Russell Morris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Australian footballer, see Russell Morris (footballer). For the Welsh cricketer, see Russell Morris (cricketer).
Russell Morris
Russell Morris 2014.jpg
Russell Morris at the 2014 ARIA Music Awards, Sydney, November 26th, 2014
Background information
Birth name Russell Norman Morris
Born (1948-07-31) 31 July 1948 (age 66)
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1966–present
Labels EMI
Festival Records
Mushroom Records
Associated acts Somebody's Image
Russell Morris Band
Russell Morris & the Rubes

Russell Norman Morris (born 31 July 1948) is an Australian singer-songwriter who had five Australian Top 10 singles during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] On 1 July 2008, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) recognised Morris' iconic status when he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.[2][3]

The Real Thing was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry in 2013.[4]


Morris' career started at the age of 18, in September 1966, with the formation of the Melbourne group Somebody's Image, together with Kevin Thomas (rhythm guitar), Phillip Raphael (lead guitar), Eric Cairns (drums) and Les Allan (aka "Les Gough") (bass guitar).[5] Somebody's Image rose to prominence with a local hit version of the Joe South song "Hush".[6] (the song reaching #2 on the local Melbourne charts)[7]


The band came to the notice of the Groop and, in turn, the Groop's friend and local music identity Ian Meldrum. Meldrum convinced Morris to leave Somebody's Image for a solo career. Meldrum, as Morris's manager and producer, spent considerable hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza around a song called "The Real Thing".

"The Real Thing"[edit]

"The Real Thing" was written by Johnny Young, produced by Ian Meldrum and engineered by John L Sayers.[8] The backing track was performed by members of Melbourne soul band the Groop, which included Brian Cadd, Richard Wright (drums) and Don Mudie (bass) as well as Zoot guitarist Roger Hicks (who developed the acoustic guitar riff) and backing vocalists Ronnie Charles (The Groop), the Chiffons (including Maureen Elkner) and Marcie and The Cookies' Sue Brady and Judy Condon. Morris was twenty when the record was released.

"The Real Thing" is one of the classic psychedelic singles of the 1960s. The release unsettled radio programmers, who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, and a shortened version which omitted the extended coda was often played. At around six minutes and thirty seconds, it was the longest pop single recorded in Australia at that time, although The Beatles' "Hey Jude" at nearly 7 minutes had appeared the year before and is an obvious influence on the song's extended structure. The single reached Australia's Number 1 spot in June 1969, and number one in Chicago, Houston and New York, despite international distribution difficulties. It was the biggest selling Australian single of 1969.

The single featured the song in two parts, backed with "It's Only a Matter of Time", written by Hans Poulsen. It was released on EMI's Columbia label in Australia, on the small Diamond Records label in the United States of America, and on Decca Records in the UK as EMI UK turned it down.[5]

In more recent times, "The Real Thing" has been used by the Seven Network in conjunction with coverage of the Australian Football League (AFL) and featured in a tourist campaign promoting Western Australia. Morris's music has also appeared on the soundtrack to The Dish and he has appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) show Long Way to the Top. In the early 2010s he toured Australia with fellow 1960s rockers Darryl Cotton and Jim Keays in the trio Cotton Keays & Morris.

"The Real Thing" has been included on many compilations of psychedelic rock, most notably Rubble 18, We Can Fly #4 and The Best Of The Rubble Collection #5, where it is paired with "Part 3 / Into Paper Walls."

Russell Morris' 2002 retrospective album The Real Thing

The song was followed by "Part Three into Paper Walls", co-written by Young and Morris and arranged by John Farrar and the B-side "The Girl That I Love" arranged by Peter Jones (a pop ballad more indicative of what was to come). Both tracks received extensive airplay making it a double number one recording, the first time an Australian artist had scored consecutive number ones with their first two singles. Just prior to its release, Ian Meldrum relinquished Morris' management. Morris, in the meantime, travelled to the United Kingdom to help promote "The Real Thing." While in England he recorded English songwriter Raymond Froggatt's "Rachel", but re-recorded it on his return to Australia. "Rachel" became a big hit for Morris in New Zealand, where it reached #1 in July of 1970. Later hits such as "Live with Friends" and "Wings of an Eagle" were Morris compositions.

Morris decided to concentrate on his own songwriting and with the cream of Australian musicians, spent almost a year painstakingly recording and re-recording what became the Bloodstone album. Recorded at Channel 9's TCS Studios and engineered by John L Sayers, it was one of the first Australian albums of its kind, the first from an Australian singer/songwriter, and a whole world away from the extravagant "The Real Thing." The hit single from Bloodstone was the resonant, romantic "Sweet Sweet Love." The following year, in 1972, Morris released "Wings of an Eagle."

