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ID:	58105 The long awaited and much talked about publication, 100 Greatest Australian Singles has at last been released.

Some consider the 1960's as possibly the halcyon years for Australian music. The groups were fresh, the music great, the performance venues many and radio stations revelled in playing Australian music. There were just so many great artists and great tracks laid down, and some of the very best were released on that wonderful media of the times - the vinyl 45 rpm discs.

Now, if you want to generate an interesting discussion among people that appreciate the fantastic music of that period, just ask, "what was the best track released as a single"? You can be assured of generating a conversation, an argument even, that would seem to have no end as everyone has an opinion.

It would take a brave person to actually stick their neck up and not just declare what was the best Australian single of that period, but to indeed list the top 100?

Well known music aficionado and 'gonzo journalist' of the late 60's and 1970's, and, the once lead singer of 1960's Melbourne group The Union (remember The Thump?) - and one half of proprietors of the amazingly successful Archie and Jugheads Records in Melbourne - David N. Pepperell (fondly known as Dr. Pepper or DNP) is one of the two co-authors of a book that does this.

His co-author is Colin Talbot, who has worked as a novelist, scriptwriter, songwriter, publicist, sportswriter, web designer, film director, video-clip maker, editor, publisher, reporter, essayist, critic, and musician.

Colin is known to be as "knowledgeable and opinionated" over music as David - yet between them they have managed to agree and have written and published this book, that lists the 100 greatest Australian singles of the 1960's.

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David Pepperell and Colin Talbot

Now they have also been very, very clever as they have not tried to prioritise, that is to say, to indicate which is number 100, and more arguably, which is number 1!

To be honest it would have had to have been this way or I doubt it would ever have made it to print. As David told me when I first announced that the book was going into publication, back in August of this year, "The book has been a two year labour of love that has nonetheless tested Colin and my friendship at times. It is not the biggest Oz hits of the 60's by any means - some of the entries didn't even chart! - but what we think were the really outstanding singles that will stay in people's minds forever."

It allows us, the reader, to try and identify an artist/track we think should have been included, and then to justify to ourselves, which of the 100 they have listed, we would leave out.

What the two have done is listed them alphabetically by track name.

I was pleasantly surprised to see groups such as 18th Century Quartet, the Atlantics, Pink Finks, Digger Revell's Denvermen and Thunderbirds, get included along with artists such as Jimmy Little and Noleen Batley.

On the right hand side of each entry is a picture of the artist or group, and where it was difficult to get a picture. Such an example is with the "group" Pastoral Symphony, and if you don't know the reason you had better read the book.

I could tell you but I suspect David or Colin would have to "kill" me!

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The Wild Cherries
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The book is excellently laid out. The first set of double pages after all the publishing 'stuff" commences the list of singles tracks included and goes through to a second double page. One thing that is most excellent is that against each entry is the page number, so you can refer to the group or artist without trouble.

it may seem a logical thing to do, but i actually have some music publications where that hasn't been done!

I was tempted to list the entries, but part of the enjoyment is discovering them for yourself.

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Billy Thorpe

What I will share is that the entries consist of 67 groups, and 33 solo artists, of which 8 are women. There are multiple entries for both groups and solo artists as would be expected, as the book is about "singles", and not the 100 greatest artists, so it was inevitable some would have multiple entries.

The quality of the book is most excellent. Hardback bound it seems to me that it will last the ravages of time, and use. I have lost count of the number of publications on music I have had, and as a result of many years on radio, they got a lot of use and the pages simply fell out. I don't think this is going to happen with this publication.

An excellent thickness of gloss paper has been used which adds to the quality of the book, and, it sets it apart from previous Australian music books which were largely on standard print paper.

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Axiom and Little Patty

So, each entry has a double page, and I have spoken about the right hand page. On the left side there is a well written and well research piece on the band or artist, and I would have expected nothing less from these two. How often have books purporting to be about Australian artists have entries which consist of just a few lines, and often poorly written or researched.

This book now sets a new standard.

Look, this is a must for all fans of Australian music, for collectors of music memorabilia, for anyone who needs to research information on these early seminal groups, for music history buffs, for people looking for an excellent Christmas gift - come to think of it, if you are reading this, you are interested in it already, so go buy it!


Just click on the book cover!
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There is also an official launch of the book coming up this week on Sunday November 1st.

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Books will be available for purchase at the launch and books bought on the day, or previously, can be signed by the authors. There is also the opportunity to purchase the companion CD set, and I for one will be at the head of the line.

[All artists plates in this review were taken from the book]