Meldrum became a major star in
his own right and was a champion of local talent and regularly used
the show to pressure radio stations to play more Australian music.
McFarlane noted that alongside his bumbling, "
Molly was a music
fanatic, totally committed to, and passionate about, his work.
Ultimately it was his drive that helped make Countdown so
popular". As a result of his efforts, the show was able to make
overnight hits of songs and performers it featured, and through the
late 1970s and early 1980s it was a key factor in determining the
direction of Australian popular music. By the mid-1980s its influence
was waning, in part due to numerous other music video shows on
The final episode of Countdown aired on 19 July 1987, followed by the
1986 Countdown Awards. Meldrum appeared at the end of the show
wearing his cowboy hat. He saluted the music industry and fans, then
bared his shaved head in imitation of Midnight Oil's
Peter Garrett and
expressed regret that they had never appeared on the
show.:137 Dave Warner, musician and writer, described
Meldrum's impact "[he] was loved, loathed, reviled, respected, but
above all, watched... You simply couldn't ignore [him] nor could the
Australian music industry.":132
In November 1998
Brian Mannix (ex-Uncanny X-Men) wrote and directed a
stage play, Countdown: The Musical Comedy, with Meldrum portrayed by
Michael Veitch. McFarlane observed "[it] was a loving and funny
tribute to the Countdown era. It may have been shameless nostalgia,
but with Veitch perfectly cast as
Molly it was a hell of a lot of
fun". It toured Australia through 1998 to 1999 and, in 2009, was
revamped as Can't Believe It's not Countdown – It's a Musical
Comedy. Meldrum also appeared on the tribute show, Countdown: Do
Yourself a Favour, celebrating its 40th anniversary, which was
broadcast by ABC in November 2014.
In 1986 Meldrum and Amanda Pelman,
Mushroom Records executive, had
formed the Body Beat label and, two years later, Melodian Records,
both under the Mushroom umbrella. Body Beat issued electronic and
disco music locally for international artists including Joyce Sims,
Hanson & Davis, Joy Peters, and Mozzart (aka Paul Lander).
Indecent Obsession (1988–93), which issued their
debut single, "Say Goodbye" in May 1989 – it peaked at No. 6 on
the ARIA Singles Chart. Other Melodian artists were Roxus
Jo Beth Taylor (1990–93) and Peter Andre
(1990–97).:161 Andre had been a contestant on New Faces
in July 1990 when Meldrum was judging the TV talent show, he told TV
Week that "Peter impressed us all and he has a unique voice that can
be developed". Andre's highest charting single with Melodian was
"Gimme Little Sign" (December 1992) – a cover version of Brenton
Wood's 1967 original – which peaked at No. 3 in April of the
From 1988 Meldrum presented a regular music segment, "Molly's
Melodrama", on the TV variety show,
Hey Hey It's Saturday
Hey Hey It's Saturday – it was
the successor to his earlier "Humdrum" editorials on
Countdown. He travelled extensively, conducting interviews
for his segment; including a set of one-on-one interviews with each
member of The Rolling Stones.
In March at the
ARIA Music Awards
ARIA Music Awards of 1988 Meldrum was a presenter.
A fracas developed between band manager, Gary Morris, accepting awards
for Midnight Oil, and Meldrum.:228–229 Morris felt that foreign
artists such as
Bryan Ferry should not present awards to local artists
and made fun of Ferry's deliberately crumpled suit.:228–229
Meldrum objected to Morris' disrespect to Ferry and he and Morris
became embroiled.:228–229 At the 1991 ceremony Morris
provided a 20-minute acceptance speech on behalf of Midnight Oil:
Meldrum disapproved of its length in the media. However, in 1993, when
Meldrum received his ARIA
Special Achievement Award for services to
the music industry he provided one of the longest acceptance speeches
in the ceremony's history.:228–229
A televised roast, in 2003, for the openly gay Meldrum, Molly: Toasted
and Roasted, was characterised by the recipient as a "gay bashing" due
to its excessive homophobic slurs. Footy Show star
Sam Newman received
boos from the audience during his speech. Meldrum became a judge
on 2004's Popstars Live, a reality talent quest program on Channel
Seven, alongside fellow judges,
Christine Anu and John Paul Young.
Meldrum's trademark cowboy hat headwear, enthusiasm for popular music,
and sometimes incoherent interviewing style remain well known. By
Egypt over 30 times since 1969, he has become an amateur
Egyptologist and collector. That his extensive general knowledge
extended beyond popular music was less well-known until, as a
contestant on a celebrity edition Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, he
won $500,000 for a charity, the equal biggest win on the Australian
version of the program until October 2005, although he only got the
$500,000 by phoning a friend,
Red Symons of Skyhooks fame. He appeared
on the fourth series of the Australian version of Dancing with the
Stars in 2006, where he dressed as a pharaoh to dance to "Walk Like an
Egyptian" by The Bangles—he was voted off after the first round.
