Darryl Cotton

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Darryl Cotton
Cotton in 1997
Background information
Birth nameDarryl Grant Cotton
Born(1949-09-04)4 September 1949
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Died27 July 2012(2012-07-27) (aged 62)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresRock, pop
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • television presenter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1965–2012
LabelsEMI, Sparmac, Oz, Hammard, Warner Bros., MGM, 20th Century, CBS

Darryl Grant Cotton (4 September 1949 – 27 July 2012) was an Australian pop, rock singer-songwriter, television presenter and actor. He was a founding member of Australian rock group Zoot in 1965, with Beeb Birtles, and were later joined by Rick Brewer and Rick Springfield. As a solo artist Cotton released the albums, Best Seat in the House (1980), It's Rock 'n' Good Fun (1984) and Let the Children Sing (1994). In April 1980 his biggest solo hit, "Same Old Girl", which was co-written by Cotton, peaked at No. 6 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. He acted in the TV soap opera, The Young Doctors (1979), and on stage as Joseph in the theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (1983). He presented TV shows, Summer Rock (1979 and 1980) and The Early Bird Show (1985 to 1989). In 1996 he formed Burns Cotton & Morris with fellow 1960s pop singers, Ronnie Burns and Russell Morris. In 2000 Burns retired from the trio and, with Jim Keays, they became Cotton Keays & Morris. In May 2012, Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer and died on 27 July 2012, aged 62.

Early life[edit]

Darryl Grant Cotton was born on 4 September 1949 in Adelaide and grew up in the suburb of Christies Beach. His mother's name was Gloria.

Music career[edit]

1965-1971: Zoot[edit]

In 1965 Cotton was the lead vocalist for The Murmen, when he formed a pop rock covers band, Down the Line, with local rivals, Times Unlimited's Gerard Bertelkamp (later known as Beeb Birtles) on vocals and bass guitar, John D'Arcy on guitar and vocals, and Ted Higgins on drums.[1][2] In mid-1967 the group changed their name to Zoot and increased the original content played.[1][2] They entered the South Australian heats of Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, finishing second in a tense contest to The Masters Apprentices.[3] In mid-1968, Zoot relocated to Melbourne, where their management promoted them under the slogan "Think Pink – Think Zoot" – all band members wore pink costumes; Cotton's car was repainted pink; his pet dog, Monty, had its fur dyed pink; and the venue, Birties Disco, was pink-themed throughout.[1][2] In September Rick Brewer, Cotton's bandmate from The Murmen, joined on drums.[1][2]

Cotton and Birtles co-wrote "Little Roland Lost" which was issued as the B-side on Zoot's June 1969 single, "Monty & Me".[2] The A-side was produced by Go-Set writer, Ian Meldrum (later hosted TV pop music series, Countdown), while the B-side was produced by Terry Britten.[2] "Monty & Me" – referenced Cotton's dog – which reached the Go-Set Top 40.[1][4] Zoot were voted Top Australian Group in Go-Set's pop poll published in June 1969.[5] In July 1969 they undertook a tour through the eastern Australian states with Ronnie Burns, The Sect and Jon Blanchfield on the bill.[2] In September Rick Springfield (ex-Wickedy Wak) joined on lead guitar and vocals For Zoot, the national tour brought increased media ridicule, peer envy and scorn from detractors – much of the criticism was homophobic, for their continuing use of pink outfits, where they were described as "pretty pink pansies".[2] In December when the tour reached Brisbane, Cotton was injured in an assault by street toughs.[2]

Early in 1970 Zoot finally discarded their pink outfits and attempted to shift their image and music towards heavier rock from the earlier teeny-bopper pop.[1][2] In December 1970, they released their most successful single, "Eleanor Rigby", which was a hard rock cover version of The Beatles' ballad and by March 1971 it had peaked in the top five.[6] On Go-Set's Top Records for the Year of 1971 it finished at No. 12.[7] In May 1971 despite the top 30 charting of their next single, "Freak", the group disbanded.

