Eagle Rock (song)

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"Eagle Rock"
Single by Daddy Cool
from the album Daddy Who? Daddy Cool
A-side "Eagle Rock"
B-side "Bom Bom"
Released May 1971
January 1981
Format 7" vinyl
12" vinyl
Genre Rock
Length 4:09
Label Sparmac
Wizard
Writer(s) Ross Wilson
Producer(s) Robie Porter
Daddy Cool singles chronology
No previous issue "Eagle Rock"
(1971)
"Come Back Again"
(1971)

"Eagle Rock" is a classic Australian song, released by Daddy Cool in May 1971 on the Sparmac Record Label. It went on to become the best selling Australian single of the year, achieving gold status in eleven weeks, and remaining at #1 on the national charts for a (then) record ten weeks.[1][2] "Eagle Rock" also spent 17 weeks at the #1 spot on the Melbourne Top 40 Singles Chart.[3] The song was re-released by Wizard Records in 1982, and reached #17 on the Australian singles charts.[2]

Guitarist, vocalist and the song's writer Ross Wilson[4] was living and performing in London when he wrote the song.[5][6] He explained his inspiration for the song:

It came from a Sunday Times liftout magazine A-Z on music. In the before blues section there was an evocative photo of rural black Americans dancing in a dirt poor juke joint - the caption was along the lines of "some negroes 'cut the pigeon wing' and 'do the eagle rock'".[7]

—Ross Wilson , 2001

"Eagle Rock" was a popular 1920s black dance performed with the arms outstretched and the body rocking from side to side, 'Doing the eagle rock' is also a metaphor for sexual intercourse.[8]

The accompanying promotional video, directed by Chris Löfvén, was "put together quickly for $300 and shows the band in some old Melbourne haunts including the Dolphin Café in Clarendon St., South Melbourne, St. Kilda's Aussie Burger Bar opposite Luna Park and live shots from the 1971 Myponga Festival held in South Australia."[9]

In May 2001, Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the Best Australian Songs of all time, as decided by a 100 strong industry panel, "Eagle Rock" was declared second behind the Easybeats' "Friday On My Mind".[10]

In 2010 'Eagle Rock' was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.

Song in popular culture[edit]

English performer, Elton John toured Australia during 1972 and was so inspired by Daddy Cool's hit single "Eagle Rock" that, with Bernie Taupin, he wrote "Crocodile Rock".[11] The cover of John's 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, which featured "Crocodile Rock", has a photo of lyricist Taupin wearing a "Daddy Who?" promotional badge. Bernie is also seen wearing "Daddy Cool" memorabilia on albums "Tumbleweed Connection" and "Honky Chateau"

In 1998 Australia Post issued a special edition set of twelve stamps celebrating the early years of Australian Rock ‘n’ Roll, featuring Australian hit songs of the late 50s, the 60s and the early 70s. One of the songs featured in the collection was 'Eagle Rock'.[12]

The song was covered by the Australian children's group The Wiggles on their 2003 tour, with Captain Feathersword singing lead. It appears on the DVD "Live Hot Potatoes."[13]

In 2005, it appeared as backing music on commercials for "Victoria - The Place to Be".[14][15] It was also used in the opening scenes of the 2006 horror movie Wolf Creek,[15] in the 2011 Australian film Red Dog and in the television series Dossa and Joe.

Since the early 1990s "Eagle Rock" has been played at home games for the Sydney based Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles rugby league team and is unofficially the club's theme song. The song was also played to the crowd after Manly's Grand Final wins in 2008 and 2011.[16] Ross Wilson actually performed the song as part of the pre-game entertainment at the 1996 ARL Grand Final in which Manly won their 6th rugby league premiership.

The song is also played at West Coast Eagles games at Subiaco Oval in the Australian Football League[17] and the Eagles' Rick The Rock Eagle mascot character is also named after the song.

The Tradition[edit]

"Eagle Rock" is also notorious in Australia. Since the mid-1980s, when the song is played in a public bar, it is common for Australian students (largely male) to unstrap their belts and hobble around with their pants around their ankles. Members of Daddy Cool have admitted to being perplexed over the origin of this practice.[18]

It is often attributed to a group of mining engineering students, who at the time were residents of St Johns College within the University of Queensland campus. St John's, which claims the title of Queensland's oldest college (shared with another University of Queensland college, Emmanuel), has had the eagle as its mascot since its founding, and as such argues that they began the practice. In "St Leo's, the memory" (1992) by Michael A. Head, the author comments on the heated confrontations that occurred during his time at St Leos college, between the residents of both colleges relating to this issue.[19]

The Clubs and Societies manual for the University of Queensland, has "Founders of the Eagle Rock Tradition" noted with the information for the UQ Mining and Metallurgy Association (MAMA). Whilst it is a somewhat controversial claim, it is a reasonable suggestion with a number of St Johns residents specialising in the mining field during the 1970s.