He was also on an episode of Deal or No Deal (Dancing with the Deals)
on 13 February 2006.
Meldrum at Acer Arena, ARIA Awards, 2009
In September 2006, Meldrum's interview with Prince Charles on
Countdown was listed at No. 41 in TV Week's 'Top 50 most
memorable moments on Australian television' list. He made cameo
appearances in Remembering Nigel (2007) and Ricky! the movie (2010).
Meldrum is listed as co-author of Jenkin's 2007 book,
presents 50 years of rock in Australia, where he provided comments on
various Australian rock acts from 1958 to 2007.:ii During
September and October 2009, Meldrum appeared in Hey Hey Its Saturday
reunion specials on the
Nine Network despite working for the rival
In early December, Meldrum interviewed UK singer and Britain's Got
Talent runner-up, Susan Boyle. After signing with Seven to
continue on Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise and Sunday Night he was
unavailable for the 2010 season of Hey Hey It's Saturday. In
February, Meldrum was appointed King of
Moomba – his second
appointment – with
Kate Ceberano as Queen of Moomba. Since 2010
Meldrum has been a regular guest on Steve Vizard's daily radio show,
commenting on sport, music, travel and current affairs.
In late November 2011, at the ARIA Awards, Meldrum introduced Prime
Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, who inducted pop singer, Kylie
Minogue, into the ARIA Hall of Fame. After the induction,
Meldrum interviewed Minogue for MTV Australia.
On 15 April 2012, at the annual Logie Awards, Meldrum was inducted
into the Logie's hall of fame. In a recorded segment Elton John
described him as having done more for the Australian music industry
than anyone else. On 26 November 2014, Meldrum was inducted
into the ARIA Hall of Fame, together with Countdown, by Marcia Hines
John Paul Young
John Paul Young – Meldrum became the first non-artist to receive
the accolade. He also became the second person to be inducted in
both the Logie and ARIA Halls of Fame.
On 7 February 2016 the first part of a television series called
'Molly' aired on Australian television. It featured flashbacks of
Molly's life and some actual footage of videos seen on Countdown.
Molly was played by Samuel Johnson. The unaired footage from his
interview with Prince Charles showed Johnson as
Molly but actual
footage of Prince Charles himself. Part two of the miniseries aired on
14 February 2016. The final scene was a very moving salute to
he returns to public life after a lengthy hospital stay. Actual
Molly himself receiving a standing ovation as he walks out
with the aid of a walking stick ends the series.
Meldrum has an adult adopted son, Morgan Scholes, who lives in China
with his partner, Crystal Scholes, and the couple's child, Meldrum's
grandchild. Meldrum's younger brother Brian is a former racing
and golf journalist and editor. His youngest brother Robert is
an actor, director and teacher.:168 Although one of the first
openly gay TV stars in Australia, he has said, "I had girlfriends.
I was engaged a few times." In September 1976 his home in South
Yarra was broken into; the thieves "stole sound equipment valued at
$14,000." Shortly before 8pm on 11 October 1984, while Meldrum was
in London to tape interviews with David Bowie, Boy George, and Billy
Idol, a fire broke out in a hallway closet at his Richmond residence.
The fire spread to the sitting-room, kitchen, and bedroom, with the
'Egyptian room' suffering moderate water and smoke damage. Meldrum's
manager Ray Evans said that his personal record collection and an
autographed photo of the Beatles were lucky to have survived the
Since 1986, he has lived in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond in an
Egyptian-themed house called "Luxor". According to The Age's Nick
Miller, the Nine Network's 2003 celebrity roast, Molly: Toasted and
Roasted, was unnecessarily focused on his sexuality. Meldrum was sorry
when his family and friends were embarrassed by the poor taste of some
comments. However, he replied, "Like a lot of people, I am proud to be
gay ... I'm not upset. If Channel Nine want to do gay bashing, so be
it." As of December 2011, Meldrum's partner of six years is Yan
Wongngam who runs a courier business in Thailand.
Meldrum is a prominent supporter of the
St Kilda Football Club
St Kilda Football Club in the
Australian Football League
Australian Football League (AFL) and the
Melbourne Storm in the
National Rugby League
National Rugby League (NRL). Storm players continued their 2009 NRL
Grand Final victory celebrations at his house in October that
year. According to
Google Books and Angus & Robertson, Meldrum
co-wrote an autobiography, Some of My Best Friends Aren't: The Molly
Meldrum Story with journalist, Jeff Jenkins, in 2000, which was
Random House Australia. However, The Age
reported on 4 June 2007 that the book had still not appeared. In
2014 he finally published his autobiography, The Never, Um... Ever
Ending Story: Life, Countdown and Everything in Between, co-written
with Jeff Jenkins. This was followed up by a second book in 2016
titled Ah Well, Nobody's Perfect: The Untold Stories also co-written
Meldrum, September 2011, prior to his accident.
