Moving Pictures (band)

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Moving Pictures
Moving Pictures singer Alex Smith onstage.jpg
Moving Pictures singer Alex Smith onstage
Background information
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresPop rock
Years active1980 (1980)–1987 (1987), 2005, 2011-present
LabelsNetwork, Epic, Elektra
MembersJimmy Barnes
Garry Frost
Ian Lees
Alex Smith
Mark Meyer
Scott Simpkins
Past membersPaul Freeland
Joey Amenta
Kevin Bennett
Andy Thompson

Moving Pictures are an Australian rock music band formed in 1980.[1] Their debut album, Days of Innocence, was issued in October 1981 and eventually peaked at No. 1 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart in February the following year. In January 1982, they released their single, "What About Me", which reached No. 1 on the Kent Singles Chart. Later that year, Elektra Records issued Days of Innocence and "What About Me" in North America. The single reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and appeared on the associated year-end Hot 100 list for 1983. A proposed series of United States performances supporting REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty, and Hall & Oates fell through when Elektra was substantially reorganised.

In November 1982, another single, "Winners", peaked at No. 12 in Australia. In October 1983, their second album, Matinee, was released. It reached No. 16 and, of its four singles, only the lead single, "Back to the Streets", reached the Top 40. Their non-album single "Never" was used for two film soundtracks, Footloose (1984) and Hot Rod (2007). By the end of 1987, the group had disbanded. The band reformed in 2011 with annual tours.



Moving Pictures were formed in Sydney in 1980 with Charlie Cole on keyboards and trumpet; Paul Freeland on drums; Garry Frost on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; Ian Lees on bass guitar (ex-This Side Up); Alex Smith on vocals and guitar (Bilgola Bop Band, This Side Up); and Andrew Thompson on saxophone (Bilgola Bop Band).[2][3][4] Initially they performed as a "hard working, R&B-inspired pub-rock outfit", playing up to 250 shows a year, with their early influences being Bruce Springsteen, Graham Parker and Van Morrison.[2][5] In early 1981 Moving Pictures were signed to the Wheatley management team – run by former Masters Apprentices' bass guitarist Glenn Wheatley – and the allied Wheatley Records label.[2][5] Their debut single, "Bustin' Loose", broke into the Top 50 on the Kent Singles Chart in October.[5][6]

Their debut album, Days of Innocence, also appeared in October 1981 and initially failed to reach the Top 40 on the Kent Albums Chart.[2][6] It was produced by Charles Fisher (Radio Birdman, The Radiators, Air Supply).[3][7] The band's live show was all about their rock leanings but the album featured strong ballads that belied that live rock act.[4] In January 1982 they issued another single, "What About Me", which remained at No. 1 for six weeks early that year.[2][6] Renewed interest in the album saw it reach No. 1 in February on the Kent Albums Chart.[2][6] The album became the fourth-highest-selling album of the year.[8] "What About Me" won the 'Best Single' category at the 1982 Countdown Awards.[2] It was the second-highest-selling single in Australia for 1982, behind Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".[8]

The album's third single, "Sweet Cherie", from Days of Innocence peaked at 51, while the fourth and final single, "Winners", reached No. 12 in November.[2][6] By that time Freeland had been replaced on drums by Mark Meyer (ex-Stylus, Richard Clapton Band, Mark Gillespie Band).[2][3] Moving Pictures had signed to the Elektra distribution label in the United States, which issued Days of Innocence and "What About Me" in North America.[2] The single reached No. 29 on the Billboard pop singles chart,[9] spending 26 weeks inside the Billboard Hot 100. It made Billboard's year-end Hot 100 list for 1983, at No. 88[10] – a rare feat for a single with such a low peak position. The song made an unusual comeback in 1989, peaking at No. 46.[9] On the eve of their planned US tour to capitalise on their success there, Elektra was substantially reorganised and their relationship collapsed.[2][9] The tour was to include support slots with REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty and Hall & Oates as well as their own headlining shows.[2][5] In hindsight this was Moving Pictures' best opportunity to enter the US market, but it was ruined.[4]

