||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2008)|
Russell Morris on tour in September 2007
|Birth name||Russell Norman Morris|
31 July 1948 |
|Occupations||musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist|
|Associated acts||Somebody's Image
Russell Morris Band
Russell Morris & the Rubes
Russell Norman Morris (born 31 July 1948) is an Australian singer-songwriter who had five Australian Top 10 singles during the late 1960s and early 1970s. On 1 July 2008, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) recognised Morris' iconic status when he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
Morris' career started at the age of 18, in September 1966, with the formation of the Melbourne group Somebody's Image, together with Kevin Thomas (rhythm guitar), Phillip Raphael (lead guitar), Eric Cairns (drums) and Les Allan (aka "Les Gough") (bass guitar). Somebody's Image rose to prominence with a local hit version of the Joe South song "Hush". (the song reaching #2 on the local Melbourne charts)
The band came to the notice of the Groop and, in turn, the Groop's friend and local music identity Ian Meldrum. Meldrum convinced Morris to leave Somebody's Image for a solo career. Meldrum, as Morris's manager and producer, spent considerable hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza around a song called "The Real Thing".
"The Real Thing"
"The Real Thing" was written by Johnny Young, produced by Ian Meldrum and engineered by John L Sayers. The backing track was performed by members of Melbourne soul band the Groop, which included Brian Cadd, Richard Wright (drums) and Don Mudie (bass) as well as Zoot guitarist Roger Hicks (who developed the acoustic guitar riff) and backing vocalists Ronnie Charles (The Groop), the Chiffons (including Maureen Elkner) and Marcie and The Cookies' Sue Brady and Judy Condon.
Once the result was released to shocked radio programmers, who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, it was up to Morris' personality, singing and performing talents to make the record work. It reached Australia's Number 1 spot in June 1969. Without any promotional support from Morris, "The Real Thing" reached number one in Chicago, Houston and New York.
"The Real Thing" is now considered[who?] one of the very best psychedelic rock singles produced in the 1960s. At around six minutes and thirty seconds, it was also the longest pop single recorded in Australia at that time. Released in Australia on EMI's Columbia label, it was the biggest selling Australian single of 1969 and was released when Morris was twenty. The song was released in two halves on the small Diamond Records label in the United States of America and due to record company difficulties with distribution received limited international success as a result, although it did reach No. 1 in large cities such as Chicago. The song was issued in the UK on Decca Records as EMI turned it down.
In more recent times, "The Real Thing" has been used by the Seven Network in conjunction with coverage of the Australian Football League (AFL) and featured in a tourist campaign promoting Western Australia. Morris's music has also appeared on the soundtrack to The Dish and he has appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) show Long Way to the Top. In the early 2010s he toured Australia with fellow 1960s rockers Darryl Cotton and Jim Keays in the trio Cotton Keays & Morris.
"The Real Thing" has been included on many compilations of psychedelic rock, most notably Rubble 18, We Can Fly #4 and The Best Of The Rubble Collection #5, where it is paired with "Part 3 / Into Paper Walls."
The song was followed by "Part Three into Paper Walls", co-written by Young and Morris and arranged by John Farrar and the B-side "The Girl That I Love" arranged by Peter Jones. Both tracks received extensive airplay making it a double number one recording. Later hits such as "Live with Friends" and "Wings of an Eagle" were Morris compositions. The follow-up comprised two more Johnny Young songs; "Part Three Into Paper Walls" and "The Girl That I Love" (a pop ballad more indicative of what was to come) which became a double-sided number one hit, the first time an Australian artist had scored consecutive number ones with their first two singles. Just prior to its release Ian Meldrum relinquished Russell's management. Morris, in the meantime, travelled to the United Kingdom to help promote the release of "The Real Thing." While in England he recorded English songwriter Raymond Froggatt's "Rachel", but re-recorded it on arriving back in Australia. "Rachel" became a big hit for Morris in New Zealand.