1971-1972: Frieze[edit]

Cotton and Birtles formed Darryl and Beeb as a pop, soft rock duo but soon changed their name to Frieze when they were sponsored by Frieze Brothers (a clothing company).[1][8] In September 1971 they released a cover version of the Mann-Weil track, "Feelings", on Sparmac Records.[8]

In March 1972, the Cotton-penned single, "Try Yourself",[8][9] was released under the name, Darryl and Beeb Frieze. In May they followed with their debut album, 1972 B. C., on Warner Brothers, using session musicians.[1][8] By June 1972 Frieze had disbanded and Cotton issued "Why Do Little Kids Have to Die", from 1972 B. C. as his debut solo single.[1][8] In July 1972 Cotton travelled to the United Kingdom while Birtles joined Mississippi (previously known as Allison Gros and then as Drummond), which, in 1975, evolved into Little River Band.[1][8]

1973-1977: Friends & Cotton, Lloyd and Christian[edit]

Early in 1973 Cotton joined United States-based group, Friends, with Michael Lloyd and Australian-raised singer-songwriter Steve Kipner (ex-Steve and the Board, Tin Tin).[1] They released a single, "Gonna Have a Good Time" (a cover of The Easybeats's song "Good Times") backed by "Would You Laugh" which was co-written by Cotton with Lloyd and Kipner. Friends followed with a self-titled album before Cotton and Lloyd left to form a vocal trio, Cotton, Lloyd and Christian with Chris Christian and released two studio albums between 1975 an 1976.[10]

Cotton based himself in Los Angeles where he also worked as a singer and songwriter and performed with Olivia Newton-John, The Osmonds, Shaun Cassidy and Cliff Richard.[1][2] His songwriting credits include work for Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond, Engelbert Humperdinck and The New Seekers.[1][2][11]

1978-1984: Best Seat in the House & It's Rock 'n' Good Fun[edit]

In early 1978 Cotton returned to Australia and signed with Oz Records. In August 1878, he released a solo single, "Don't Let It Get to You". From January 1979 Cotton hosted a TV music series, Summer Rock, on Adelaide's Nine Network.[2] Other solo singles followed, "I Don't Want to Lose You" in February 1979 and "Glamour Girl" in July 1979. At about that time Cotton acted on the Australian soap opera The Young Doctors for one season and followed with another series of Summer Rock in early 1980.[2]

In February 1980, Cotton released his most successful solo single, "Same Old Girl", which reached top ten on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[12] "Same Old Girl" was co-written with former bandmate Christian.[13] Cotton's work in 1980 earned him an award for Best Solo Male Performance, 10 years after Zoot had won a similar award for a group.[14][15] Best Seat in the House was released on EMI Records in April 1980 and was produced by Christian.[2] Cotton formed a backing band, The Charts, with Joey Amenta on lead guitar (ex-Taste, Redhouse, Russell Morris Band), Andy Buchanan on drums, Randy Bulpin on guitar (Mondo Rock), Terry Davidson on keyboards and Simon Gyllies on bass guitar (Mondo Rock).[1] In 1983 Cotton appeared in the lead role of the Australian stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.[16] In 1984 he released his second solo album, It's Rock 'n' Good Fun on Hammard Records.[1]

1985-2011: Continued success[edit]

From 1985 to 1989 Cotton was a co-host, with Marie Van Maaren, on Network Ten's The Early Bird Show, a Saturday morning children's TV variety show, where he worked alongside Marty the Monster.[1][2]

In 1989, Cotton was awarded the Advance Australia Award for his services to the community, acknowledging his support and assistance to numerous charities and public organisations.[14] He also sang the lyrics to the song "Surfin" from the TV program Pugwall's Summer.

