James Reyne

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James Reyne
James Reyne.jpg
James Reyne in 2008
Background information
Birth name James Michael Nugent Reyne
Born (1957-05-19) 19 May 1957 (age 58)
Lagos, Nigeria
Origin Australia
Genres Rock, folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter,
Instruments Guitar, vocals, piano, harmonica
Years active 1975–current
Labels Geffen, Virgin, Liberation
Associated acts Spiff Rouch, Clutch Cargo, Australian Crawl
Website jamesreyne.com.au

James Reyne OAM (born James Michael Nugent Reyne on 19 May 1957 in Lagos, Nigeria) is an Australian rock musician and singer/songwriter both in solo work and, until 1986, with the band Australian Crawl.


Early years[edit]

Reyne was born in Lagos, Nigeria to an Australian mother and English diplomat father. The family moved to Victoria, Australia in the early 1960s. Reyne lived in Mount Eliza, Victoria, was educated at The Peninsula School and studied drama at the Victorian College of Arts. He formed a band called Spiff Rouch containing fellow locals Bill McDonough, Guy McDonough, Brad Robinson, Paul Williams, Robert Walker, Mark Hudson and Simon Binks.[1] and solo work.[2][3] By early 1978, Spiff Rouch had split with Reyne to form Clutch Cargo with Binks, Robinson, Williams and his younger brother David Reyne.[1]

Australian Crawl[edit]

Main article: Australian Crawl

In late 1978, Clutch Cargo was renamed Australian Crawl and started to gain popularity on the pub circuit. David Reyne left to continue an acting course and was replaced by Bill McDonough.[3] Australian Crawl made a memorable debut on the Countdown TV show. Reyne performed with both arms in plaster casts, a result of injuries sustained after being hit by a car. The band went on to sell more than one million albums in Australia in the 1980s. Their most popular songs are "Reckless", "Beautiful People", "Errol", "The Boys Light Up", "Things Don't Seem", "Oh No Not You Again" and "Downhearted".[4] They were voted Countdown 1981 Most Popular Group, and Reyne was 1980 and 1981 Most Popular Male Performer.[5] After the band split up in 1986,[6] Reyne went on to a successful solo career.[5]

Solo career[edit]


Whilst still with Australian Crawl, Reyne formed a duet with Lin Buckfield of Electric Pandas[7] to release a 1985 single "R.O.C.K." / "Under My Thumb".[8]

In 1987, Reyne released his self titled debut solo album. The first two singles released from the album, "Fall of Rome" and "Hammerhead", were top 10 hits in Australia,[9] followed by the less-successful "Rip It Up" and "Heaven On a Stick". The album was re-packaged in 1988 to include a further top 10 single, "Motor's Too Fast" (peaking at #6 on the ARIA chart[9]), replacing "Coin in a Plate" which had appeared on the original 1987 release. "Always The Way" was released as the sixth and final single from the album, but peaked outside the top 50.[9]

His debut was followed in May 1989 by his next solo release Hard Reyne, which featured the hits "House of Cards" (#17 ARIA Charts[9]) and "One More River" (#22 ARIA Charts[9]). The album was produced By Simon Hussey. The project was launched with a live televised performance on Australia's MTV program on the Nine Network and an Australian tour in late 1989. A further two singles—"Trouble in Paradise" (Oct 1989) and "Harvest Moon" (Jan 1990)—completed the album.[citation needed]

In 1991, Electric Digger Dandy was released. Mindful of the American market (where the album was released under the title of Any Day Above Ground), Electric Digger Dandy included a revamped version of the Australian Crawl hit "Reckless" as well as a cover of John Hiatt's "Stood Up", a duet with American singer-songwriter Tony Joe White. Single releases from the album included "Slave" (#10 ARIA Charts[9]), "Any Day Above Ground" and "Some People". It remains Reyne's highest charting album in Australia, reaching No. 3 on the ARIA albums chart.[9]

In 1992, he recorded a duet with country singer James Blundell (a cover of The Dingoes['] song, Way Out West). It hit No. 2 on the Australian charts; Reyne's highest charting solo single.[9] Later that year he joined former Sherbet frontman Daryl Braithwaite, Jef Scott and Simon Hussey to create the album Company of Strangers, which spawned three Australian top 50 singles: "Motor City (I Get Lost)", "Sweet Love", "Daddy's Gonna Make You a Star". A fourth single released from the album, "Baby, You're a Rich Man", failed to enter the top 100.[9]

October 1994 saw the release of James's critically acclaimed fourth album on the RooArt label—The Whiff of Bedlam, recorded in Los Angeles with Stewart Levine. The singles released from the album were "Red Light Avenue", "Day in the Sun" (Dec 1994) and "It's Only Natural" (April 1995). James performed "Day in the Sun" on the Australian Music Awards held in Queensland on 7 December 1994. James also toured the album across Australia in the summer of 1994.[citation needed]