In October 1983 their second album, Matinee, also produced by Fisher, was released.[2][3] It reached No. 16 in Australia and, of its four singles, only "Back to the Streets", reached the Top 40.[6] The album captured more of the band's live show feel and rock leanings. Late in 1983 the band toured Japan. Due to band problems Frost left the group in 1984, saying "the group had lost direction".[2][4] He was temporarily replaced on guitar by Joey Amenta (ex-Taste, Redhouse, Russell Morris Band, Wendy and the Rockets) until Kevin Bennett (Allied Harp, Wild Colonial Boys) joined the line-up in 1985.[2][3][9] The group continued to tour domestically and had gained a strong, loyal following. In May 1987 they undertook the Live Picture Show Tour and disbanded afterwards.[2][3] In December that year the next album, The Last Picture Show, based on the tour was issued.[2][3]

1987-present: Post Moving Pictures[edit]

Ex-Moving Pictures members have undertaken various musical careers:

  • Charlie Cole initially worked in Los Angeles, in 1990 he joined Frost's band, 1927.[3] He has recorded work in America with members of the Blues Brothers Band, with James Blundell (in Nashville) and did session work for various individuals and bands including Ed Kuepper. In 1999 Cole returned to Australia and joined The Shuffle Kings in which, as from 2003, he played trumpet, recorder, keyboards and the piano accordion.[4]
  • Garry Frost left Moving Pictures in 1984 feeling the group had lost direction. He concentrated on his song-writing and piano playing – so much so that he developed tendonitis in his wrists.[4] In 1987 he formed a pop-rock group, 1927, with Eric Weideman, whom he had seen performing on Hey Hey It's Saturday's "Red Faces" talent segment.[3][11] Whilst with 1927, Frost also worked with Gyan co-writing her 1989 hit "Wait". "Wait" was the first single from her self-titled debut album, which won an ARIA award and was certified platinum. In 1990 Frost left 1927, and became co-partner in a Sydney post production studio, he continued writing, performing and producing. Some of Frost's work in the early 2000s was with Sydney singer-songwriter, Djamel[4] and vocalist Carlie Fairburn.
  • Ian Lees formed the blues band, Chasin' the Train, with fellow former Moving Pictures member Kevin Bennett.[3] Lees then became a session bass guitarist, he played with Mal Eastick and Lee Kernaghan. Over his career he has played for The Wild Colonial Boys, Tommy Emmanuel, Tania Kernaghan, Mondo Rock, Phil Emmanuel, Gina Jeffreys, Matt Taylor, and Kevin Borich.[4]
  • Alex Smith formed Alex Smith and the Volunteers aka Alex Smith and DBM, in 1989.[3] The line up included Ben Little (ex-Pink Slips) on guitar, Lee Borkman (Scribble) on keyboards, Dave Carter on bass guitar and Mark O'Shea on drums. In 1991 Smith fronted The Blues Liners, which released a single, "This Time Tomorrow", recorded at Alberts Studios.
  • Andy Thompson became a session musician, he contributed a saxophone solo on Elton John's track, "Li'l 'Frigerator", from his 1984 album, Breaking Hearts. While a member of Moving Pictures Thompson had worked for Mark Gillespie in 1982 and then with Australian Crawl in 1983 for their album, Semantics. He contributed to Jenny Morris' 1987 album, Body And Soul.[4] He toured with Cold Chisel and played with Dire Straits on their Brothers in Arms tour.
  • Kevin Bennett, after forming Chasin' the Train with Lees, went on to blues, roots band, The Flood.[3][4]
  • Mark Meyer joined Chasin' the Train alongside Lees and Bennett.[3] He has performed in Wendy Matthews touring band and together with Lees have both been long term rhythm section for James Blundell. Meyer and Lees have also worked with Australian guitarist-singer Lawrie Minson and Lee Kernaghan.[4]
  • Original drummer Paul Freeland left the music business to focus on a career in wood-sculpting. Having received formal training as a metallurgist before joining the band, he would also go on to teach manual arts at The School of Performing Arts in Newtown. He died of complications from Alzheimer's in April 2020.[12]

2005: Reunion[edit]

