Ross Ryan

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Ross Ryan
Ryan in 2008
Background information
Birth nameRoss Edwin Ryan
Born (1950-12-13) 13 December 1950 (age 73)
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S.
OriginAlbany, Western Australia, Australia
GenresRock and roll, folk, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, producer, web designer
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1968–present
LabelsRR, EMI, Capitol, Aztec

Ross Edwin Ryan (born 13 December 1950) is an American-born Australian singer-songwriter and producer. His signature tune, "I Am Pegasus", was released in September 1973, which peaked at No. 2 on the Australian Singles. Its parent album, My Name Means Horse, was released in February 1974, which reached No. 3 on the Australian Album chart.


Early years[edit]

Ross Ryan was born on 13 December 1950, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[1] The family moved to Mount Manypeaks near Albany, Western Australia in 1959 where they settled on a sheep farm of 3,000 acres (1,200 ha).[1] By the age of 13 years he was writing songs and learning guitar.[1] Ryan attended Albany High, where he took the lead in The Music Man; and he produced a radio program, High School Half Hour, for the local station 6VA.[1] He joined a number of local bands including The Sett and Saffron.[1]

Ryan moved to Perth, undertook an electronics course and worked as an audio operator at a TV station, STW 9.[2] He started his musical career in 1968.[3] From mid-1970 to late 1971 Ryan used the station's facilities to record his debut album, Home Movies, which was self-funded on the RR label.[2] The local Perth radio station 6PM played tracks from his album.[1]


Early in 1972 Ross Ryan issued a split single with his track, "Sounds of Peppermint", backed by The Statesmen's "Keep on Truckin'".[2] In April it reached the Top 100 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[4] Ryan signed with a manager, Al Maricic, and started regular gigs at Gramps Wine Bar and played at university campuses. In September that year Ryan supported Roy Orbison for the Perth concert on his Australian tour.[2] Ryan got his break when Maricic heard that the proposed support act, comedian Joe Martin, had pulled out in Darwin. After the Perth gig Orbison's promoter booked Ryan for the remainder of the tour.[1]

Ryan signed with EMI Records and commenced his next album, A Poem You Can Keep, with Peter Dawkins producing, which was released in March 1973.[2] By that time Ryan had moved to Sydney. The album was arranged by Peter Martin and engineered by Martin Benge; and was issued on Capitol Records in the United States.[1] In July its lead single, "I Don't Want to Know About It", reached the Top 40 on Go-Set's Singles Chart.[2][5] Ryan won Record of the Year and Best New Talent at the Australian Record Federation Awards for 1973.[6]

At the end of that year he toured the US playing the club circuit.[2] In Australia Ryan has performed on campus tours, at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with the Hector Crawford Orchestra, at the Sydney Opera House and at the Sunbury Pop Festival (January 1974).[2][7] He has supported tours by international acts, The Hollies (May 1973), Helen Reddy (November 1973),[8] Roberta Flack (1977), Michael Franks, Roger Miller and Dr. Hook (1977).[2]

In September 1973 a new single, "I Am Pegasus", was released and became his highest-charting hit, which reached No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart.[5] Over that time, the single reached No. 1 in almost every state capital, but not at the same time.[1][3] APRAP's Debbie Kruger interviewed Ryan in 2002 and he explained how he had merged two songs to form "I Am Pegasus":

One was about the fact that I had just discovered that Ross means horse; I’d looked it up in a baby book, and I thought that was really funny ... also at the time I was having a really disastrous attempt at a relationship with an air hostess. It didn't work out, so I was writing a song about that ... I was writing two songs and getting nowhere with them, so I combined them and got a flying horse. And I came up with Pegasus ... I looked up all the things that rhymed with Pegasus and I got Dimitrius and Sagittarius. And of course the Sagittarian's the half-man half-horse.

