Today’s music video is Kings Of The World and this song is performed here by the Australian band Mississippi.
This video was posted to You Tube by ggoble10
With the federal election held in Australia yesterday, there’s probably a lot of politicians out there thinking that they are the kings of the World today, and with the result not a foregone conclusion, some of them not really the kings that they thought they would be.
Unlike what the name of this band might suggest, Mississippi was an Australian band popular from 1972 till around 1975, and they had a couple of hits, and this was their biggest hit, Just making it into The Top Ten on the Australian National Charts.
It’s always an interesting thing to look at the history of bands and artists to see where they started, where they ended up, and how many bands some of the individuals ended up playing in, and this is one of those interesting cases. The three original members were Graeham Goble, John Mower and Russ Johnson.
This band started out as that three piece unit based in Adelaide in 1970, and using the name Allison Gros, and to distinguish themselves from the folk song popularised by English Band Steeleye Span, they dropped the second letter ‘s’ off the last name of their band… Gros. As locally popular as they were in Adelaide, the band moved to Melbourne where the band scene was bigger, and there were better opportunities. They were signed to the newly formed Fable Label, headed up by Ron Tudor, and they had a couple of minor Singles, none of which charted nationally. Their local popularity increased, and they were asked by Ron Tudor to do a song for what was now becoming the powerhouse in Australian music record companies, The Fable Label. The song was an old cover and was originally performed by the monster Australian Band Daddy Cool. That song was on the flip side of Daddy Cool’s absolutely huge hit, Eagle Rock, and it was the song titled after the name of the band itself, Daddy Cool.
Ron Tudor got permission from the band to do their own cover of this song, Daddy Cool, and Tudor enlisted the band Allison Gros to do the song. The treatment given to the song by Ron Tudor was that he wanted the song done in the Chipmunks style where the vocals are sped up. The band were not all that keen to be seen now as ….. that Chipmunk band, so they did the song under a pseudonym, calling themselves Drummond, a name suggested by Ron Tudor. The irony in all this is that the song became a huge Number One Hit, actually displacing the band Daddy Cool’s Eagle Rock from the Number One position on the National Charts. While Eagle Rock/Daddy Cool was a double sided hit for the band Daddy Cool, the Drummond version was so catchy it performed better than expected. It spent 8 weeks at Number One and 22 weeks in the National Charts.
Allison Gros now underwent a name change, renaming themselves as Mississippi, and they were one of the first bands signed up to Fable Label’s new offshoot, Bootleg Records, formed by Ron Tudor and Australian music icon Brian Cadd. They had a couple of minor Singles and then this song I have featured today, The Kings Of The World, a song lifted off their fine debut album Mississippi, released in mid 1972. The Single performed well and spent 14 weeks on the charts, staying around the Number Ten position for around six weeks or so. That album is shown in the image at right, and this is the Australian cover for the original album, which was re-released in the UK at a later date with a different cover. This song highlights the wonderful harmonies the three members worked hard to get right, and gives some insight to what came later.
On the back of the well performing Single, the band now started touring nationally, and they added a couple of extra musicians to the band to fill out the sound. They were Beeb Birtles and Derek Pellicci. The video clip above was done for TV and only shows the three original members of the band prior to the expansion, and here they are just miming along with the studio version of the song. They had another minor hit and were now well established in Australia.
As was the case with most Australian bands who started to make it big here in Australia, the main target was to make it on the big stage, and to do that, they did what most big Australian bands did at that time, relocated to London in the UK. Being a big name band in Australia didn’t mean the same in the UK, and while they got work, stardom did not come their way. The band split, and the core of Goble, Birtles and Pellicci met with producer Glenn Wheatley who was in London and now moving into a management position after a career with famed Australian band The Masters Apprentices. They all went back to Australia, and were joined by Glenn Shorrock, a singer from big name Australian bands The Twilights and Axiom.
Back in Australia, they rejoined together and worked hard on new material. They performed a few times as Mississippi, and then, on a fateful trip from Melbourne to Geelong in 1975, on the band’s bus, while discussing the possibility of a name change for the band, they passed a road sign for the town of Little River. Glenn Shorrock called out from the back of the bus why don’t we call ourselves The Little River Band.
The rest, as adage goes, is history. The Little River band went on to become one of Australia’s most successful bands in Australia’s rich music history.
All starting with three young men called Allison Gros in Adelaide, who worked hard on their harmonies, one of the stand outs of that later band, The Little River Band.