Morris decided to concentrate on his own songwriting and with the cream of Australian musicians, spent almost a year painstakingly recording and re-recording what became the Bloodstone album. Recorded at Channel 9's TCS Studios and engineered by John L Sayers, it was one of the first Australian albums of its kind, the first from an Australian singer/songwriter, and a whole world away from the extravagant "The Real Thing." The hit single from Bloodstone was the resonant, romantic "Sweet Sweet Love." The following year, in 1972, Morris released "Wings of an Eagle."
In 1973, Morris moved to London to record an album only to discover there was no record contract waiting for him. He relocated to New York and set to work on an album there, including new versions of both "Sweet Sweet Love" and "Wings of an Eagle" and the single "Let's Do It". A second American album appeared in 1976. It was two more years before Morris was granted his green card, enabling him to tour America. But by then, any chance of an American career had bolted. Instead, Morris returned to a very different Australia than the one he had left behind five years earlier.
During his solo career, Morris had done limited live performances without a band of his own. He then formed the Russell Morris Band and threw himself into a busy round of live performances, writing songs designed to be played live rather than chasing radio airplay, but scoring a couple of minor hits on the way. Eventually, the band played and recorded as Russell Morris & the Rubes.
In 1991, Morris released another solo album, A Thousand Suns, and spent the subsequent years as part of a successful performing trio with fellow 1960s singers Ronnie Burns and Darryl Cotton of Zoot, with a repertoire made up of their individual hits from the past as well as new songs. In October 2000, Jim Keays of the Masters Apprentices replaced Burns, the new group being known as Cotton Keays & Morris. Also in 2000, Morris' "The Real Thing" and "Wings of an Eagle" featured prominently in the Australian-made movie The Dish (centred on the first moon landing) and Midnight Oil released their version of "The Real Thing" as a one-off single, the first time this highly regarded band had chosen to record a cover.
On 1 July 2008, Morris was inducted by Rob Hirst into the ARIA Hall of Fame and was joined on-stage by guest musicians Steve Kilbey, Tim Powles, Jak Housden, Clayton Doley and Lachlan Doley to perform "The Real Thing". According to Andrew Murfett of The Age, "Russell Morris, whose classic The Real Thing was performed with a supergroup comprising members of The Church, The Whitlams and Powderfinger, was inducted with a tribute from Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst. Morris proved to be a revelation on the night, stirring the crowd with a terrific performance."
Morris is one of Australia's most enduring singers. A major pop star in the late 1960s, he went on to become one of the country's most well-known singer-songwriters. Both ends of his career feature predominantly in the soundtrack to the movie The Dish.
In 2013 Morris released an album of self-penned blues music. Sharkmouth received little radio play, but went on to become his most successful album, reaching No. 6 on the ARIA charts. Sharkmouth is a blues album about Australia’s notorious and colourful characters of the 1920s and '30s. Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor and Sydney’s Shark Jaws, legends such as Phar Lap, Les Darcy and Sydney’s famous graffiti artist, Mr Eternity, are all mentioned."