In 2005 Moving Pictures reformed as an acoustic trio, with Smith and Cole joined by Dave Carter (ex Alex Smith and DBM), for 26 performances throughout New South Wales and Queensland.[13] In July 2011, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the initial release of Days of Innocence, Moving Pictures reformed with the line-up of Cole, Frost, Lees, Meyer, Smith and Thompson.[14][15][16] They performed in Melbourne and Sydney, including an appearance on breakfast TV show, Sunrise, performing their signature song.[15] Smith described the reformation "this line-up and this band hasn't been in the same room together since 1984 ... I'm just going to play it by ear – same as I used to do every day in the past [...] It will be like, 'What are we here for? We're here to play and have a great time'".[17]


In February 2004 Moving Pictures' hit single, "What About Me", was covered by Australian Idol (2003) runner-up Shannon Noll, which peaked at No. 1 on the ARIA Singles Chart – for four weeks.[18] Noll liked the original, "it's just a great song about average people, and there are a lot of us out there ... I didn't mess around with it heaps, I just sang it as honest as possible".[19] "What About Me" is the first Australian single to achieve No. 1 on two separate occasions by two different artists.[19]

Their song, "Never", was used as part of the soundtrack for two films, 1984's Footloose and 2007's Hot Rod.[20][21][22] In both cases the song accompanied the film's star doing a punchdance routine.[23][24][25] The punchdance routine was also parodied in the Family Guy season 12 episode "Baby Got Black".[26] The band have indicated that due to the bankruptcy of their U.S. record company, and unfortunate timing of the release of "Never", they had not received any royalties whatsoever for the track.[17][27][26]

In 2000, BMG Australia released an album, Days of Innocence – The Ultimate Collection, which has remastered tracks from their debut album (reproducing its original cover art), with bonus tracks from Matinee and a couple non-album single sides, such as "Never".[28][29]


  • Charlie Cole - keyboards, trumpet (1978-1987, 2005, 2011–present)
  • Alex Smith - vocals, guitar (1978-1987, 2005, 2011–present)
  • Garry Frost - guitar, keyboards (1978-1983, 2011–present)
  • Ian Lees – bass (1978-1987, 2011–present)
  • Andy Thompson – saxophone (1978-1987, 2011–2016)
  • Andy Bickers – saxophone (2017-2018)
  • Scott Simpkins – saxophone (2018–present)
  • Paul Freeland – drums (1978-1982)
  • Mark Meyer – drums (1982-1987, 2011–present)
  • Joey Amenta – guitar (1983-1985)
  • Kevin Bennett - guitar, keyboards (1985-1987)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
1981 Days of Innocence
  • Released: October 1981
  • Label: Wheatley Records (WBEX 1005)
  • Format: LP, Cassette
1 101
  • AUS: 3× Platinum[31]
1983 Matinee
  • Released: October 1983
  • Label: Wheatley Records (WBEX 1010)
  • Format: LP, Cassette
16 -
2015 Picture This
  • Released: 9 October 2015[32]
  • Format: DD
- -

Live albums[edit]

Year Title
1987 The Last Picture Show
  • Released: 30 November 1987
  • Label: Wheatley Records (SPCD 1022)
  • Format: CD, LP

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title
2000 Days of Innocence – The Ultimate Collection
  • Released: 2000
  • Label: BMG (74321720302)
  • Format: CD


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
1981 "Bustin' Loose" 43 - Days of Innocence
1982 "What About Me" 1 29
"Sweet Cherie" 51 -
"Winners" 12 -
1983 "Back to the Streets" 37 - Matinee
"Where they Belong" 80 -
"Back to the Blues and Booze" 80 -
1984 "Never" - - Footloose soundtrack
1987 "What About Me" (Live) - 46 The Last Picture Show

Awards and nominations[edit]

Countdown Australian Music Awards[edit]

