Purple Hearts (Australian band)

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The Purple Hearts were an Australian rock group, formed in Brisbane in 1964. The band consisted of lead vocalist Mick Hadley, lead guitarist Barry Lyde (known as Lobby Loyde), rhythm guitarist Fred Pickard, bassist Bob Dames, and drummers Adrian 'Red' Redmond (1964–66) and Tony Cahill (1966-67).

It is notable that Brisbane, traditionally the most conservative of Australia's state capitals, has fostered some of this country's most anarchistic rock bands from The Purple Hearts to The Saints. The Purple Hearts were tough, arrogant and pioneering and Lobby Loyde is widely acknowledged as Australia’s first true rock guitar hero – busy blowing up speaker boxes before high volume and feed-back became rock staples.

Although they were part of the Sunshine Records stable (which included Australia's top male teen idol Normie Rowe) The Purple Hearts were uncompromising in their attitude toward recording. Consequently, their handful of singles are enduring artifacts of their unique style, which blended blues, R&B and prototype psychedelic rock, a style made even tougher by the regional influence mentioned earlier. Even their name, taken from the well-known slang term for a variety of amphetamine pop pills much favoured by mod subculture, was a brash and outrageous gesture.

Hadley, Dames and Pickard were, like so many of Australia’s rock stars, English migrants. Upon arrival in 1963 they joined forces with two other young R & B sympathisers – Lyde and Adrian Redmond – to form the Purple Hearts. Redmond was subsequently replaced by Tony Cahill, who was later chosen as Snowy Fleet’s replacement in The Easybeats.

Early in 1966 the group moved base to Melbourne, where they enjoyed minor chart success with "Early In The Morning". They quickly became a prominent part of the city's thriving pop scene and made several appearances on Australia's leading pop TV series The Go!! Show. A year later they exited with suave by issuing a press release stating that they had ceased to progress musically, were becoming stagnant and, therefore, had no reason to continue.

Following the split of The Hearts, Hadley spent several months in the UK. There he was contacted by Go-Set journalist Lily Brett, who invited him to join Rob Lovett (ex The Loved Ones) and Malcolm McGee (ex Python Lee Jackson) in The Virgil Brothers, a male soul vocal trio, modelled on The Walker Brothers. Hadley was only involved for a brief period and dropped out of the group after a few rehearsals, before the group made its live debut in mid-1967, and he was replaced in the group by 18-year-old vocalist Peter Doyle, who subsequently became a member of The New Seekers.

Following his departure from The Virgil Brothers, Hadley reunited with Dames and kept the Hearts tradition alive by forming The Coloured Balls, while Loyde revitalised a traditional jazz band known as The Wild Cherries, played a pivotal role in Billy Thorpe's transformation from clean-cut 1960s pop idol into archetypal long-haired, guitar-wielding 1970s hard rock icon. Loyde later led a reformed version of The Coloured Balls and became a noted producer.

Discography[edit]

Compilation Albums[edit]

  • The Purple Hearts (2005)
  • Benzedrine Beat! (2006)

Extended Plays[edit]

  • The Sound of the Purple Hearts (1966)
  • The Purple Hearts (1979)

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
AUS
1965 "Long Legged Baby" 89
1966 "Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones" 58
"Early In The Morning" 33
1967 "You Can't Sit Down" 74
"Chicago" -

See also[edit]

External links[edit]