Graeme Strachan

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Graeme "Shirley" Strachan
Birth name Graeme Strachan
Also known as "Shirley" Strachan
Born (1952-01-02)2 January 1952
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Died 29 August 2001(2001-08-29) (aged 49)
Genres Rock and roll, progressive rock
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, television presenter
Instruments Singing
Associated acts Skyhooks

Graeme Strachan (2 January 1952 – 29 August 2001) better known as Shirley Strachan was an Australian singer and television presenter. He is best known as the lead singer of the 1970s rock group Skyhooks.

Born in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, he was an avid surfer, and his nickname "Shirley" was given to him by his surfer friends because of his long, sunbleached and very curly hair, referring to Shirley Temple. He was educated at Mount Waverley Secondary College.

Career[edit]

Strachan pursued a solo singing career during his time with Skyhooks and released a number of records, the most successful of which was his cover of "Every Little Bit Hurts" in 1976. He left Skyhooks in 1978 and then worked as a radio and television presenter. He became known to a new generation as the host of children's television series Shirl's Neighbourhood in the early 1980s. In the 1990s he was a regular presenter on home makeover program Our House where he resurrected skills from his pre-Skyhooks carpentry trade. He was also instrumental in several Skyhook reformations during the 1980s and 1990s.

Strachan presented a breakfast radio show with Gary Belcher and Dean Miller on the Brisbane radio station Triple M in the 1990s. Strachan left Triple M in 1999 following a pay dispute.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Strachan was killed in a helicopter accident on 29 August 2001. He had been a fixed wing pilot for many years and had been undergoing training for a helicopter pilots licence, with a view to buying a helicopter and taking friends and family on surfing safaris. On a solo flight near Mount Archer in clear weather and inexplicably off the course planned by his instructor, Strachan encountered mountain turbulence which caused the rotor of his Bell 47G to sever the tailboom, crashing the helicopter onto a mountain slope.[1]

Tributes[edit]

A beachside funeral was attended by Strachan's family and friends, including Skyhooks guitarist Red Symons and radio colleague Gary Belcher. His ashes were scattered into the sea from a helicopter by his wife, Sue.

Radio 4MMM, Strachan's former employer, held a day-long on-air tribute to him on the day after his death. Old archived audio was played on air.

The episode of the ABC documentary Long Way To The Top featuring Skyhooks was scheduled to be broadcast on the day of his death. The episode was dedicated to his memory.

Channel Nine ran a tribute episode of Our House featuring footage filmed in the weeks before his death, along with archive footage.[2]

Solo discography[edit]

45 singles[edit]

  • "Every Little Bit Hurts/Cruisin' Out With You" - 1976
  • "Tracks of My Tears/Missing You" - 1977
  • Mr Summer/Song For a Friend - 1978
  • Christmas in the Neighbourhood/Christmas Children - 1979
  • Nothing But The Best/Your Love -1979

Album[edit]

  • It's All Rock 'n Roll To Me - 1980

References[edit]

  1. ^ ATSB accident report
  2. ^ Our House tribute episode footage
Notes
  • Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop - 1978
  • An Australian Rock Discography - Chris Spencer -1990 - Moonlight Publishing
  • The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop - Ian McFarlane - Allen & Unwin, Sydney - 1999

External links[edit]