James and his band continued overseas to Europe, UK and South America. Recorded live in South America, the double-album "Live in Rio" was released in April 1996. A single edit of "Oh No, Not You Again (live)" was released to coincide with the album. In September 1996, James took to the Enmore Theatre stage in a David Atkins production of the musical Little Shop of Horrors.[10]

James returned to the studio in 1997 to work with producer Ashley Caddell. Now signed to Village Roadshow Music, the first release was "Brand New Emperor's Clothes" in October 1997. James continued to write and record new material throughout 1998/1999. Two more single releases, "Not Waving, Drowning" and "Wonderful Day" (1998) followed, and in 1999, the critically acclaimed Design For Living, which featured "Reno", "Little Criminals" and "Stranger Than Fiction."[citation needed] In 1999, he was a guest performer on John Farnham's "I Can't Believe He's 50 Tour". His duet with Farnham, "Don't You Know It's Magic", is included in John Farnham's album Live at the Regent Theatre.


After a few years' break between studio albums, Reyne signed with Liberation Music in Australia. In 2004 he released Speedboats for Breakfast, which included the singles "Bug" and "The Rainbow's Dead End". Of "Bug" James said: "I wanted to create a song out of playing the same four chords going round and round, building and growing all the time, with things coming in and dropping out. The listener knows there's transition but there's no real point where the change is obvious". This was followed in 2005 by the album ...And The Horse You Rode In On, which contained acoustic reworkings of some of his best-known solo and Australian Crawl compositions.[citation needed]

In late 2004, Australian dance producers Smash 'n' Grab remixed Australian Crawl's "Reckless", which peaked at #42 in Australia.[9]

Reyne hosted Dig, a music show on ABC2 (2006–2007), and made an appearance on The AFL Footy Show in Melbourne in 2006. In May 2007, he released a new studio album, Every Man a King, which features the singles "Light in the Tunnel" and "Little Man You've Had a Busy Day". Reyne said of the album; "If there's any theme to this album it's people being easily impressed. This silliness that they aspire to, the lives they read about in magazines. Their obsession with trash culture, the bizarre values we seem to live by. It's all just endlessly and perversely fascinating to me."[citation needed]

A second acoustic album, Ghost Ships, was released in early October 2007.[citation needed]


In April 2010 Reyne released, TCB (Taking Care of Business)), a collection of Elvis Presley covers, including "Viva Las Vegas", "Return To Sender" and "Burning Love". The album debuted at number 32 on the ARIA Albums chart.[9] He also appeared on "Hey Hey It's Saturday" and Channel 9's NRL The Footy Show (rugby league) in the week of 19 April 2010.[citation needed]

In November 2011, he released a single, "English Girls", followed by his most autobiographical song, "Capsize", in January 2012. Both songs feature on Reyne's album Thirteen (March 2012). The album Two more singles were released; "Whatcha Gonna Do About It?" and "Good Clean Fun".

James joined the team at MusicMAX in 2013 as a presenter.[citation needed]

In the Australia Day Honours of 2014, Reyne was recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division "for service to the performing arts as a singer/songwriter, and through support for a range of charitable organisations".[11]

Universal Records released a two-CD set, The Anthology, on 1 August 2014. The double album featured all of Reyne's earlier hits on Disc 1 and a collection of his more recent material and radio singles on the Disc 2. In late 2014 James launched a "James Reyne Plays Australian Crawl" series of shows across Australia. Performing only songs from the Australian Crawl catalogue, James stated it was the closest thing to a reunion as fans were ever to get.[citation needed]

Acting career[edit]

Reyne appeared in the TV drama Return to Eden. He also played Tina Turner's manager in the 1993 bio-movie about Tina's life What's Love Got to Do with It. In 2005 Reyne appeared as a guest actor in the telemovie The Postcard Bandit, which used music by Australian Crawl in its soundtrack.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Reyne is the older brother of drummer and TV presenter David Reyne. Their younger sister Elisabeth is married to Simon Hussey.[13] They co-produced Daryl Braithwaite's 1991 album Higher Than Hope.[14][15] Hussey produced and engineered Reyne's early albums and both were band mates in Company of Strangers, with Braithwaite, for the 1992 album of the same name and related singles.[16][17][18]

James Reyne is the father of Neighbours actor Jaime-Robbie Reyne.[19][20] He lives on the Mornington Peninsula with his partner, Tina, and a daughter.[21]


Albums (Australian Crawl)[edit]

Albums (solo)[edit]