New York[edit]

In 1973, Morris moved to London to record an album only to discover there was no record contract waiting for him. He relocated to New York and set to work on an album there, including new versions of both "Sweet Sweet Love" and "Wings of an Eagle" and the single "Let's Do It". A second American album appeared in 1976. It was two more years before Morris was granted his green card, enabling him to tour America. But by then, any chance of an American career had bolted. Instead, Morris returned to a very different Australia than the one he had left behind five years earlier.


During his solo career, Morris had done limited live performances without a band of his own. He then formed the Russell Morris Band and threw himself into a busy round of live performances, writing songs designed to be played live rather than chasing radio airplay, but scoring a couple of minor hits on the way. Eventually, the band played and recorded as Russell Morris & the Rubes.

In 1991, Morris released another solo album, A Thousand Suns, and spent the subsequent years as part of a successful performing trio with fellow 1960s singers Ronnie Burns and Darryl Cotton of Zoot, with a repertoire made up of their individual hits from the past as well as new songs. In October 2000, Jim Keays of the Masters Apprentices replaced Burns, the new group being known as Cotton Keays & Morris. Also in 2000, Morris' "The Real Thing" and "Wings of an Eagle" featured prominently in the Australian-made movie The Dish (centred on the first moon landing)[9] and Midnight Oil released their version of "The Real Thing" as a one-off single, the first time this highly regarded band had chosen to record a cover.

On 1 July 2008, Morris was inducted by Rob Hirst into the ARIA Hall of Fame and was joined on-stage by guest musicians Steve Kilbey, Tim Powles, Jak Housden, Clayton Doley and Lachlan Doley to perform "The Real Thing".[10] According to Andrew Murfett of The Age, "Russell Morris, whose classic The Real Thing was performed with a supergroup comprising members of The Church, The Whitlams and Powderfinger, was inducted with a tribute from Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst. Morris proved to be a revelation on the night, stirring the crowd with a terrific performance."[11]

In October 2010, Morris' 1973 album, Wings of an Eagle, was listed in the book 100 Best Australian Albums.[12]

Morris is one of Australia's most enduring singers. A major pop star in the late 1960s, he went on to become one of the country's most well-known singer-songwriters. Both ends of his career feature predominantly in the soundtrack to the movie The Dish.[9]

In 2013 Morris released an album of self-penned blues music. Sharkmouth received little radio play, but went on to become his most successful album, reaching No. 6 on the ARIA charts. Sharkmouth is a blues album about Australia’s notorious and colourful characters of the 1920s and '30s. Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor and Sydney’s Shark Jaws, legends such as Phar Lap, Les Darcy and Sydney’s famous graffiti artist, Mr Eternity, are all mentioned."[13]

Morris' album Van Diemen's Land was the 76th best-selling album of 2014 in Australia.[14]




Date Artist Label Cat. # Tracks Chart
9/1967 Somebody's Image In Records IN-S-8088 "Heat Wave" / "When I Come Home"
11/1967 IN-S-8116 "Hush" / "Baby Blue (It's All Over Now)"
4/1968 Columbia
7MA 4463
"Hide and Seek" / "Livin' in Style"
3/1969 Russell Morris Columbia DO-8710 "The Real Thing" / "It's Only a Matter of Time" 1
7/1969 DO-8828 "Part Three into Paper Walls" / "The Girl That I Love" 1
12/1969 DO-9020 "Rachel" / "Little Lady"
4/1970 DO-9102 "Rachel" / "Slow Joey" 25
12/1970 DO-9314 "Mr. America" / "Stand Together" 8
6/1971 His Master's Voice EA-9539 "Sweet, Sweet Love" / "Jail Jonah's Daughter" 7
3/1972 EA-9824 "Live with Friends" / "Alcohol Farm" 13
11/1972 EA-10030 "Wings of an Eagle" / "Satisfy You" 9
10/1975 Wizard ZS-127 "Let's Do It" / "Don't Rock the Boat" 30
5/1976 ZS-140 "Sail with Me" / "Hard Road"
1976 ZS-160 "Wolves in White" / "Two Wheeled Flyer"
1979 Mushroom K7399 "Thunder Ground" / "Two Minute Warning" 49
The Russell Morris Band K7539 "Hot Love" / "Love Stealer"
1980 Russell Morris & The Rubes K-8090 "Hush" / "In the Heat of the Night" 35
2/1981 K-8229 "The Roar of the Wild Torpedoes" / "Just Another Night"
4/1981 K-8283 "So Tough" / "Walk Don't Run"
7/1982 K-8804 "Get It Right" / "You Wanted Fame"
1983 K-9131 "I'll Stay with You" / "Turn to Stone"
1990 Russell Morris Festival RPS 47 "The Real Thing" (Remix) / "Rachel" 1
1991 K-10327 "Tartan Lines" / "Over Excited" 61
1991 K-10386 "A Thousand Suns" / "This Bird Has Flown" 84
1992 K-11049 "Stay with You" / "She Is Leaving"

