OZ Rock (1955 - 1975) - A Timeline of Events

Welcome to an interactive history of Australian Rock between 1955 and 1975

;xSTx;FONT color=#f79411;xETx;These days Australian rock and pop music is well known throughout the world, thanks to acts like INXS, AC/DC, Crowded House, Silverchair and Kylie Minogue, just to mention a few - but this is a comparatively recent phenomenon. ;xSTx;BR;xETx;;xSTx;BR;xETx;;xSTx;FONT color=yellow;xETx;Although Aussie bands and artists of the 50s, '60s and '70s were demonstrably as good as, and often better than, their English and American counterparts, few had the chance to prove themselves to world audiences, and the wealth of Australian pop and rock produced in this era remains one of the music world's best-kept secrets. ;xSTx;BR;xETx;;xSTx;BR;xETx;;xSTx;FONT color=red;xETx;This site aims to shed some light on the men and women of the Australian Rock scene between 1955 and 1975 and the historical and cultural context in which the Australian music scene developed during this time. ;xSTx;/FONT;xETx;;xSTx;/FONT;xETx;;xSTx;/FONT;xETx;

1955-01-01 00:00:00

1955 -1964: "The First Wave" of Australian Rock

In the mid-1950s American rockabilly and rock and roll music was taken up by local musicians and it soon caught on with Australian teens, through movies, records and from 1956, television.

1955-01-01 23:42:43

OZ Music Website

A tribute to Australian Music of the 50s, 60's & 70's. Featuring numerous video clips, pictures and slideshows as well as a tribute to the Sunbury Music Festivals.

1955-02-17 10:31:42

Radio, Technology & Music

Television had several profound effects on radio formats. As the popularity of TV increased, radio's "prime-time" gradually shifted from night to day. (In the Fifties this was specifically because most TV broadcasting was in the evening). Early morning "breakfast" and late afternoon "drive time" shifts now became focal points, and the car radio was instrumental in this, since listeners could now hear these programs - or parts of them - as they drove to and from work or school

1955-03-19 13:02:21

Blackboard Jungle

The film marked the rock and roll revolution by featuring Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock". Artists such as Johnny O'Keefe claimed that, after watching Blackboard Jungle they knew that Rock n' Roll was how they wanted to make a living

1955-06-09 23:07:36

Television & OZ Rock

The beginning of Australian TV coincides exactly with the birth of rock'n'roll in the US, and within a few years Australia had its own home-grown TV pop shows.

1955-06-23 20:29:23

EMI Records (Australia)

EMI's Australian branch is the oldest recording company still operating in Australia. Through its various house labels - Columbia, HMV, Parlophone and Regal Zonophone - and the other labels it distributed locally (including Decca)

1955-08-11 05:13:18

Regency TR-1 Transistor Radio

A few different worldwide companies (including a then fledgling Sony) were tripping over themselves to bring transistor radios to commercial markets

1956-01-01 21:00:50

Stan "The Man" Rofe

Stan 'The Man' Rofe (30 May 1933 – 16 May 2003) was Melbourne's first and most influential rock'n'roll disc jockey. He is remembered as playing the first rock and roll music on Melbourne radio 3KZ in 1956 and as a champion of Australian music, a pioneer who played songs other DJs were too scared to play.

1956-03-15 19:29:10

Max Merritt & The Meteors

Max is one of the pioneers of Australasian rock, and one of its most enduring and best-loved figures. His amazing career, which has spanned an extraordinary 45 years covers the entire history of Antipodean rock & roll, and he is the senior figure among the remarkable group of performers

1956-07-19 08:04:23

The Hit Parade

1956 - 1959

1956-09-15 01:14:18

Lonnie Lee

A pioneer of early Australian rockabilly music, at the peak of his career, Lee had eight top 100 singles on the national charts. Seven of them peaked in the top 40, including three top 20's and two top tens. His highest peaking song on the national charts was a #2. He achieved five Gold Records. He had his last hit with 'Sad Over Someone' in (1969), but still continues to tour and perform.