In 1994 Cotton released a children's album, Just for Kids, on DC Records.[1][14]

In 1996 he formed Burns Cotton & Morris with fellow 1960s pop singers, Ronnie Burns and Russell Morris, which issued a self-titled album.[1][2] The album included three tracks from each artist's earlier career and three new songs.[1][2] In 2000 Burns retired from the trio and, with Jim Keays (ex-The Masters Apprentices), they became Cotton Keays & Morris, which also released a self-titled album.[2][17]

Since 1987 Cotton performed with the Australian Youth Choir and released numerous albums in early 2000s. Cotton was the patron of the associated National Institute of Youth Performing Arts Australia.[16][18] His solo performances were backed by the Darryl Cotton Band, which, in 2005, consisted of Ashley Robinson on guitar and backing vocals, Peter Valentine on keyboards and backing vocals, Alejandro Vega on drums and percussion, Tim Wilson on saxophone, flute and backing vocals; and were sometimes augmented by Lisa Edwards and Wendy Stapleton on vocals.[11] Darry Cotton Band performed at corporate functions with a repertoire that included music from 1960s pop to 1990s and early 2000s work.[11]

In 2011 Zoot reunited for a short performance cruise out from Miami with the line-up of Cotton joined by Birtles, Brewer and Springfield.[15][19]

2012: Death[edit]

In May 2012, Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer, his manager Jeff Joseph announced that Cotton was receiving chemotherapy "[h]e is resting comfortably and letting the treatment take its course".[15][19] On 27 July 2012 Cotton died.[20] On 12 May he had performed his last gig, with Cotton Keays & Morris, at a Sydney RSL club.[21] In July Keays recalled, "[a]bout six weeks ago... we were up in Sydney, he's an asthmatic and used to cough a lot, [...] we were driving back from the gig and he was just coughing so badly, and Russell was driving, and said 'Do you want us to drive you to the hospital?'".[22]

Personal life[edit]

On 16 July 1977 Darryl Cotton married Cheryl Forehead; the couple had two children.[23] Cotton died on 27 July 2012, eleven days after the couple's 35th anniversary, aged 62.[23]

Non-music Associations[edit]

Darryl Cotton played Australian Rules Football as a youth for the Christies Beach Football Club, captaining the Senior Colts in 1965.[24]



List of albums, with Australian chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart
1972 B. C.
(as Frieze)
Cotton, Lloyd & Christian
(asCotton, Lloyd & Christian)
  • Released: 1975
  • Format: LP
  • Label: 20th Century Records (L 35664)
Number Two
(asCotton, Lloyd & Christian)
  • Released: 1976
  • Format: LP
  • Label: 20th Century Records (L 36055)
Best Seat in the House
  • Released: April 1980
  • Format: LP
  • Label: EMI Records EMX.101
It's Rock 'n' Good Fun
  • Released: 1984
  • Format: LP
  • Label: Hammard Records HAM 107
Just for Kids
  • Released: 1988
  • Format: LP, Cass
  • Label: Hammard Records HAM 183
Let the Children Sing
  • Released: 1994
  • Format: CD
  • Label: DC Records
Songs of Australia for Christmas
(with [he Australian Youth Choir and Victoria State Children's Choir)
  • Released: 2000
  • Format: CD
  • Label: AYC (AYC1)
Absolute 80s
(with The Australian Youth Choir)
  • Released: 2001
  • Format: CD
  • Label: AYC
Songs from Land Down Under
(with The Australian Youth Choir)
  • Released: 2002
  • Format: CD
  • Label: National Institute Of Youth Performing Arts
The Bright Side of Life
(with The Australian Youth Choir)
  • Released: 2003
  • Format: CD
  • Label: National Institute Of Youth Performing Arts
Happy Together
(with The Australian Youth Choir)
  • Released: 2004
  • Format: CD
  • Label: National Institute Of Youth Performing Arts


