The Sunnyboys

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk, power pop
Years active 1980–1984, 1987–1989, 1991, 1998, 2012—14
Labels Phantom

Sunnyboys are an Australian post-punk, power pop band formed in Sydney in 1980. Fronted by singer-songwriter, guitarist Jeremy Oxley, the band "breathed some freshness and vitality into the divergent Sydney scene".[1] Their first two albums, Sunnyboys and Individuals both charted into the Top 30 of the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart.[2]

The Sunnyboys produced melodic power pop classics and were rewarded with an immediate positive response. The original line-up ended in June 1984. Jeremy Oxley formed various incarnations of the band throughout the 1980s and into 1991, as the only original member. The original line-up (without Burgman) reunited for a one-off show in 1998 for the Mushroom 25 Concert. In 2012 the original line-up reunited for a surprise show in Sydney as part of the Dig It Up concert series. The played sporadic shows in 2013 and undertook a national headline tour in March 2014.


Things happened very quickly for The Sunnyboys, who went from playing inner-city venues to scoring hit singles for the prestigious Mushroom label all within a year of formation. What set the band apart in many ways was Oxley's song writing ability. The chemistry between the four members was perfect too.

The Oxley brothers, Jeremy and Peter, and Bill Bilson hailed from the northern New South Wales town of Kingscliff where they played in a garage band called Wooden Horse. The band gained early experience when the students of Tweed River High School were obliged to attend a compulsory concert in school hours arranged by the Oxley's father, who was an art teacher at the school. Anyone who failed to applaud or was in any way unsupportive was awarded detention. Richard Burgman (Kamikaze Kids) came from Wagga Wagga, and they all met in Sydney in 1979, forming The Sunnyboys.

The band's name was based on an orange flavoured frozen ice treat of the same name. It came in a tetrahedron shaped ‘tetra-pack’. These ice confections were very popular as a cheap summer treat all over Australia. According to Richard Burgman the band chose the name because it represented ‘bright, happy, young, fun’.

On 15 August 1980, they played their first gig, supporting The Lipstick Killers, and Me 262. In October of that year the band recorded four songs with Lobby Loyde. The tracks, "Love To Rule", "The Seeker", "What You Need" and "Alone With You", all appeared on the band's self-titled and independently released 4-track 7" EP on Phantom Records. The initial pressing of 1,000 copies sold out in two weeks.It was later remixed and reissued as a 12".

The Sunnyboys signed to Mushroom Records in February 1981, becoming the first Sydney-based band on the label, and by July that year had cracked the mainstream charts with the single "Happy Man". The same month they released their own independent EP which was given away at gigs, entitled Happy Birthday containing the tracks "What You Need", "Why Do I Cry?", "I Want To Be Alone" and "Let You Go". Their eponymous debut LP was recorded at Alberts Studio during May, June and July 1981 with producer/mentor Lobby Loyde. The album had an initial print run of 2,000 on yellow vinyl, reached number 13 on the national album charts in October 1981 and remains an Australian classic. The album produced a second hit single, a new version of "Alone With You", which reached number 15 on the national singles chart, establishing The Sunnyboys as a bona fide headline attraction.

In the midst of their heavy touring schedule the band recorded their second album, Individuals (issued May 1982). The album peaked at number 19 and two singles from the record charted briefly: "You Need A Friend" and "This Is Real".

Their fifth single, "Show Me Some Discipline" charted in Sydney only. The band meanwhile travelled to the United Kingdom where they played two sold out shows at the famous Marquee Club before recording their 3rd album at Ridgefarm Studios, Surrey. The resultant album, Get Some Fun displayed a greater diversity and more confident musicianship. To coincide with the album's release, the band embarked on their first national Australian tour since May 1983. Neither the LP or the singles from the album ("Love In A Box" and "Comes As No Surprise") charted.

Internal dissent plagued the band; Jeremy Oxley was battling mental illness and drinking heavily as a result. The Sunnyboys announced their break-up in June 1984. Their farewell tour produced the album Real Live which was recorded over two nights in Sydney (29 and 30 June).

