The Hummingbirds

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The Hummingbirds
OriginSydney, Australia
GenresIndie pop
Jangle pop
Years active1986–1993, 2011, 2016, 2017
Past membersrefer to Members list below

The Hummingbirds were an Australian indie pop and jangle pop band from Sydney, Australia, who formed in 1986 from Bug Eyed Monsters.[1][2] They were one of the most highly regarded outfits to emerge from Sydney's inner-city scene during the late 1980s and were an early signing to the rooArt label.[1] The Hummingbirds' single, "Blush", peaked at No.19 on the ARIA singles charts in 1989.[3][4] They left rooArt in 1992, and disbanded in 1993. The band reunited for a show on 27 January 2011, for the Big Day Out festival in Sydney and also some additional performances later that year. The band reunited again to play two shows in Sydney in July 2016. Simon Holmes died in July 2017, and "Hindsight: A Night For Simon", a sold-out memorial mini-festival gig of associated bands was held at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney on 3 December of that year.


The Hummingbirds formed in 1986 from the remnants of the short lived band Bug Eyed Monsters.[2] Band members originally comprised singer and guitarist Simon Holmes, bassist John Boyce and drummer Mark Temple, after a few months of initial rehearsals as a three-piece, vocalist and guitarist Alannah Russack signed on.[1][5] In early 1987, Boyce departed and was replaced by singer and bassist, Robyn St. Clare.[1][2][5] They were one of Australia's most promising acts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, along with other up-and-comers like Ratcat, Clouds, Tall Tales and True and The Falling Joys.

They debuted in July 1987, with the single "Alimony", it was followed by three more singles, "Everything You Said" in January 1988, "Swim to Shore" in July and "Hindsight" in November.[1][5] All four singles were released on the independent label, Phantom Records.[1][5] All four singles were also re-issued by Phantom Records as a pack called 'Quatro', limited to 500 packs on coloured vinyl.

The Hummingbirds signed to rooART in early 1989, and released their single, "Blush", in August, it reached number one on the alternative music chart,[1] and No.19 on the ARIA singles charts.[4] Their first album, loveBUZZ, produced by Mitch Easter, was released in 1989.[5][6] and peaked at No.31 on the ARIA album charts.[4] It earned an American release, though sales were slow despite excellent reviews.[2] In 1990, Nic Dalton (The Plunderers) filled in on bass guitar - St. Clare, the regular bassist, took leave due to illness.[1][6][7] Dalton returned to The Plunderers and was later a member of US alternative rock band The Lemonheads,[7][8] The Hummingbirds had played support to The Lemonheads 1991 tour of Australia.[7]

The Hummingbirds continued recording, releasing another album produced by Easter, April 1991's Va Va Voom,[5] which peaked at No.44 on the ARIA album charts.[4] However, its release was delayed due to problems with RooArt.[6] They were freed from their contract after the May 1992 EP, You Just Gotta Know My Mind, (title track is a Donovan cover) with Dalton again deputising for St. Clare - who was pregnant with her and Holmes' son Milo.[6][7] The Hummingbirds made two EPs on the small independent label IV Recordings, Gone, in February 1993 and, Tail, in July.[5][6] The band found it hard to justify their move from a major label like RooArt to the smaller IV Recordings, and broke up after the release of Tail. They played their final show on 11 December 1993, at the Central Club Hotel in (Richmond) Melbourne, featuring Holmes, Russack, St. Clare and Melder.

Post break-up[edit]

Simon Holmes joined Her Name in Lights, which issued their debut album, Into the Light Again in October 2004.[9] He then went on to record other albums with a new band, Fragile. Alannah Russack played in Sydney as a solo artist. Robyn St. Clare, whose composition "Into Your Arms" was a hit for popular 1990s act The Lemonheads (with Dalton on bass guitar),[8] has recorded with Ratcat and Sneeze.