1956-11-01 01:14:18

Johnny O'Keefe

In September 1956 O'Keefe and his friend Dave Owen (an American-born tenor sax player) formed Australia's first rock'n'roll band, The Dee Jays. The original line-up of the group was John Balkins (baritone sax), Kevin Norton (guitar), Keith Williams (bass) and Johnny 'Catfish' Purser (drums). Norton left soon after the band formed and he was replaced by Indonesian-born guitarist Lou Casch.

1957-01-01 00:00:00

Teenage Mailbag

1957 - 1958

1957-03-06 00:00:00

The De Kroo Brothers

Doug and Leo were born in Holland and move to Australia with their parents just after the Second World War, settling in Perth. In 1957 Doug formed his first band called the Bob Kats.

1957-03-14 13:04:17

Lee Gordon's Rock'n'Roll Tours

Lee Gordon was an American entrepreneur and rock and roll promoter who worked extensively in Australia in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Gordon's jazz and rock'n'roll tours had a major impact on the Australian music scene and he also played a significant role in the early career of pioneering Australian rock'n'roll singer Johnny O'Keefe.

1957-05-24 15:24:47

Lucky Starr

Lucky Starr (born Leslie Morrison; 29 December 1940) began his rock and roll career in 1957 as lead singer of The Hepparays. He was a regular on Bandstand and Six O'Clock Rock, and took over from Johnny O'Keefe as host of the latter for a season in 1960.

1957-08-22 05:39:24

Ian "Turps" Turpie

Born in Melbourne in 1943, his career started as a child actor back in the 1950s working in radio and theatre productions.

1957-09-20 00:00:00

The Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds was one of the first rock'n'roll bands in Australia, and they are widely regarded as one of the best bands of the era. This pioneering Melbourne group was in the vanguard of rock'n'roll in Australia, alongside other now-legendary bands like Melbourne's The Phantoms, The Planets, The Knights, The Chessmen, The Breakaways, The Saxons, The Blue Jays, The Marksmen and The Playboys, and Sydney's The Dee Jays, The Joy Boys, The Leemen and The Denvermen.

1957-10-05 00:00:00

TV Disc Jockey

Oct 1957 - Feb 1958

1958-02-06 08:04:23

The Astor Show

Feb 1958 - Aug 1958

1958-02-06 08:04:23

Your Hit Parade


1958-03-01 00:00:00

Top 40 Charts

The first Top 40 chart in Australia appeared in March 1958 when radio station 2UE in Sydney published its first giveaway charts, which were printed as leaflets, distributed to record stores and given away free to customers.

1958-06-01 01:11:08

The Delltones

The Delltones have been entertaining Australian audiences for over five decades with their most successful recording years in the 1960s.

1958-08-06 00:50:13

The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees were an English-Australian pop-rock band that were founded in 1958 and came to embody the disco era of the late 1970s.

1958-09-25 05:49:37

Leedon Records

Leedon was established in 1958 by legendary American entrepreneur Lee Gordon and was co-owned by his partner Johnny O'Keefe. The original "LS" series was inaugurated in 1958 with The Shake by The Mark IV and most of the early LS releases were tracks licensed from overseas labels by American artists such as Duane Eddy, Dion & The Belmonts, Dick Dale and Little Junior Parker

1958-11-04 08:12:13


1958 - 1972

1959-01-07 23:38:44

Teen Time

1959 - 1961

1959-02-28 14:10:42

Six O'Clock Rock

1959 - 1962

1959-03-11 21:37:10

TV Week "Logies" Awards

The awards were mostly decided by reader polls, but were supplemented by some award categories judged by an industry panel. The first voting coupons were published in TV WEEK in late 1958 and the first "TV Week Awards" were held in early 1959 as a Melbourne-only event.

1959-05-11 07:45:11

The Allen Brothers/Peter Allen

For his first decade as a professional musician, from 1960 to 1970, Peter Allen was half of a duo called The Allen Brothers. Like many "brother" and "sister" acts (e.g. The Walker Brothers) the two members were not related.

1959-06-10 13:17:58

Judy Stone

Judy Stone came to national prominence in the late 1950s through her regular TV appearances on the Australian pop music show Brian Henderson's Bandstand and her many hit records.