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974 to 1987, it presented music awards from 1979 to 1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week. The TV Week / Countdown Awards were a combination of popular-voted and peer-voted awards.[34]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1981 themselves Best New Talent Nominated
1982 "What About Me?" Best Single Won
themselves Most Popular Group Nominated
1983 Charles Fisher for work with Moving Pictures Best Record Producer of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ "Moving Pictures - The Last Picture Show - Live (liner notes)". Moving Pictures Official Website. 1987. Retrieved 25 October 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Moving Pictures'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 July 2004.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Holmgren, Magnus. "Moving Pictures". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Where are they now? – Moving Pictures". Newsletter. No. 107. 15–21 February 2004. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "Moving Pictures lead to the sound of 1927". RetroUniverse. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h 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 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  7. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Charles Fisher". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b Cameron, Angus, ed. (1986). "Part Three: Facts and Figures: Australian National Top Ten Best-Selling Albums and Singles 1974–1985". The Second Australian Almanac: An 800-page Databank Crammed with Essential Information for Every Australian. North Ryde, NSW: Angus & Robertson. p. 346. ISBN 0-207-15232-2.
  9. ^ a b c d Swift, Brendan. "Moving Pictures > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  10. ^ "The Top 100 Pop Singles of 1983". Retrieved 7 April 2007.
  11. ^ Swift, Brendan. "1927 > Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. ^ Doyle, Pip (20 April 2020). "Original 'Moving Pictures' Member Passes Away After Alzheimer's Battle". 96FM Perth. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  13. ^ Zuel, Bernard (13 August 2005). "What about them?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  14. ^ Cashmere, Tim (1 May 2011). "Moving Pictures Reunite for Sydney and Melbourne Shows". (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Moving Pictures Tour Dates". Sunrise. Seven Network. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  16. ^ Moving Pictures - 'What About Me' (live on Sunrise 21-7-2011) Retrieved 1-20-2013.
  17. ^ a b Spree, Kylie (1 May 2011). "Return to Innocence for Iconic Eighties Band Moving Pictures". The Sunday Telegraph. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  18. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Shannon Noll – 'What About Me'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  19. ^ a b Jenkins, Jeff; Meldrum, Ian (2007). "40 Great Australian Songs". Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1.
  20. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Footloose [Original Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  21. ^ Deming, Mark, Hot Rod [Original Soundtrack], Allmusic. Rovi Corporation
  22. ^ "Hot Rod - soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  23. ^ Rod, Kimble. Hot Rod. I needed to think last night. So I galloped into a wooded glen, and after punch dancing out my rage and suffering an extremely long and very painful fall, I realized what has to be done.
  24. ^ Larnick, Eric (10 August 2011). "'Footloose' Star Kenny Wormald on Updating a Classic '80s Soundtrack With the White Stripes". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015. there is one track -- central to the film -- that doesn't appear on the soundtrack. That's the song Ren McCormack punch-dances to all by himself in an abandoned factory, in one of the great frustration-venting scenes in pop-cinema history. So what does Ren McCormack punch-dance to when he needs to left off some steam in the year 2011?
  25. ^ Stafford, James (28 December 2013). "The Good Men Playlist: Choosing Your 2014 Montage Song". The Good Men Project. If you'd rather punch dance your anger out, stick with Footloose.
  26. ^ a b Cashmere, Paul (29 April 2014). "Moving Pictures Family Guy Synch Is Bittersweet For Alex Smith". Noise11. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  27. ^ "Moving Pictures: Never paid for 'Never'". Newcastle Live!. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  28. ^ "Days of Innocence - The Ultimate Collection". Amazon. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  29. ^ Moving Pictures (Musical group) (2000), The Ultimate Collection, BMG Australia. National Library of Australia, retrieved 17 March 2013, Includes all the songs from Moving Pictures' 1982 album, Days of Innocence, all the singles released afterwards and choice cuts from their second album, Matinee.
  30. ^ a b "Moving Pictures Chart History".
  31. ^ "Moving Pictures back on stage to mark 35 years of their big hit". The Daily Telegraph. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  32. ^ "/".
  33. ^ "Platinum and Gold Singles 1982". Kent Music Report. 28 February 1983. Retrieved 10 November 2021 – via Imgur.
  34. ^ "Countdown to the Awards" (Portable document format (PDF)). Countdown Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). March 1987. Retrieved 16 December 2010.

External links[edit]