— Ross Ryan, APRAP, March 2002, [9]

The parent album, My Name Means Horse, was released in February 1974, it is Ryan's most successful album, which reached No. 3 on the Australian Albums chart[5] and was certified triple gold.[10] At the 1974 TV Week King of Pop Awards, My Name Means Horse won Most Popular Australian Album.[11][12] Then Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, presented Ryan's first gold records for the album My Name Means Horse and the single "I am Pegasus".[2] Ryan represented Australia at Expo '74 in Spokane, Washington, with Judy Stone and Rolf Harris.[2]

During the mid-to-late 1970s, Ryan was a guest on various TV shows, including The Paul Hogan Show and Hey Hey It's Saturday.[13] He hosted his own pop TV program, Rock Show, and continued to release albums including After the Applause (June 1975) and Smiling for the Camera (April 1977). Singles from After the Applause, were "Blue Chevrolet Ballerina", released in March 1975, which reached the Top 40 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart, and "Sedel (Never Smiled at Me)" (August) which did not chart.[2][4] Smiling for the Camera provided "Happy Birthday to Me" (August 1976), which did not chart. Ryan left EMI and at the end of 1977, they released a compilation album, I Thought This Might Happen 1973 – 77. The following year, Ryan, with Mike Meade (co-host of Flashez), hosted, wrote and acted in a half-hour comedy TV show, Give 'Em Heaps, on Australian Broadcasting Corporation for twenty episodes.[1]


Ross Ryan continued songwriting and released independent singles, some of his tracks were covered by other artists including John Farnham who had recorded "I Must Stay" on his 1975 album J.P. Farnham Sings;[14] and Slim Dusty recorded "Isa" which was also used in the bio-pic Slim Dusty: The Movie (1984).[15][16] In 1988 he performed at the Australian National University.[17]

In 1990, Ryan co-wrote a revue, Les Boys (A Masculine Sensation), with comedians Rod Quantock, Lynda Gibson and Geoff Brooks.[2] In the early 1990s Ryan and Broc O'Connor established a studio, G.I. Recorders,[2] where Ryan was a record producer for acts in a range of music styles including blues with Spectrum, country with Paul Wookey, traditional Irish with The Wren Boys.[1][18] In 1998 he produced Dale Juner's album, Only Burning Me, which won Victorian Country Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year for Juner.[1][19] In 1990 EMI, through its budget label, Axis Records released another compilation album, The Greats of Ross 1973–1990, which also included previously unreleased material.[2]

2000 and beyond[edit]

In October 2003 Ross Ryan issued a new studio album, One Person Queue. Keith Glass of Capital News felt the album was "finely manicured and honed work with an astounding variety of styles and sounds".[18] In addition to his own solo shows across Australia, Ryan supported Carole King during her Australian tour, and was a member of Idol and Idle with Australian Idol judge Mark Holden.[18] Also in October 2003 "I Am Pegasus" was described as a "national anthem" on ABC TV's pop music series Love Is in the Air.[20][21]

In May 2007, Aztec Music re-released My Name Means Horse on CD format, additional tracks are "Blood on the Microphone (Piña Colada Version)" and "I Am Pegasus" (1974 live version, from Get to Know, an ABC TV show).[22] Plans for future releases include CD versions of the EMI albums, A Poem You Can Keep, After the Applause and Smiling for the Camera. Another compilation album appeared in 2008, The Difficult Third Compilation, distributed by Aztec Music, it includes a new track.

In February 2019, to celebrate 45 years since the release of "My Name Means Horse", Silvan fruit shop 'Carter Bros. Fruit & Veg' ran a social media campaign where they played "My Name Means Horse" on repeat non-stop for 45 days. Ross Ryan appeared in the fruit shop and played a few songs.