After 17 years, the band reformed for a reunion on 27 January 2011, for the Big Day Out festival in Sydney. The line-up featured Holmes, Temple and Russack, with St. Clare replaced on bass. The band followed the Big Day Out reunion show with some additional performances later that year;
Thursday 7 July 2011 - Simon Holmes and Alannah Russack (acoustic performance), Union Hotel, Newtown.
Saturday 17 September 2011 - full band at the Manning Bar, Sydney University. The day before the show at the Manning Bar, the band played a short set for "Live at the Loft" on 2SER radio and were also interviewed by DJ Andrew Khedoori[10]. The line-up featured Holmes, Temple, Russack and Danny Yau on bass.

Along with The Falling Joys, the band reunited to play two shows on the 2nd and 3rd (matinee show) of July 2016 at the Newtown Social Club in Sydney (previously known as the Sandringham Hotel, Newtown).[11] The line-up featured Holmes, Temple, Russack and Danny Yau again on bass.

The band played as part of a tribute concert to The Cure, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of The Cure album Wish. The gig took place at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney, on 15 April 2017. This was the final concert of The Hummingbirds.

Simon Holmes died in Sydney in July 2017, at the age of 54.[12]. A tribute night featuring many bands was held for Simon Holmes on 3 December at the Factory Theater in Sydney[13]. As part of the tribute night a limited edition vinyl LP was released, combining all of the tracks from the bands last two EP's 'Gone' and 'Tail', which were originally released only on CD in 1993[14].


  • John Boyce — bass guitar (1986–1987)
  • Simon Holmesvocals, guitar (1986–1993, 2011, 2016, 2017) (deceased)
  • Mark Temple — drums (1986–1992, 2011, 2016, 2017)
  • Alannah Russack — vocals, guitar (1986–1993, 2011, 2016, 2017)
  • Robyn St. Clare — bass guitar (1987–1993)
  • Shane Melder — drums (1992–1993)
  • Nic Dalton — bass (1990–1991)
  • Danny Yau — bass (2011, 2016, 2017)




  • Tuesday - rooART (1990)
  • (Just Gotta) Know My Mind - rooART (May 1992)
  • Gone - IV Recordings (February 1993)
  • Tail - IV Recordings (July 1993)


  • "Alimony"/"Three in the Morning" - Phantom (July 1987)
  • "Everything You Said"/"Get on Down" - Phantom (January 1988)
  • "Swim to Shore"/"Be Careful" - Phantom (July 1988)
  • "Hindsight"/"Dragged over the Coals" - Phantom (November 1988)
  • "Quatro" pack containing the first 4 singles, limited to 500 packs on coloured vinyl - Phantom
  • "Blush"/"Lay Her down Gently" - rooART (August 1989) AUS #19[4]
  • "Word Gets Around"/"Today of all Days" - rooART (November 1989) AUS #72
  • "Alimony"/"Candle" - RooART (March 1990 - rerecorded album version of A side) AUS #79
  • "If a Vow" - rooART (March 1991) AUS #73
  • "2 Weeks with a Good Man in Niagara Falls" - rooART (July 1991) AUS #93
  • "You Just Gotta Know My Mind" - rooART (May 1992) AUS #81


  • Contradiction: The Best of The Hummingbirds - Camden BMG (2000)
  • Greatest Hits - BMG (July 2001)
  • Limited Edition vinyl LP combining the last 2 EP's - 'Gone' and 'Tail' - Blank Records (2017)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'The Hummingbirds'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  2. ^ a b c d Ankeny, Jason. "Hummingbirds Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "The Hummingbirds discography". Australian Charts Portal. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Holmgren, Magnus. "The Hummingbirds". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e Mathieson, Craig (2000). "1990". The Sell-in: How the Music Business Seduced Alternative Rock. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-412-3. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  7. ^ a b c d Hightower, Laura. "Nic Dalton Biography". Musician Guide. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  8. ^ a b Holmgren, Magnus. "Nic Dalton". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  9. ^ Gyles, Soph. "Her Name in Lights: Into the Light Again". Oz Music Project (Jasper Lee). Archived from the original on 7 August 2005. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Beloved '90s Band The Hummingbirds Guitarist Simon Holmes Passes Away". Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  14. ^

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