Little River Band (LRB) is an Australian rock music band. The band was formed in Melbourne,
and named for the Victorian
township of Little River,
The band’s original members
were Glenn Shorrock
(vocals), Rick Formosa, Beeb Birtles and
(guitars), Roger McLachlan
(bass) and Derek Pellicci
The group evolved from the
harmony-rock group Mississippi
in 1975. Prior to that, Birtles had been the
bassist in 1960s pop band Zoot (which
also included singer-guitarist Rick Springfield) and Shorrock had been the
lead singer of leading Australian 60s pop band The Twilights and
early 1970s country rock band Axiom.
They found immediate success in
but individual members had greater ambitions. Like many other Australasian
groups of the period, both Axiom and Mississippi
had tried to break into the UK record market without success.
Remembering the indifferent reaction they had received in the UK, they decided the new band would focus on
establishing themselves in the United States.
A key factor in their eventual
success was their manager Glenn Wheatley,
who had been the bassist in the highly-regarded Australian rock band The Master’s
Apprentices. Wheatley’s first-hand experiences of the rip-offs
in the 1960s music scene, combined with his subsequent experience working in
music management in Britain
and the United States in the
early 1970s, enabled him to help LRB become the first Australian group
to enjoy sustained commercial and chart success in the United States.
Fuelled by a very successful
Australian hit single “Curiosity Killed The Cat”, the band began making
promotional visits to the US
in 1976. This resulted in a hit single, “It’s
A Long Way There", which broke into the Top 30 and galvanized the
commitment of the band members. More concert performances in the US followed,
and in 1977 “Help is On Its Way” (an Australian
number one single) and “Happy Anniversary” both narrowly missed the US Top Ten.
During this period McLachlan left the group and was replaced by George McArdle.
until 1981, Little River Band achieved six
consecutive US Top Ten singles with “Reminiscing”, “Lady”, “Lonesome Loser”, “Cool
Change”, “The Night Owls” and “Take It Easy On Me”. During their career the
band have sold more than 20 million records and scored thirteen American Top 40
In 1982 Shorrock left to
pursue a solo career. In the US
he failed to make an impression but in Australia he had one substantial
hit, a cover version
of Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover”.
The pressures of success and
constant touring gradually took their toll on LRB and all the original
members gradually left during the Eighties. John Farnham replaced Shorrock in 1982 and the
first single with Farnham, “The Other Guy” reached Number Eleven in the US. Subsequent
singles were only minor hits. In Australia the band continued to be
favorites and songs such as “Down on the Border” and “Playing to Win” were
major hits. Farnham’s popularity in Australia
was increasing at this time, and he left the band to return to his solo career,
achieving huge success in Australia
(he was also managed by Wheatley).
Farnham was replaced by the
returning Shorrock, but he, Birtles and Goble all eventually left the group in
the late Eighties. The band (which now has no original members) is based in America and is
headed up by Wayne Nelson, who joined in 1980, and Stephen Housden, who joined
Little River Band
is considered to be among Australia’s most significant bands.
The original members were inducted into the ARIA
Hall of Fame
at the 18th Annual ARIA Music
Awards of 2004. They also performed “Help is on Its Way” that night.
Birtles, Shorrock and Goble
have also performed a number of reunion concerts, but due to the fact that they
sold their rights to the LRB name when they left the band, they were
forced to appear under the name Birtles Shorrock Goble: The Original Voices
of the Little River Band after the current lineup of the group took legal
action to prevent them from performing simply as Little River Band.
Reminiscing, written by Goble, was
recognized by BMI as one of the most frequently played
songs in the history of American radio, with more than four million plays to
its credit. Lady has also accumulated more than two million plays, and
Goble is the first and only Australian songwriter ever to win four “Million Air”
awards from BMI. According to Albert Goldman's biography, John Lennon named Reminiscing as one
of his favorite songs of all time.