Post original line-up[edit]

In 1985, the French label Closer combined The Sunnyboys' first two albums as a double set entitled Days Are Gone for the European market. Following the demise of The Sunnyboys, Jeremy Oxley launched a new band called Chinless Elite. Shortly thereafter he formed another (and more successful) group, called The Fishermen. This band released one single entitled "Can't You Stop?" on the Waterfront label.

Richard Burgman meanwhile joined The Saints and ultimately Weddings Parties Anything. He later emigrated to Canada. Peter Oxley and Bill Bilson formed the soul band The Sparklers with another Oxley sibling, Melanie.

In late 1987, Jeremy Oxley attempted to revive The Sunnyboys with a new line-up. The new band signed a deal with RCA and released an album entitled Wildcat (produced by ex-Sherbet keyboard player, Garth Porter). This incarnation of the band broke up in 1990.

In July 1991, Mushroom released the compilation album Plays The Best and the original line-up reunited for a national tour. Following this, Jeremy Oxley played further shows and also assembled yet another incarnation of "The Sunnyboys", with Jeremy Oxley as the sole original member. This group played only a few gigs as The Sunnyboys, after widespread audience discontent and a dispute over the right to use the name. The group then played a handful of gigs as the "Jeremy Oxley Band", performing the songs that later appeared on an EP credited to Jeremy "Ponytail" Oxley, titled "A Little Bit Of You In Me". Oxley's management replaced the musicians in the "live" Jeremy Oxley Band for the recording of the EP.

In November 1998 the band reformed for the Mushroom 25 Concert at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records, organised by Michael Gudinski.[3][4] For the concert Burgman was replaced by Jeremy and Peter's younger brother Tim Oxley on guitar. The Sunnyboys appeared on the original VHS release of the concert and the 2002 re-release CD and DVD. In October 2010, their 1981 debut album, Sunnyboys, was listed in the top 40 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[5]

2012 onwards[edit]

On 22 April 2012 the original line-up of the band played as part of the Dig It Up concert series organised by the Hoodoo Gurus, at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia. The band was listed on the bill as "Kids In Dust".[6] They played a 45 minute set that opened with a song from Wildcat and featured songs drawn mostly from the first self-titled album ("Happy Man", "Alone With You", "Tunnel Of Love", "Let You Go", "I'm Shakin'", "My Only Friend", "Liar") and their first EP ("What You Need", "Love To Rule") as well as "Show Me Some Discipline".[citation needed]

On 18 July 2012 it was announced that the original line-up of The Sunnyboys would be playing at the 2012 Meredith Music Festival on the 7th of December. The following night they played a show at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, which sold out in under an hour.[7]

In late January and early February 2013, they supported Elvis Costello and the Imposters on their Australian tour. The band played at the Coolangatta Hotel on the 24th and 25 May 2013. On the 2nd of June they played a sold out performance at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.[8]

On 6 December 2013, "Our Best Of" was released by Warner Music Australia. A 16 track retrospective featuring remastered songs and rarities. On 14 March 2014, The Sunnyboys re-released their debut eponymous LP with a second CD titled "New Kicks" which features 17 complete and unreleased pre-album demo sessions, as well as notes and photos in the booklet contributed by band members and fans.

The band undertook a national headline tour in March 2014.

Members - Sunnyboys[edit]

  • Bill Bilson — drums (1980–84, 1991, 1998, 2012-Current)
  • Richard Burgman — guitar (1980–84, 1991, 2012-Current)
  • Tim Freedman — guitar (1987–89)
  • Peter Hincenbergs — drums (1987–89)
  • Jeremy Oxley — guitar, vocals (1980–84, 1987–89, 1991, 1998, 2012-Current)
  • Peter Oxley — bass (1980–84, 1991, 1998, 2012-Current)
  • Tim Oxley — guitar (1998)
  • Phil Smith — bass (1987–89)

Jeremy Oxley Band (briefly also billed as Sunnyboys)[edit]

  • Jeremy Oxley — lead vocals, guitar
  • Tony "Scarlett" Luvara — guitar, vocals
  • Graham Robbins — bass, vocals
  • Tim Williams — drums