In 2010, Ross Wilson played at the UQ Union Oktoberfest event and prior to performing the Eagle Rock, thanked "UQ Engineers" for coming up with the tradition. In 2011, in a pre-recorded video message to the attendees of the UQ Engineering Undergraduate Society Ball, he also credited "UQ Engineering Students" as founding the tradition.

The policy of the University of Queensland's Student Union states no individual can be removed from the University pub, the Red Room, for dropping their pants whilst Eagle Rock is being played.

Currently the official song of the UNSW Mining Society.

Music Video[edit]

Frame capture from colourised section of 'Eagle Rock’. NFSA #1105254

The iconic promotional film clip for ‘Eagle Rock’ was shot on 16mm black and white film in 1971 by 23-year-old Melbourne filmmaker Chris Löfvén. It was put together quickly and produced for $300; the clip shows the band in some old Melbourne haunts including the Dolphin Café in Clarendon St., South Melbourne, St. Kilda's Aussie Burger Bar opposite Luna Park and live shots from the 1971 Myponga Festival held in South Australia.[9]

A rarely seen experimental colourised version of the film clip was found and restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) [20] in 2013.

The newly discovered version features a 37-second section using colour filters printed onto colour film stock. This particular print, though never intended for screening, was possibly seen by teenage audiences of 0-10 Network (now Network Ten) pop music program Happening 71 throughout 1971.[21]

Parodies[edit]

Australian comedian and singer/songwriter Kevin Bloody Wilson wrote a parody of this song for his 2009 album Excess All Areas, titled, "Me Beer's Cut Off."

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ross Wilson unless otherwise indicated.[4]

7" vinyl[edit]

  1. "Eagle Rock" - 4:09
  2. "Bom Bom" (Ross Wilson, Ross Hannaford) - 2:33

12" vinyl[edit]

  1. "Eagle Rock - 4:07
  2. "Daddy Rocks Off" - 4:34
  3. "Bom Bom" (Wilson, Hannaford) - 2:34

Personnel[edit]

Daddy Cool members[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

  • Robie Porter — producer
  • Roger Savage — engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 1 Hits 1971". The Menzies Era. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  3. ^ "Off the Record playlist". 3RRR. 17 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-15. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Australasian Performing Right Association". APRA. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  5. ^ "Daddy Cool". Milesago. Retrieved 2008-05-08. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Australian Rock Database entry for Daddy Cool". Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Long Way To The Top: Episode 3 "Billy Killed the Fish 1968-1973"". ABC-TV. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  8. ^ "Blues terms". The Sutton Blues Collective. Archived from the original on 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  9. ^ a b Hollow, Chris (10 October 2000). "Daddy Cool : Ross Wilson Interview". Sand Pebbles fanzine. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  10. ^ "The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs". APRA. 2001-05-28. Archived from the original on 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  11. ^ Creswell, Toby; Samantha Trenoweth (2006). "Ross Wilson". 1001 Australians You Should Know. North Melbourne, Victoria: Pluto Press. p. 242–243. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8. 
  12. ^ "Australian Stamps : Rock Australia". Australia Post. 20 March 2001. Retrieved 2008-05-21. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Live: Hot Potatoes!". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  14. ^ "Australian Music in the Charts & Ads" (PDF). The Music Network. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  15. ^ a b "Now listen, they're steppin' in as rock royalty". The Age. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  16. ^ "The Story of Egor". Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  17. ^ "Auzzie's profile". West Coast Eagles. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  18. ^ "Second Best Is Enough For Father of Cool". TE Online. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  19. ^ Head, Michael Austin (1991). St. Leo's College, the memory : St. Leo's College within the University of Queensland 1917-1992 (doc). St Lucia, Qld. : Leonian Press. ISBN 0-646-05965-3. 
  20. ^ "Eagle Rock" by Daddy Cool, restored colourised film clip on YouTube
  21. ^ Good Old Eagle Rock’s Here to Stay – Restoring an iconic Oz rock film on nfsa.gov.au

External links[edit]