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Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds

Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds started in 1966 and attracted many of Australia’s top groups and bands from all around the country. It was a true a national competition with heats organised by local radio stations. The heats were held in the capital cities and country towns and bands worked their way up through semi-finals to one penultimate grand-final, held in either Melbourne or Sydney.

The valuable first prize was a full return passage to England, two booked concerts in London and $1000 prize money, later upped to $2000 and return flights to Los Angeles (early winners did not get the concerts).

Radio 5KA organised the heats in South Australia in Adelaide and through it’s regional stations of 5AU in Port Augusta and 5RM in the Riverland. Jim Slade was the compere of those early Battle of the Sounds concerts, usually staged at the Thebarton Town Hall.

That first year of the competition, 1966, was a most significant year for South Australia with The Twilights and lead singer Glen Shorrock taking out not just the state semi final but also the grand final, which was held in Melbourne’s Festival Hall. Masters Apprentices, another young Adelaide band came second in the South Australian competition and were runners up in the 1968 grand final.

Every year from April to June the family garage would be turned into a place for serious rehearsal along with local church halls and anywhere else available and would echo to the sounds of would be rock stars. Go Set Magazine got right behind the cometition and would print with  great excitement the details of when and where the Battles would take place, and who were the hot favourites. Readers would then wait with great anticiption to see who had won the latest heat for the week.

By 1968 the 1st prize was up to $2000 spending money to go with the return trip to the UK, and in 1969 the competition peaked with around 1000 bands and groups entering from all around the country. That year’s battle was also different for another reason, with a separate section for vocal groups, as well as the usual type of band. The new section was to allow groups that concentrated on vocals and bands that focused on close harmony. From a local point of view, the interest was in the new vocal section with The Valentines from Adelaide, a 6 member band coming in third. The band went on to have a hit or two and national fame for the lead singer, Bon Scott, who later achieved noteriety and international fame as lead singer with AC/DC.

Adelaide’s last successful group was Fraternity who won the grand final in 1971, but according to Terence J Stacey, writing in “Who’s Who of Australian Rock” the final years proved somewhat disappointing with Go Set magazine eventually losing interest and the grand final in 1972 was a rather lacklustre affair.

It was an exiting time for local bands and for their fans though, through those years from 1966 to 1972. What are your memories of Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds when it was in full swing in Adelaide?

 

 

16 Responses to Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds

  1. Chris Adams October 2, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    I remember being disappointed that the Twilights not wiinning one of the first years of competition a band Called ” Johnny Broom and The Handels ” pipped the Twilights at the post . dont know what happened to Johnny Broom and the Handels .

    • Ally Morgan July 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

      It was John E. Broome and the Handels. Kevin Peek, now sadly deceased, was the lead guitarist is the Rock/Jazz combination called “Sky”…one of the biggest bands in the world in the late 70’s 80’s. Alan Tarney, the bass player, is still working in the UK, producing music…he wrote songs for, and toured with Cliff Richard, Tina Turner, and many other greats of the 70’s 80’s. Frank Tarney returned to Australia. Drummer Laurie Pryor and Moose Parsons (vocals), also sadly deceased.

  2. Mike Siegele February 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    In 1966 The Twilights actually won the Victorian section & the Chosen Few were SA winners. The Twilights then won the national title at festival hall in Melbourne. The Chosen Few recorded for the Go! Label . “Is this a dream” A side & “let me down easy” B side.

    • Kath Tidmas June 27, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      Hi there, I bet you don’t remember me from way way back. I live in NZ now. I had your record ‘Is this a dream & Let me down easy’ for years but in one of my many moves over the past 40 years it has gone. I hope you are well. I have been back to the Valley more than a few times over the years, never bumped into you, but then would I remember what you look like or you me. Time will do that to ya. Anyway all the best.

    • Ally Morgan July 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

      Hey Mike!
      Allyson St. Claire here! There is a page on Facebook called “Our Back Story”…Alan Hale (your former manager?) runs it……we are having a lot of fun reminiscing……..please come and play with us!