List of singles, with Australian chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
(as Frieze)
1971 81 non album single
"Try Yourself"
(as Darryl and Beeb Frieze)
1972 - 1972 B. C.
"Why Do Little Kids Have to Die?"[nb 1] 58
"Don't Play with the One Who Loves You"
(as Cotton, Lloyd and Christian)
1975 - Cotton, Lloyd & Christian
"I Can Sing, I Can Dance"
(as Cotton, Lloyd and Christian)
"I Go to Pieces"
(as Cotton, Lloyd and Christian)
"Crying in the Rain"
(as Cotton, Lloyd and Christian)
1976 90 Number Two
"Don't Let It Get to You" 1978 44 Best Seat in the House
"I Don't Want to Lose You" 1979 74 non album singles
"Glamour Girl" -
"Same Old Girl" 1980 6 Best Seat in the House
"Here Comes Another Heartache" 89
"Little Red Book" 1981 48 non album singles
"Nice Girls" -
"Baby You're Changing"
(with Heather Favell)
1983 -
"Swinging School 1984 - It's Rock 'n' Good Fun


  1. ^ Ian McFarlane has "Why Do Little Kids Have to Die?" as Cotton's debut solo single.[1] In Kent Music Report, the song is credited to Cotton.[12] Duncan Kimball has it as a Frieze single.[2]
  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2012. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara; Paul McHenry (2002) [1987]. The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.[27] Note: [on-line] version of The Who's Who of Australian Rock was established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition. As from, September 2010 the [on-line] version shows an 'Internal Service Error' and was no longer available.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t McFarlane, Encyclopedia entry for "Zoot". Archived from the original on 9 August 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2011.. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Zoot". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  3. ^ Stacey, Terence J. (2002). Duncan Kimball (ed.). "Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Go-Set search engine results for 'Monty and Me'". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ Kent, David Martin (September 2002). The place of Go-Set in rock and pop music culture in Australia, 1966 to 1974 (PDF) (MA). Canberra, ACT: University of Canberra. pp. 255–264. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2012. Note: This PDF is 282 pages.
  6. ^ "Go-Set search engine results for 'Eleanor Rigby'". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  7. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Top Records for the Year of 1971". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Frieze". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  9. ^ "ASCAP – ACE Title Search". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Archived from the original on 6 March 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2012. Note: requires user to enter details, e.g. click on 'Writers' tab and enter 'Cotton Darryl Grant'.
  10. ^ "Cotton, Lloyd & Christian". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "Darryl Cotton Band" (PDF). Loddon Mallee Regional Principals' Conference. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d 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.
  13. ^ "'Same Old Girl' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 3 August 2012.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ a b c "Darryl Cotton". Countdown. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  15. ^ a b c Cashmere, Paul (5 June 2012). "Darryl Cotton Diagnosed with Liver Cancer". Noise11. The Noise Network (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Darryl Cotton". Wrokdown. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Cotton Keays Morris". The Masters Apprentices Official Website. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Farewell tribute to NIYPAA Patron of 25 years, Darryl Cotton (1949–2012)". National Institute of Youth Performing Arts Australia. 27 July 2012. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Pals Buoy Cotton in Liver Cancer Battle". The Age. Fairfax Media. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  20. ^ Gannon, Genevieve (27 July 2012). "Singer, Actor Darryl Cotton Dies". ninemsn. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  21. ^ Howe, Alan (27 July 2012). "Zoot Singer Darryl Cotton Loses Battle with Cancer". Herald Sun. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  22. ^ Faine, Jon; Keays, Jim (27 July 2012). "Jim Keays Pays Tribute to Darryl Cotton". 774 ABC Melbourne. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  23. ^ a b "Darryl Cotton Says a Final Goodbye". Sky News (Australian News Channel). 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  24. ^ Lines, Peter (2013). South Australian Country Football Digest - 2012 Update. p. 2.
  25. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. pp. 75, 119. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  26. ^ a b Ryan (bulion), Gary (23 August 2012). "Albums Pre 1989 Part 2 – Frieze, Daryl Cotton, Cotton Lloyd Christian". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  27. ^ "Who's Who of Australian Rock / Compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry". catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2 August 2012.

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