Ross D. Wyllie

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Ross D. Wyllie
Born c. 1943/1944[1]
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Genres Pop music
Occupation(s) Singer, television presenter, produced, public relations
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1964–present
Labels Sunshine, Festival, Fable
Associated acts The Kodiaks
The Escorts

Ross D. Wyllie (c. 1943/44) is an Australian pop music singer and television presenter and producer from the 1960s and 1970s. Wyllie had a Top 20 hit with his cover of Ray Stevens' song "Funny Man" and an Australian No. 1 with "The Star", both in 1969. Originally from Brisbane, Wyllie hosted Uptight, a weekly four-hour music series, on Channel 0 in Melbourne between 1967 and 1969. In 1970 he followed with a similar show, Happening '70, and from 1978 to 1980, he presented films on a late-night time slot.

Life and career[edit]

Ross D. Wyllie was born and raised in Brisbane.[2][3] In 1964, he joined a pop band, the Kodiaks, as lead singer. By 1967, as a solo artist, he signed with the Ivan Daymans record label Sunshine Records label and released a debut single, "Short Skirts". He was backed by label-mates the Escorts.[2] His next single, "A Bit of Love", followed using only studio musicians.

Wyllie relocated to Melbourne and, on 28 October 1967, became the host of a new pop music television show, Uptight for local Channel 0. He signed with Festival Records and released the non-charting single "Smile" in April 1968. Uptight was a weekly four-hour series that ran until 1969 with Wyllie as its host.[2][4] Molly Meldrum was a regular member of the on-air team. A Calendar label LP (R66-522) was issued in about 1969 named Uptight Party Time by Ross D. Wyllie and the Uptight Party Team. The album contains two side long medleys of then current songs such as "Midnight Hour", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Day Tripper".

Wyllie had a No. 17 hit on Go-Set's National Top 40 in July 1969, with his cover of Ray Stevens' song "Funny Man".[5][6] His National No. 1 hit, "The Star", followed in November.[7] "The Star", written by Johnny Young, was later covered by United Kingdom act Herman's Hermits as "Here Comes the Star".[4]

In 1970, Uptight was replaced on Channel 0 by a one-hour pop music series, Happening '70, with Wyllie retained as host. In April, he released a double-A-sided single, "Free Born Man" / "My Little Girl", but its sales were affected by the radio ban, during which commercial stations refused to play recordings by Festival Records (among others) from May to October.[8] Wyllie left Happening '70 to return to Brisbane in late 1970.[2]

In 1971, Wyllie signed with the Fable label and released "He Gives Us All His Love" in April. He followed with "It Takes Time" in August and "Sweet White Dove" in May 1972. He then turned to the pub and club circuit. Eventually he formed a production company with fellow pop artist Ronnie Burns and artist manager Jeff Joseph. With Tony Healy, he also created a public relations company. In the late 1970s he presented a late-night movie show on Melbourne's Channel 0–10.[2]

During the mid 1970s Wyllie opened and operated a small record shop in High Street Bayswater (Vic) known as Arch Rivals but his well established fame known to many of the 20+ fans was lost on the young teenagers who would visit the shop after school to peruse the selection of 45's or 33's (Vinyl Records) that were available, or even just to get that weeks latest free 3XY top 40 listings sheet. Wyllie with his distinctive limp always seemed unwelcoming to the visiting teenagers entering his small but popular shop and would often just sit and watch them looking around, eventually putting a sign up advising no school bags were allowed in the shop (a pioneer of the sign for the 1970s).

In May 1988, Festival Records released Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten, a compilation album of Wyllie's singles, as a part of their Festival File series.[9] In a review of the collection for The Canberra Times, Stuart Coupe said: "Star of Uptight, Wyllie's run of hits ended in the early '70s. This is probably the least interesting of the albums in this series, but at worst is a curio item."[9] In August 2003, Wyllie performed an Uptight themed variety show at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, reuniting with other 1960s performers.[10]


Compilation albums[edit]

  • "Uptight – Party Time" (Calendar – Festival, R66-522, 1969)
  • TV Week Presents: Super Sounds of Happening '71 (Festival Records, SR66-9812, 1971)
  • Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten (Festival Records, 1988)


  • "Short Skirts" (Sunshine, 1967)
  • "A Bit of Love" (Sunshine, 1967)
  • "Smile" (Festival Records, April 1968)
  • "Funny Man" (Festival Records, June 1969) AUS #17
  • "The Star" (Festival Records, September 1969) AUS #1
  • "Free Born Man" / "My Little Girl" (Festival Records, April 1970)
  • "He Gives Us All His Love" (Fable Label, April 1971)
  • "It Takes Time" (Fable Label, August 1971)
  • "Sweet White Dove" (Fable Label, May 1972)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GoFundMe pager 60s pop star Ross D. Wylllie". 
  2. ^ a b c d e McFarlane (1999). Encyclopedia entry for 'Ross D. Wyllie' at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 April 2004). Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  3. ^ "'Childs Dream' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The Star". Where Did They Get That Song?. PopArchives (Lyn Nuttall). Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  5. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed (19 July 1969). "Go-Set National Top 40 with Ed Nimmervoll". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Funny Man". Where Did They Get That Song?. PopArchives (Lyn Nuttall). Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  7. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed (15 November 1969). "Go-Set National Top 40 with Ed Nimmervoll". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  8. ^ Kent, David Martin (September 2002). "The place of Go-Set in rock and pop music culture in Australia, 1966 to 1974" (Portable Document Format(PDF)). Canberra, ACT: University of Canberra: 265–269.  |chapter= ignored (help) Note: This PDF is 282 pages.
  9. ^ a b Coupe, Stuart (29 May 1988). "Music: New Release a Festival of Australian Memories". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995). National Library of Australia. p. 18. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Cashmere, Paul. (28 July 2003), "Melbourne Gets Uptight" at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 December 2003). Undercover Music News (Undercover Media). Retrieved on 20 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Who's who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry". catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

External links[edit]