New Zealand[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Tracks Chart
1969 Russell Morris Columbia DNZ.10647 "The Girl That I Love" / "Part Three into Paper Walls"
1970 DNZ.10684 "Rachel" / "Slow Joey" 1
1971 DNZ.10720 "Mr. America" / "The Real Thing: Parts 1 & 11" 8
DNZ.10746 "Sweet, Sweet Love" / "Jail Jonah's Daughter" 5
1972 DNZ.10777 "Live with Friends" / "Alcohol Farm"
DNZ.10814 "Wings of an Eagle" / "Satisfy You" 14

Great Britain[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Tracks Chart
19/9/1969 Russell Morris Decca F 22964 "The Real Thing" (Parts I and II) / "It's Only a Matter of Time" N/A
21/8/1970 F 23066 "Rachel" / "Slow Joey" N/A

United States[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Tracks Chart
1969 Russell Morris Diamond D-263 "The Real Thing" (Part I) / "The Real Thing" (Part II) N/A
1975 RCA 10352 "Wings of an Eagle" N/A
10698 "Cloudy Day" N/A
1976 10751 "Running Jumping Standing Still" N/A

Extended plays[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Title Aus. chart
1967 Somebody's Image W&G E-2766 Hush
1970 Russell Morris Columbia SEGO-70199 (Aus)
ESG-1004 (N.Z.)
Mr. America
1990 EMI RP 217 The Real Thing


Date Artist Label Cat. # Title Aus. chart
8/1971 Russell Morris Columbia OCSD-7679 Bloodstone 12
1975 Wizard (Aus)
RCA (U.S.)
Russell Morris
1976 ZL-217
Turn It On
(Russell Morris 2)
1979 The Russell Morris Band Mushroom L-37074 Foot in the Door 38
1980 Russell Morris & The Rubes L-37488 Almost Frantic 28
9/1991 Russell Morris Festival D-30533 A Thousand Suns 71
2002 Off the Shelf N/A
2003 Cotton, Keays and Morris 3R Promotions CKM 001 Maximum Hits N/A
2003 CKM 002 Maximum Hits Volume 2 N/A
CKM 003 Live Acoustic N/A
2004 Live at the Basement N/A
2007 Brian Cadd and Russell Morris Pid 748258 Live at the Con N/A
5/2007 Russell Morris Liberation Blue Blue145.2 Fundamentalist N/A
2007 Liberation Music Jump Start Diary N/A
2013 Ambition Entertainment Sharkmouth 6
2014 FANFARE142 Van Diemen's Land 4

Compilation albums[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Title Aus. chart
1973 Russell Morris His Master's Voice OCSD-7679 Wings of an Eagle 12
1978 EMI OEMC-2672 Retrospective
9/2002 Rouseabout RR34 The Real Thing
27/6/2008 EMI Greatest Hits
2013 EMI 3753643 The Very Best Of


  1. ^ ""Wings of an Eagle" at Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)". APRA. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  2. ^ Cashmere, Paul (2008-05-17). "Dragon and Russell Morris to be Inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  3. ^ Mangan, John (2008-05-18). "Old rockers never die, says ARIA". The Age. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  4. ^ National Film and Sound Archive: Sounds of Australia.
  5. ^ a b "Russell Morris". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  6. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Russell Morris Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  7. ^ "Where did they get that song?". Pop Archives. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  8. ^ "John Sayers : Track Record". John Sayers. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  9. ^ a b "Russell Morris". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  10. ^ "ARIA announced all-star cast to induct and perform" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  11. ^ Murfett, Andrew (2 July 2008). "Rockers hail Rolf in Hall of Fame". The Age. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  12. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  13. ^ "Russell Morris". Ambition Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  14. ^ "End of Year Charts – ARIA Top 100 Albums 2014". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 

External links[edit]