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Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds

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Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds was an annual national rock/pop band competition held in Australia from 1966 to 1972.[1] The winners of the national finals were the Twilights (1966), the Groop (1967), the Groove (1968), Doug Parkinson in Focus (main, 1969) and the Affair (vocal group, 1969), the Flying Circus (1970), Fraternity (1971) and Sherbet (1972).


Australia's Battle of the Sounds was originally established by Australian tabloid magazine Everybody's in 1965 as a talent quest for new unsigned bands in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

The National Battle of the Sounds gained significant credibility and attracted many of Australia's top pop outfits when, in 1966, confectioner Hoadley's assumed sponsorship and it took the full name of "Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds" for the first time. Go-Set magazine took over the co-ordination role and local radio stations all over Australia organised local heats. This turned it into a truly national competition. Heats were held in the capital cities and country towns and bands worked their way up through semi-finals to one penultimate grand-final, held in either Melbourne or Sydney.[citation needed] The South Australian finals were held at the Thebarton Theatre in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton.[2]

The valuable first prize was a full return passage to England on Sitmar Cruises, two booked concerts in London and $1000 prize money, later upped to $2000 and return flights to Los Angeles (early winners did not get the concerts).

1969 was the peak year of the battle with over 1000 bands entering and two Grand Finals, one for full bands and one for groups and singing groups that specialised in harmony vocals. Over the years the battle would see such quality acts as The Groove and Sherbet taking out the major prize. Many other prominent outfits that would go on to greater success competed in the Battle until its conclusion in 1972.


In July 1966 Canberra-based group the Roadrunners won the New South Wales final for country groups. The judges were radio and TV representatives and the audience cheering was so loud that they had to call back the band to perform again. The prizes for winning the national final were $1000, a trip to England and a recording contract.[3] Another ACT group, Rain, won their heat in July 1968 and flew to the national final in Melbourne – they were farewelled at the airport by two fans.[4] The national final winner, the Twilights, performed a medley: "Bad Boy", "Satisfaction", "Yesterday", "If she finds out" and "I'm not talkin", at Melbourne's Festival Hall.[5] The tracks were later included on their album, Twilight Time (1983), via Raven Records.[5]

Garry Raffaele of The Canberra Times noticed that three of the better local bands did not enter the competition in June 1969. He concluded that "Much of the criticism levelled against pop music generally is that it produces groups whose main ambition is to stir up audiences made up mainly of young teenage girls. If competitions like this one tend to perpetuate these values who can blame the musicians for throwing it all up and leaving it to the bubble-gum bands?"[6]

In June 1971 Salty Dog, which had relocated to Sydney, won the Canberra heat as they "knew how to play to a seated audience; it knew it had to wake up our interest and it made us participate. It nearly had us out of our seats. The volume was up full, lively Les [Catterall] couldn't keep still, Digger beat tempestuously at the drums, Chris Willing played bass better than before heading for Sydney and Gunther and Scotty, both on lead guitars, couldn't help but join in and show how a group plays when it is enjoying itself."[7] One of the judges was Raffaele.[7] The national winners, Fraternity, had their set recorded – it appeared on Complete Sessions 1971–72 (1996) on Raven Records.[8]


National Battle of the Sounds: National Finalists: 1965[edit]

Year Winner Region/State Other Finalists Venue
1965 The Crickets Melbourne
* Jimmy Crockett & The Shanes
* The Pink Finks
* The Showmen
* The Rising Sons
* Embers
Festival Hall

Note: The first Australian battle of the bands was in 1964. It was called the Everybody’s Magazine’s ‘Big New Sound of 1964’. It was unrelated to Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, which was a rock band contest, that commenced under the name Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds in 1966.

The winners of Everybody’s Magazine’s ‘Big New Sound of 1964’ were the Green Hill Singers, from Melbourne, with their self-penned song "The Big Land." The first prize was 250 pounds, plus an EMI recording contract.