On 15 December 2011, Meldrum was taken to the Alfred Hospital in a
critical condition after being found unconscious in the backyard of
his home in Richmond. He is believed to have fallen off a ladder from
a height of around three metres. He was placed under intensive
care in a sedated state and had surgery for his head injuries. As
well as the head injuries, Meldrum had a broken shoulder, broken ribs,
a punctured lung and cracked vertebrae. Meldrum had been with
Steve Vizard on radio discussing the importance of health on the
morning of the accident. By 27 December, further surgery to
his chest injuries had occurred and his sedation levels were reduced.
His brother said Meldrum had "spoken some words but they have no
On 8 January 2012, his brother Brian said Meldrum was breathing on his
own and having conversations, but added his recovery would be
slow. On 19 January Meldrum was taken out of hospital and moved
into a rehabilitation centre. In April he gave his first public
interview since the accident. A few months after the accident in
2012, Meldrum interviewed British pop singer
Elton John and American
pop singer Katy Perry.
Awards and accolades
Australia Day (26 January) 1986, Meldrum was made a Member of the
Order of Australia, with a citation for "service to the fostering of
international relief and to youth". At the
ARIA Music Awards
ARIA Music Awards of
1993, he received a
Special Achievement Award to acknowledge his
contributions to popular music. In 1994 at the Australasian
Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards he obtained the Ted Albert
Award (named in honour of Ted Albert). Music journalists, Toby
Creswell and Samantha Chenoweth describe Meldrum as "The single most
important person in the Australian pop industry for forty years" in
their 2006 book, 1001 Australians You Should Know. In November
2014, he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, together with his TV
show, Countdown, he became the first non-artist to receive the
Meldrum, Ian (1981).
Molly Meldrum's Rock Blast. Sydney, NSW: Summit
Books. ISBN 978-0-7271-0522-6.
Meldrum, Ian; Jenkins, Jeff (2000). Some of My Best Friends Aren't:
Molly Meldrum Story. Random House.
ISBN 978-0-09-183997-0.  Note: As of 4 June 2007,
the existence of this book is disputed.
Meldrum, Ian; Jenkins, Jeff (2006). Classic hits music trivia
challenge (DVD)format= requires url= (help). North Melbourne, Vic:
Force Entertainment. ISBN 978-1-921203-01-5.
Jenkins, Jeff; Meldrum, Ian (2007).
Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of
rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing.
Meldrum, Ian; Jenkins, Jeff (2014). The never, um, ever ending story:
life, countdown and everything in between. Farnham, John (preface);
Gudinski, Michael (introduction); Masterson, Lawrie (afterword). Crows
Nest NSW Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-76011-205-9.
Meldrum's production work:
The Masters Apprentices ("Living in a Child's Dream", 1967) (audio
Somebody's Image ("Heat Wave", September 1967; "Hush", November; "Hide
and Seek", April 1968)
Russell Morris ("The Real Thing", "Part Three into Paper Walls", both
Ronnie Burns ("Smiley", 1970)
Colleen Hewett ("Day by Day", 1972)
Various Artists (
Godspell – Original Australian Cast, 1972)
Supernaut ("I Like It Both Ways", 1976)
The Ferrets ("Don't Fall in Love", Dreams of a Love, 1977) Meldrum is
listed as Willie Everfinish.
Cheetah ("Walking in the Rain", 1978)
The Incredible Penguins and various artists ("Happy Xmas (War Is
Molly: Do Yourself a Favour (2015)
^For name as Ian Alexander Meldrum, date of birth, place of birth and
parents' names, see "Births". For name as Ian
Molly Meldrum and
birth date, see Cashmere. For name as Ian "Molly" Meldrum, for
Orbost as place of birth, see Eliezer. (Note: this source incorrectly
cites year of birth as 1946 and places Orbost in Victoria's
Eliezer, Christie (2007). "There's a meaning there but the meaning
there...". High Voltage Rock 'n' Roll. Sydney, NSW: Omnibus Press.
ISBN 978-1-921029-26-4. Archived from the original on 21
September 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011. Note: [on-line]
version is an excerpt from "Chapter 2: There's a meaning there but the
McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian
Rock and Pop. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.
ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004.
Retrieved 4 December 2014. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has
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(preface); Gudinski, Michael (introduction); Masterson, Lawrie
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Ian "Molly" Meldrum on IMDb
Go-Set staff member Ian 'Molly' Meldrum", interviewed by James
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program,
Go-Set Radio Series (2001), episode 3.
Ian (Molly) Meldrum, Prahran, 1978 photograph by Rennie Ellis, part of
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housed at the National Library of Australia