  • Sunnyboys (Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl) – Mushroom (L37634) (September 1981)
  • SunnyboysMushroom (L37696) (September 1981) AUS No. 13[2]

Track Listing

Side 1

1.I Can't Talk To You

2.My Only Friend

3.Trouble In My Brain


5.It's Not Me

6.Happy Man

Side 2

1.Alone With you

2.Tunnel Of My Love


4.Let You Go

5.I'm Shakin

6.I Can't Talk To you ( Reprise )

  • Individuals – Mushroom (L37835) (May 1982) AUS No. 23[2]

Track Listing

Side One

1.This Is Real


3.It's A Sunny Day

4.Leaf On A Tree

5.You Need A Friend

Side Two

1.No Love Around

2.I'm Not Satisfied

3.Days Are Gone

4.You Don't Need Me

5.Colour Of Love

    • Days Are Gone (Sunnyboys and Individuals repackaged) – Closer Records (CL 0036) (European release only, 1984)
  • Get Some Fun – Mushroom (RML 53129) (1984) AUS No. 36[2]
  • Real Live Sunnyboys – Mushroom (L38259) (1984)
  • WildcatRCA Records (VLPI 0806) (1989) AUS No. 81[2]
  • Plays The Best – Mushroom (D24501) (15 August 1991) AUS No. 75[2]
  • Shakin: Live August 1991Phantom (PHCD-16) (1993)
  • This Is Real: Singles/Live/Rare – Feel Presents/Shock Records (FEEL002) (13 September 2004)
  • Our Best Of - Warner Australia - (6 December 2013)

Extended plays[edit]

  • Sunnyboys – Phantom (PH-7) (December 1980)
  • Sunnyboys (Limited Edition Remixed 12" E.P) – Phantom (PH-11) (July 1981)

Track Listing

Side A

1.Alone With You

2.What You Need

Side B

1.The Seeker

2.Love To Rule

  • Happy Birthday – Mushroom (SMX 57856) (1981)


  • "Happy Man / Tomorrow Will Be Fine // Thrill / Why Do I Cry" (Cassette) – Mushroom (C12001) (June 1981)
  • "Happy Man"/"Tomorrow Will Be Fine" – Mushroom (K8335) (June 1981) AUS No. 26[2]
  • "Alone with You"/"Stop and Think"/"To the Bone" – Mushroom (K8476) (Oct 1981) AUS No. 28
  • "You Need a Friend"/"No Love Around" – Mushroom (K8683) (May 1982) AUS No. 38
  • "This Is Real"/"Pain" – Mushroom (K8832) (Aug 1982)
  • "Show Me Some Discipline"/"Guts of Iron" – Mushroom (K9142) (June 1983) AUS No. 44
  • "Love in a Box"/"Physical Jerk" – Mushroom (K9363) (Feb 1984) AUS No. 46
  • "Comes As No Surprise"/"Bottom of My Heart" – Mushroom (K9422) (May 1984) AUS No. 99
  • "Show Me Some Discipline"/"To the Bone"/"Stop and Think"/"I'm Shaking" – Closer (CL 1245) (France - 1985)
  • "You Need a Friend"/"Physical Jerk" – Closer (CL 0742) (1985)
  • "Too Young to Despair"/"Changing" – RCA (104988) (December 1988) AUS No. 74
  • "Sinful Me"/"Baby Did Leave" – RCA (105058) (June 1989)
  • "Sad Girl"/"Sad Girl" (live) – RCA (105090) (August 1989)
  • "Sorrow Is Mine"/"New Confusions" – RCA (105122) (October 1989)
  • "Alone with You"/"Stop and Think"/"To the Bone" – Mushroom (MUSH01823.2) (23 October 1998)


  1. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Sunnyboys'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  3. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Independent Record Labels'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Retrieved 6 May 2009. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). "Mushroom Records - Magic Mushroom". Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Wilkinson Publishing. p. 87–94. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  5. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  6. ^ Mihelakos, Mary (30 March 2012). "Final destination". The Age. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]