Australia

Tributes after Steve Wright of Australian 60s band Easybeats, dies

Guitarists Harry Vanda and George Young, singer "Little Stevie Wright", bassist Dick Dimonde and drummer Gordon Fleet, posing outside for a picture in 1966 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Steve Wright, front, with the Easybeats

Australians are paying tribute to Steve Wright, widely regarded as Australia's first international pop star, after he died aged 68.

He became a superstar at the age of sixteen, as lead singer of iconic 1960s rock band The Easybeats.

Their song, Friday On My Mind, became a global hit and was voted the best Australian song ever in a 2001 poll.

The group broke up after five years, but their music was later covered by David Bowie, INXS and many others.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The band attracted a Beatles-style fandom, dubbed "Easyfever"

Ordinary Australians as well as high profile figures in the music industry have been posting their memories of Wright on social media.

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Image copyright @MikeCookinJapan

From 'Ten Pound Pom' to international star

  • He was born in Leeds, in the UK, in 1947.
  • He came to Australia as a child, with his family, as "Ten Pound Poms" - a popular scheme in which Britons were given a nominal sum to start a new life "down under".
  • The band formed after he met lead guitarist Harry Vanda and rhythm guitarist George Young, who were both living at a nearby migrant hostel in western Sydney.
  • Friday On My Mind became a top ten hit in the UK, Germany, France and Italy, and reached number one in Australia.
  • Wedding Ring, She's So Fine and Sorry, among others, also sold well domestically, though none replicated the success of Friday On My Mind abroad.
  • After the group disbanded in 1969 Steve Wright went on to a solo career, pairing up with Harry Vanda, with whom he also worked as a house songwriter for Albert Productions.
  • His final performance was at a concert at Byron Bay in 2009.

Battling drug and alcohol addiction, he underwent electric shock treatments and "deep sleep therapy" - medically induced comas - in the 1970s, that left him with long-term after-effects.

The Sydney private hospital that treated him was later the subject of a Royal Commission after dozens of patients died.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alongside The Easybeats and other artists, he was inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame in 2005

He passed away in hospital on Sunday night.

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