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with Australian chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart
  • Released: October 1971
  • Format: LP
  • Label: MX-36365
A Poem You Can Keep 22
My Name Means Horse
  • Released: February 1974
  • Format: LP, cassette
  • Label: EMI Music (EMA-301)
After the Applause
  • Released: June 1975
  • Format: LP, cassette
  • Label: EMI Music (EMA-313)
Smiling for the Camera
  • Released: April 1977
  • Format: LP, cassette
  • Label: EMI Music (EMC. 2571)
One Person Queue
  • Released: November 2003
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sound Vault Records (SV0394)

Compilations albums[edit]

Title Album details
I Thought This Might Happen 1973 – 77
  • Released: December 1977
  • Format: LP, Cassette
  • Label: EMI (EMC 2616)
The Greats of Ross 1973 – 90'
  • Released: 1990
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Axis, EMI (CDAX 701625)
The Difficult Third Compilation
  • Released: 2008
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Coathanger Productions (COAT001)
Stuff (Rarities & Silliness)
  • Released: 2008
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Coathanger Productions (COAT002)


List of singles, with Australian chart positions
Year Title Peak chart
1972 "Sounds of Peppermint" 97 non album single
1973 "I Don't Want to Know About It" 56 A Poem You Can Keep
"I Am Pegasus" 2 My Name Means Horse
1974 "Orchestra Ladies" 67
1975 "Blue Chevrolet Ballerina" 38 After The Applause
"Sedel (Never Smiled at Me)" -
1976 "Happy Birthday to Me" - Smiling for the Camera
1977 "Who Am I?" -
"Dancing" -
1980 "Chaplin and Harlow" - non album single
1981 "Hello Stranger" - non album single
2003 "Cool River" - One Person Queue

Awards and nominations[edit]

King of Pop Awards[edit]

The King of Pop Awards were voted by the readers of TV Week. The King of Pop award started in 1967 and ran through to 1978.[11]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1974 My Name Means Horse Most Popular Australian Album Won


  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2013. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • McHenry, Paul (1996). Ross Ryan: Thought this Might Happen. Golden Square, Victoria: Moonlight Publishing. ISBN 978-0-95865-151-6.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kimball, Duncan; Meade, Mike; Ryan, Ross (2002). "Ross Ryan". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o McFarlane, 'Ross Ryan' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2004). Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b Powerhouse Museum; MacDonald, Damian (April 2009). "Poster, rock music, Ross Ryan". Powerhouse Museum, Australia. Retrieved 14 March 2013. This poster has significance as a record of music in youth culture in the 1980s. It helps to illustrate how poster art was used to communicate information to a mass audience about rock music performances in city and suburban venues, and to promote newly released records. Ross Ryan is an Australian music artist who began his career in 1968. Ryan has been performing and has released eleven albums from the late 1960s to present. Ryan's signature song "I Am Pegasus" was a number-one chart hit in nearly every Australian state in the mid-1970s. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam presented Ryan with his first gold record, My Name Means Horse. Ross Ryan continues to write, record and perform original music, and has been an influence on Australian folk music.
  4. ^ a b c 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.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Search results for 'Ross Ryan'". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  6. ^ Australian Record Awards; Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters (1973). "Proceedings of the 1973 Australian Record Awards". Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Episode 3: Billy Killed the Fish 1968–1973". Long Way to the Top. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 22 November 2002. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Is Helen a home bird at heart?". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 21 November 1973. p. 12. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  9. ^ Kruger, Debbie (March 2002). "They Wrote the Songs: Songwriters discuss the stories and inspirations behind their most famous songs". APRAP. Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Australasian Performing Right Association Newsletter – March 2002" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  11. ^ a b "Australian Music Awards". Ron Jeff. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Pop Archives". Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  13. ^ "No Flurry in Hogan's World". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 18 September 1974. p. 7. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  14. ^ "'I Must Stay' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  15. ^ "'Isa' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  16. ^ Ross Ryan at IMDb
  17. ^ "Spare times". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 6 October 1988. p. 30. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  18. ^ a b c Glass, Keith (December 2003). "A Queue to Renew". Capital News. Vol. 28, no. 12. Rural Press. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  19. ^ "Featured Artist – Dale Juner". Country Music Bulletin. ICMB Publishing. 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Transcript of Episode 3: 'Strange Fruit'". Love Is in the Air. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 26 October 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  21. ^ Lawrie Zion (10 October 2003). "The music of memories". The Age. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  22. ^ Ryan, Ross (2007), My Name Means Horse, Aztec Music, retrieved 15 March 2013
  23. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 262. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ My Name Means Horse (CD). Ross Ryan. Aztec Music. 2007.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]