  3. Geoff April 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    I often wonder if somewhere , records still exist of participating bands who entered the competation.
    In the beginning of it all I was a member of a local Broken Hill band & we entered for (2) consecutive years .
    Didn’t win but I still have memories of the unforgettable , fantastic time we all had.
    The band name was ” Mirrors Image ” & the older I get….the better we were.
    Moved to Adelaide & continued playing in different bands until bout 1991 but still remember that first band as being a hilight in the sense of fun times we had together.

    • Peter Tilbrook July 10, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

      Hi Geoff,
      I just came across your enquiry on the Hoadleys Battle of the Sounds page asking if there is any info available. I am just researching for my own memoirs and I can tell you there is a small publication probably available at the SA State Library called The Battle of The Sounds written by Terrance J Stacey and published by Moonlight Publishing 1995 that may help you. My book will feature the 1968 Battle both in Adelaide and the National finals.
      Hope it helps you.
      Just call the library and see if they have it and maybe they can email it to you as it is all of 20 pages but it covers all of the Battles from 1965 to 1972.
      Cheers
      Peter Tilbrook
      Masters Apprentices

  4. Mary Lovell June 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi Bob. I am Libby Hooper’s sister. I was searching for information about our brother Peter Eitzen’s group The Invaders winning the Riverland section of the Battle of the Sounds around 1965/66 and came across your article. I wondered if you might have come across some information about this or have a recollection. Cheers, Mary

    • Peter Tilbrook July 10, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi Mary,
      I just came across your enquiry on the Hoadleys Battle of the Sounds page asking if there is any info available. I am just researching for my own memoirs and I can tell you there is a small publication probably available at the SA State Library called The Battle of The Sounds written by Terrance J Stacey and published by Moonlight Publishing 1995 that may help you. My book will feature the 1968 Battle both in Adelaide and the National finals.
      Hope it helps you.
      Just call the library and see if they have it and maybe they can email it to you as it is all of 20 pages but it covers all of the Battles from 1965 to 1972.
      Cheers
      Peter Tilbrook
      Masters Apprentices

  5. Rick phillips October 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi the Valentines band were actually from Western Australia and won the vocal heat in WA, the 1969 winners of vocal section hoadleys battle of the bands in Adelaide were Travis Wellington Hedge of which I was a member with Graeham Goble,Greg trezise,rob Leedham, Shane Simon. Travis Wellington Hedge are still playing in Adelaide as of at. 2015 October, with 4 original members from 1969 -70. After Graeham Shane and rob left to form Alison Gross, the band Travis Wellington Hedge consists members Greg trezise,rick Phillips,Dave ongley,bill semple ,graham Bettany .cheers Rick Phillips.

  6. pjones February 4, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Hi there –

    Is there a list of the songs played by the winnning band?

    • Richard phillips March 23, 2018 at 2:08 pm #

      Hello Pjones, yes here is list of songs at thebarton town hall played by Travis wellington Hedge 1969 battle of bands,”i put a spell on you” and medley “paradise ” and ” mr ragamuffin man” at the national finals in sydney Tivoli theatrs TWH played” monday,monday”. -“ragamuffin man”. -“let the sun shine in” -“i put a spell on you” -and “poor baby” hope this helps your records cheers Rick Phillips TWH.

  7. Bill Ross November 2, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m enquiring if any old fellas from 1972 era have photos from the country finals at Apollo Stadium that they could share. I played in the country finals and we lost to, Nosey Parker from Berri. (Brian Ash was the bass player and vocalist)
    A lot of our memories/amplifiers and band gear plus personal stuff were destroyed by Cyclone Tracy so any help in this direction would be very much appreciated .
    I know this would be a long shot but, fingers crossed.

    Kindest regards

    Bill Ross
    Darwin N.T

  8. David Hamilton September 4, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    I played in the state finals 1972 band name CHAMELEON. I have photos . Prior to state finals we won the country gig at Whyalla. We were a Port Licoln band. After that time we played gigs in Adelaide and on two occasions we were suport band for firstly Spectrum at the Largs Pier then next year support for Lotus same venue

  9. Steve prascevic December 1, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    Why are the vikings listed twice as missing and crossed out when they were winners of the competition

  10. Rob Beck April 17, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

    I think a band from Campbelltown/Rostrevor called “The Web” came in second to Headband in 1972. In fact I’m sure they did as I was the lead singer

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