Come back again? Why we’re all still crazy ’bout Ross Wilson

He’s got one of the coolest pedigrees in contemporary Australian music and now Ross Wilson is touring again … and again

Apr 09, 2024, updated Apr 09, 2024
Ross Wilson's musical story continues with a national tour that will last for months. Photo: Gio Angel.

Ross Wilson's musical story continues with a national tour that will last for months. Photo: Gio Angel.

Ross Wilson is on a roll. The singer-songwriter is staking a claim for being the hardest-working man in Australian showbiz.

His current 50 Years of Hits tour will see him clock up an astonishing 70-plus shows around the country, many of them already sold out. If you check out his website you will find a gig near you, whether you live on the Gold Coast or in Adelaide or anywhere, really.

Wilson’s enduring popularity is no real surprise. It’s all there on his resume: he fronted Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock, produced Skyhooks and has made a slew of acclaimed solo records. His musical origin story is fascinating.

“Next year is 60 years since my school band the Pink Finks started,” Wilson begins on the line from Melbourne.

“When you start out in teenage bands, it all happens pretty quick. In the Pink Finks we played covers of blues songs and R&B songs, just like the Stones did because that’s the era we were in.”

It didn’t take long for Wilson to start writing his own songs, many of which are part of our cultural DNA. Try these for size: Eagle Rock, Come Back Again, Cool World, A Touch of Paradise. The list goes on.

“After the Pink Finks, I started writing songs for my other band, the Part Machine,” he continues. “Some of the songs were terrible and some were not bad. It didn’t take long to go from 1965 to 1970 when Daddy Cool formed. I’d advanced to the stage where I wrote Eagle Rock and Come Back Again and stuff like that.

“It happened quite quickly, but when you’re young it feels like a long time. Now, the older I get, the faster it goes … which is unfortunate.”

In the 1970s Wilson was a huge influence on other emerging Australian artists. Daddy Who? Daddy Cool’s debut, at the time became the highest-selling album, ever, by an Australian artist.

Wilson impacted on music legends like Elton John, who sang his praises continually and bought an arm full of records to take home for friends in England. At one point, John tried to talk Ringo Starr into covering Come Back Again.

More recently, on Joe Cocker’s final record, Cocker recorded a song Wilson wrote with the Angels’ Rick Brewster, I Come in Peace.

“That was pretty good,” admits Wilson now of the Cocker cover. “People call and say someone has recorded your song. Some of them get recorded frequently because they’re like old classics. But other ones, like Joe Cocker and I Come in Peace, well, that song was only ever on my solo album. At that stage, Joe was the first person other than me to bring it out.

“Joe started opening his concerts with it. There’s a good YouTube clip of him doing it on a German awards show. He comes out and sings one of his classics, and then he went, ‘This is my new song’. They gave him a lifetime achievement award. That was pretty cool.”

Always pushing forward, Wilson recently released an EP of new material, She’s Stuck On Facebook All the Time. His bio lists the collection as a “modern-day tragicomedy in the blues genre”. Once Wilson landed on the title, he knew he had a song in the making.

“I was driving around in my car and I started thinking about the song,” he explains of the writing process. “Driving in the car by yourself is a great place to come up with ideas. When I got to the gig I was heading to I just wrote the words down.

“But it’s already out of date because I sing, in the second verse, “she starts today on Twitter … moves to Instagram.” So, when I sing it live, I’ve changed it to TikTok … I can’t sing X. That’s how fast things change.”

The 50 Years of Hits Tour: Ross Wilson and his band the Peaceniks perform material from Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock to now. Tickets are on sale.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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