The members of the Green Hill Singers were John McMillan (acoustic guitar and vocals), Alex McMillan (acoustic guitar and vocals), and Chris Bonett (upright bass and vocals). Jimmy Hannan was one of the judges, and the TV show final was televised nationally.

The Green Hill Singers worked in clubs and concerts in Sydney for a year or so before breaking up.

Sources: Chris Bonett, Warren Faheys Australian Folklore Unit Website, Everybody's Magazine 1964 (Mitchell Library, Sydney)

Hoadley's National Finalists: 1966-1972[edit]

Year Winner Region/State Second Place Third Place Other Place Getters Venue
1966 The Twilights Adelaide
South Australia
The Other Ends
(Sydney N S W)
Chaos & Co
* The Road Runners
* The Breed
* The Chosen Few
* Trolls
* The Modes
* The Clique
Festival Hall
1967 The Groop Melbourne
The Questions
The Flamingoes
* The Valentines
* The Mystics
* The Wanderers
* Gus & The Nomads
* James Taylor Move
* J A Madison
* Mickey Finn
* J B J & The Originals
Festival Hall
1968 The Groove Melbourne
Masters Apprentices
(South Australia)
Doug Parkinson In Focus
* The Marksmen
* Rain
* Tol Puddle Martyrs
* Shades of Blue
* Beat 'n Tracks
* Sect
* Abstract Image
* Black Orchids
* J A Madison
Festival Hall
(Main Grand Final)
Doug Parkinson in Focus Melbourne
Aesops Fables
The Valentines
* The Avengers
* Chain
* Tin Pan Alley
* Pepper Adams
* Spice of Life
* Sect
* Limit
* Proclamation
* Clockwork Oringe
* Chapter Three
Festival Hall
(Vocal Group Grand Final)
The Affair Sydney
Mark IV
(Western Australia)
Travis Wellington Hedge
(South Australia)
* The Chiffons[9]
* 1812[10]
* New Edition
Festival Hall
1970 The Flying Circus Sydney
* Nova Express
* Axis
* Sweaty Betty
* Ssarb
* Musick Express
* Maya
* Chapter III
* Jug Band
* Sons of Bacchus
* Noddys Crew
Capitol Theatre
1971 Fraternity Adelaide
South Australia
Jeff St John and Copperwine
* Bacchus
* October
* Langford Lever
* Pendulum
* Nutmeg
* Jelly Roll Big Band
* Impulse
* Barrelhouse
Festival Hall
1972 Sherbet Sydney
Jeff St John and Copperwine
(South Australia)
* Headband
* Brandy
* Jody
Capitol Theatre

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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 8 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Thebarton Theatre: History". Thebarton Theatre. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  3. ^ "The music was merely background noise". The Canberra Times. Vol. 40, no. 11, 511. 4 July 1966. p. 1. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Untitled". The Canberra Times. Vol. 42, no. 12, 058. 20 July 1968. p. 9. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ a b The Twilights (1983), Twilight Time, Raven Records, retrieved 20 December 2016
  6. ^ Raffaele, Garry (28 June 1969). "Leisure – The Arts on Beat: Sounds of Musical Battle in the Air". The Canberra Times. Vol. 43, no. 12, 350. p. 16. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ a b "Salty Dog wins sixth 'sounds heat'". The Canberra Times. Vol. 45, no. 12, 842. 21 June 1971. p. 10. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Complete Sessions 1971-72 [sound recording] / Bon Scott & Fraterity". Trove. Raven Records. 1996. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "FIRST DAY BLUES". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 30 July 1980. p. 18 Supplement: FREE Your TV Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  10. ^ "What's on where". The Canberra Times. Vol. 44, no. 12, 545. 14 February 1970. p. 16. Retrieved 20 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia. Note: the band name is styled as "Eighteen-12".


  • Stacey, Terence J (1995), The battles of the sounds, Moonlight Publications, ISBN 978-0-646-25126-4
  • Everybody's Magazine – 1964 to 1967 (Courtesy Mitchell Library, Sydney)
  • Go-Set Magazine – 1967 to 1972 (Courtesy Mitchell Library, Sydney)