Lately the quiet streets of our little part of Blogger World have been electrified by the sounds of the 70s and 80s. Some of us have been trolling Youtube to find clips of bands that take us back to these times and places. Then there have been squeals of delight as others remember too.
Pondering that time has reminded me of what a huge influence Countdown was on those of us who are Australians of a Certain Age. For those of you who aren’t either of those things, Countdown was a weekly TV show which showed video clips and live bands. It had a huge following and was a ‘must see’ show for so many of us, running from 1974 to 1987. It was very influential, promoting many Australian and international bands, such as Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, INXS and Skyhooks.
It was well produced, but rescued from being too slick by the host Molly Meldrum. We loved Molly because, while he obviously had an encyclopedic knowledge of and passion for the music industry, he bumbled his way through the show. His interviews were classics in how not to do an interview. There’s a good example of it in the clip below, where Kim Wilde is totally confused by his question.
The clip is the first part of the 10th anniversary show. If you are not an Australian of a Certain Age you may not realise that the person at the beginning of the clip, being interviewed by the journalists was John Gorton, an ex-Prime Minister.
Adding to my Countdown thoughts was a funny short story I read recently — Everything I know I owe to Countdown by Jessica Adams. (It is in a very lovely collection Kitchen table memoirs. More of that some other time.) Adams recalls her addiction to the show in ways that made me laugh.
I felt nobody in the family really respected my obsession with Countdown, though…..Even worse, my father’s colleagues in the rural fire brigade would insist on ringing up in the middle of Flying Lizard interviews. How could people be so stupid as to start a bushfire in the middle of Flying Lizards?
Sometimes my mother would even call me into the kitchen during Countdown to help with getting dinner ready. It was all too much.
Adams even links Countdown to unexplained natural events.
Project Jonah volunteers, like my mum, rescued beached whales, which seemed to wash up on our beaches more in the 70s than in any other decade — possibly because of the unearthly sounds reverberating deep below the ABC studios every Sunday night on Countdown.
Could the Ted Mulry Gang have been responsible for the mysterious, en masse arrival of confused marine life? If not them, then certainly Hush.
Not sure about whales, but it did have extensive influence over the music scene, and our lives, for many years. The Wikipedia entryis an interesting read, and fleshes out that influence. If you read it, read to the end to see what happened to the tapes of the shows. It was vandalism! 🙂
What are your Countdown memories? Come on, if you are an Australian of a Certain Age you will have them! Share!