1959-08-19 18:28:08

Teenager’s Weekly

Australia’s Women’s Weekly magazine had been turning out issues for twenty-six years by the time they answered rising fears of teen delinquency and and the cultural impact of rock-n-roll.

1959-11-01 19:29:09

Col Joye

Recording as a solo artist and with his backing band, The Joy Boys, which included his brothers Kevin and Keith, Joye enjoyed a string of hits on the local and national singles charts of Australia beginning in 1959.

1959-11-12 00:00:00

Digby George "Dig" Richards

Richards was the first Australian rock and roll artist to record a 12" LP album in Australia, with Dig Richards being released in November 1959.

1960-01-01 21:57:54

Woman in Rock

Most of Australia’s earliest pop stars were men. However there were a number of woman who became household names in the early sixties

1960-02-01 20:29:23

Astor Records

Because they already produced radios and TVs, it was logical for Radio Corporation to move into content production, so they established their own recording division and distribution network, which was launched around 1960.

1960-07-07 10:21:22

Barry Stanton

Barry released his first record, Don't Let Go. in 1960 and then his second album, the Johnny O'Keefe composition Don't You Worry 'Bout That, reached number 3 on the Sydney Top 40 in September 1960.

1960-07-23 19:15:42

Patsy Ann Noble

Patsy Ann Noble was a teenage pop singer in the early 1960s, with regular appearances on the music and variety television series Bandstand. In November 1961, she released her biggest hit single, "Good Looking Boy", and at the Logie Awards for 1961, she won the 'Best Female Singer' award

1961-01-29 16:51:57

Noeleen Batley

Noeleen Batley becomes the first Australian woman to release an album, ‘Rendezvous’

1961-04-21 00:41:46

The Strangers

The Strangers were one of the best and most important Australian pop bands of the 1960s, and their contributions should be better recognised, because they played a vital role in shaping the sound of Australian Sixties pop.

1961-07-11 10:08:56

Everybody's Magazine

First published in 1961 it was produced by Packer-owned Consolidated Press company and evolved from an earlier Packer tabloid magazine, Weekend, which flourished in the 1950s.

1961-10-07 16:29:12

The Johnny O'Keefe Show

October 1961 - August 1962

1962-03-01 08:04:23

Club 7 Teen

Mar 1962 - Oct 1968

1962-04-11 23:47:27

The Seekers

Unlike the many pop and rock bands who followed them, the most interesting feature of The Seekers' career is that they left Australia before they were nationally famous. But this was not part of any grand plan, and their success was a mixture of some good planning, lots of good luck and being in the right place at the right time.

1962-05-17 14:57:38

JTM45 Amplifier

When Jim Marshall and his colleagues Ken Bran and Dudley Craven began constructing their now-signature amp, they had bass playback in mind, which might explain why the JTM produced such booming results.

1962-08-15 00:24:49

Olivia Newton-John

At fourteen, Newton-John formed a short-lived all-girl group, Sol Four, with three classmates often performing in a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law. She became a regular on local Australian radio and television shows including HSV-7's The Happy Show where she performed as "Lovely Livvy".

1963-02-09 20:43:34

Sing Sing Sing

February 1963 - October 1965

1963-04-10 19:05:40

RCA Records (Australia)

The earliest known local pop releases by the Australian division of RCA appeared in 1963; it is probably no coincidence that this was the same year that its rival CBS established its own Australian subsidiary. There is very little information about RCA's recording activities in Australia, which is unfortunate, given the many significant Australian performers who recorded for the label over the years.

1963-05-08 21:38:25

Oz (Magazine)

Oz was first published as a satirical humour magazine between 1963 and 1969 in Sydney, Australia, and, in its second and better known incarnation, became a "psychedelic hippy" magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London

1963-09-01 06:28:14

Compact Cassette Tape

By now, with radio ubiquitous and kids transformed into rock-and-pop acolytes, music begged for even further fluidity.

OZ Rock (1955 - 1975) - A Timeline of Events

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