|9/1967||Somebody's Image||In Records||IN-S-8088||"Heat Wave" / "When I Come Home"|
|11/1967||IN-S-8116||"Hush" / "Baby Blue (It's All Over Now)"|
|"Hide and Seek" / "Livin' in Style"|
|3/1969||Russell Morris||Columbia||DO-8710||"The Real Thing" / "It's Only a Matter of Time"||1|
|7/1969||DO-8828||"Part Three into Paper Walls" / "The Girl That I Love"||1|
|12/1969||DO-9020||"Rachel" / "Little Lady"|
|4/1970||DO-9102||"Rachel" / "Slow Joey"||25|
|12/1970||DO-9314||"Mr. America" / "Stand Together"||8|
|6/1971||His Master's Voice||EA-9539||"Sweet, Sweet Love" / "Jail Jonah's Daughter"||7|
|3/1972||EA-9824||"Live with Friends" / "Alcohol Farm"||13|
|11/1972||EA-10030||"Wings of an Eagle" / "Satisfy You"||9|
|10/1975||Wizard||ZS-127||"Let's Do It" / "Don't Rock the Boat"||30|
|5/1976||ZS-140||"Sail with Me" / "Hard Road"|
|1976||ZS-160||"Wolves in White" / "Two Wheeled Flyer"|
|1979||Mushroom||K7399||"Thunder Ground" / "Two Minute Warning"||49|
|The Russell Morris Band||K7539||"Hot Love" / "Love Stealer"|
|1980||Russell Morris & The Rubes||K-8090||"Hush" / "In the Heat of the Night"||35|
|2/1981||K-8229||"The Roar of the Wild Torpedoes" / "Just Another Night"|
|4/1981||K-8283||"So Tough" / "Walk Don't Run"|
|7/1982||K-8804||"Get It Right" / "You Wanted Fame"|
|1983||K-9131||"I'll Stay with You" / "Turn to Stone"|
|1990||Russell Morris||Festival||RPS 47||"The Real Thing" (Remix) / "Rachel"||1|
|1991||K-10327||"Tartan Lines" / "Over Excited"||61|
|1991||K-10386||"A Thousand Suns" / "This Bird Has Flown"||84|
|1992||K-11049||"Stay with You" / "She Is Leaving"|
|1969||Russell Morris||Columbia||DNZ.10647||"The Girl That I Love" / "Part Three into Paper Walls"|
|1970||DNZ.10684||"Rachel" / "Slow Joey"||1|
|DNZ.10720||"The Real Thing" / "It's Only a Matter of Time"|
|1971||DNZ.10746||"Sweet, Sweet Love" / "Jail Jonah's Daughter"|
|1972||DNZ.10777||"Live with Friends" / "Alcohol Farm"|
|DNZ.10814||"Wings of an Eagle" / "Satisfy You"|
|19/9/1969||Russell Morris||Decca||F 22964||"The Real Thing" (Parts I and II) / "It's Only a Matter of Time"||N/A|
|21/8/1970||F 23066||"Rachel" / "Slow Joey"||N/A|
|1969||Russell Morris||Diamond||D-263||"The Real Thing" (Part I) / "The Real Thing" (Part II)||N/A|
|1975||RCA||10352||"Wings of an Eagle"||N/A|
|1976||10751||"Running Jumping Standing Still"||N/A|
|Date||Artist||Label||Cat. #||Title||Aus. chart|
|1970||Russell Morris||Columbia||SEGO-70199 (Aus)
|1990||EMI||RP 217||The Real Thing|
|Date||Artist||Label||Cat. #||Title||Aus. chart|
|Turn It On
(Russell Morris 2)
|1979||The Russell Morris Band||Mushroom||L-37074||Foot in the Door||38|
|1980||Russell Morris & The Rubes||L-37488||Almost Frantic||28|
|9/1991||Russell Morris||Festival||D-30533||A Thousand Suns||71|
|2002||Off the Shelf||N/A|
|2003||Cotton, Keays and Morris||3R Promotions||CKM 001||Maximum Hits||N/A|
|2003||CKM 002||Maximum Hits Volume 2||N/A|
|CKM 003||Live Acoustic||N/A|
|2004||Live at the Basement||N/A|
|2007||Brian Cadd and Russell Morris||Pid||748258||Live at the Con||N/A|
|5/2007||Russell Morris||Liberation Blue||Blue145.2||Fundamentalist||N/A|
|2007||Liberation Music||Jump Start Diary||N/A|
|2014||FANFARE142||Van Diemen's Land||4|
|Date||Artist||Label||Cat. #||Title||Aus. chart|
|1973||Russell Morris||His Master's Voice||OCSD-7679||Wings of an Eagle||12|
|9/2002||Rouseabout||RR34||The Real Thing|
|2013||EMI||3753643||The Very Best Of|
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