  • James Reyne – Capitol (CDP7469412) (1987) AUS No. 4[9]
  • Hard Reyne – Capitol/EMI (CDP7918742) (1989) AUS No. 7[9]
  • Electric Digger Dandy – Virgin (VOZCD2050) (1991) AUS No. 3,[9]NZ No. 33[22]
  • Any Day Above Ground (E.P.) – Virgin (VOZCD120) (1 October 1991)
  • Any Day Above Ground (L.P.) – Charisma (91785-2) (1991 – USA-only version of Electric Digger Dandy)
  • The Best of James Reyne – EMI (7807582) (1992) AUS No. 16[9]
  • The Whiff of Bedlam – RooART (4509980932) (1994) AUS#20[9]
  • Live in Rio – RooART (2068300008) (1996) AUS #65[9]
  • Design for Living – Roadshow (101890-2) (1999)
  • Reckless: 1979–1995 – Raven (RVCD-83) (10 November 2000)
  • The Definitive Collection – EMI (5423512) (14 October 2002)
  • Speedboats for Breakfast – Liberation (LIBCD6093.2) (19 April 2004)
  • ...And the Horse You Rode In On – Liberation Blue (BLUE076.5) (2004) AUS #86[9]
  • Every Man a King – Liberation (LIBCD9239.5) (5 May 2007)
  • Ghost Ships – Liberation (LBN00010043) (1 October 2007)
  • One Night In Melbourne – Liberation (LMCD0063) (21 August 2009)
  • TCB – Liberation (LMCD0094) (9 April 2010) AUS #32[9]
  • Thirteen – MGM/Hammerhead Records (HHR1) (16 March 2012)
  • The Anthology – Universal (5353276) (1 August 2014)

Albums (Company of Strangers)[edit]

  • Company of Strangers – Columbia (COL 4720812) (1992) (AUS #9,[9] NZ #18[22])

Singles (solo)[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
1985 R.O.C.K. (with Lin Buckfield) 44
1987 Fall of Rome 5 33
Hammerhead 8
Rip It Up 34
1988 Heaven on a Stick 59
Motor's Too Fast 6 26
Always the Way 72
1989 House of Cards 17
One More River 22
Trouble in Paradise 75
1991 Slave 10
Any Day Above Ground 67
Some People 97
1992 Way Out West (with James Blundell) 2
Motor City (with Company of Strangers) 26 49
Sweet Love (with Company of Strangers) 21 32
1993 Daddy's Gonna Make You a Star! (with Company of Strangers) 35 28
Baby You're a Rich Man (with Company of Strangers)
1994 Red Light Avenue 32
1995 Day in the Sun 86
It's Only Natural 146
1996 Oh No Not You Again [Live Edit]
1997 Brand New Emperor's Clothes
1998 Not Waving Drowning
1999 Wonderful Today
2004 Bug
The Rainbow's Dead End
2005 She Don't Like That (with Smash 'n' Grab) 42
2007 Light in the Tunnel
Little Man You've Had A Busy Day
Mr. International
2010 Kentucky Rain
2011 English Girls
2012 Capsize
Whatcha Gonna Do About It?
Good Clean Fun


  1. ^ a b Holmgren, Magnus; Warnqvist, Stefan; Draper, Oliver; McDonough, Bill. "Australian Crawl". Australian Rock Database. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "James Reyne". Australian Rock Database. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b McFarlane, Ian (1999). Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop (doc). Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 1 March 2008. 
  4. ^ "Triple M's Essential 2007 Countdown". Triple M. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Atkinson, Ann; Linsay Knight; Margaret McPhee (1996). The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-898-3. 
  6. ^ Black, Martin (1–2 February 1986). "Last Wave Farewell". Western Mail (Western Mail Ltd). p. 1. 
  7. ^ "Spicks and Specks Episode Twenty Two". ABC. Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  8. ^ ""R.O.C.K." / "Under My Thumb"". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Australian chart peaks:
  10. ^ Little Shop of Horrors at AusStage: Performance opened 18 September 1996. Accessed 1 April 2015
  11. ^ "Australia Day 2014 Honours List OAM M-R" (PDF). Governor-General's office. 
  12. ^ "Born to Run". The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 May 2003
  13. ^ McFarlane, 'James Reyne' entry. Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Higher Than Hope – Daryl Braithwaite | Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Higher Than Hope". MSN Music. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  16. ^ McFarlane, 'Company of Strangers' entry. Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  17. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Company of Strangers". Australian Rock Database. Archived from the original on 1 November 2003. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Company of Strangers". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Internet Movie Database entry on Jaime-Robbie Reyne". IMDb. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  20. ^ "Jaime Robbie Reyne profile". Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  21. ^ Wilmoth, Peter (10 June 2007). "Home, James". The Age. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  22. ^ a b c New Zealand chart peaks:

External links[edit]