One of the main regrets of my life (not that there are many) is that I never got to see Skyhooks live. The Bear saw them, but she caught them on one of their many reunion tours of the 1980s, me? I was far too blasé to be bothered, idiot that I can be. Still, I loved the band in the ‘70s, I mean, if you didn’t love them then you were well and truly screwed because it seemed like most radio stations only had four songs to play at any given time and two of them were Living In The ‘70s and the other one was Horror Movie. The fact that I can listen to both songs without wanting to scream, puke or fly into a maniacal rage speaks volumes for the quality of the band and the music.
Americans never got Skyhooks, but then they did embrace Air Supply with a passion, so work that out. (As an aside, here’s one of my favourite bits of trivia – those haunting harmony vocals on Dragon’s Are You Old Enough were done by none other than the two guys from Air Supply. Don’t believe me? Have a listen next time it comes on and you’ll find yourself saying, “Jesus!!!”) They hated Cold Chisel too, but Zee Germans loved them – Mak Schau! Mak Schau! I could never work it out.
Skyhooks became a band of their time, indeed they rapidly became icons and they still occupy that rarest of air, even if there’s no money to be made in being such an icon in Australia. I mean, Michael Gudinski built his empire on the back of the ‘Hooks, but they certainly didn’t walk away millionaires. The classic line up of the band was built around the soaring vocals of Shirley, a guy who took his talent for granted, but could easily match Robert Plant if he wanted to (take a listen to Shirl the Curl doing Zeppelin with the Party Boys for proof). Women In Uniform should have been the song that took them to the top of the tree worldwide, but, for some bizarre reason, it didn’t catch. Iron Maiden had a minor hit with an anaemic version of it in the late ‘70s. Yes, Iron Maiden sounded like Bon Jovi next to the ‘Hooks when they were in full flight. You have to wonder though, Tony Williams, the last singer alive for the band, must be shitting himself about a reunion. Each time it’s happened the singers have died, sad, sad, sad!
Skyhooks were possibly the most important band to emerge in Australia in the early ‘70s. You can keep your Sherbet, those guys were puffs, the ‘Hooks ruled supreme!!