Vanda and Young: Inside Australia’s Hit Factory by John Tait (New South Press)


Although The Easybeats were huge in Australia in the ’60s, they’re under-appreciated elsewhere. Here in the U.S. if they’re remembered at all, it’s for their excellent single “Friday On My Mind”, which can still be heard on oldies radio. John Tait’s book focuses on Harry Vanda and George Young, the principle songwriters for The Easybeats – something of an Australian Lennon and McCartney. The duo continued to work together (and apart) once the band broke up, contributing to many successful Australian acts, the most popular of which featured George Young’s younger brothers Malcom and Angus: AC/DC. The book suffers from subjects who were talented professionals, but not the most fascinating people to read about. After 200 pages I don’t feel like I know much about them outside of their professional endeavors. There’s no unique personalities, no social context, no wild stories – nothing but a straightforward retelling of events. Even worse, George Young declined to participate in the book, so there’s only one side of the story being told. Although the small but dedicated group of Easybeats fanatics, who this book was undoubtedly designed for, will love to hear their story; those looking for a more compelling read will be disappointed.

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