Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Vale Stevie Wright

Stevie Wright, aka Little Stevie, vocalist for the Easybeats, has died at the age of 68 on 27th December 2015, due to complications of Pneumonia.

Stevie was born in Leeds, England in 1947 and migrated to Australia at age 9. He joined as the Vocalist of the Easybeats with fellow migrants at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in Sydney when he was 17 (in 1964).

It's remarkable that by the time he was 22, the Easybeats had ceased to exist and he was, for all intents and purposes, a washed-up rock star. He did some theatre work in the form of Jesus Christ Superstar with John English and then had his biggest solo success with the albums "Hard Road" and "Black Eyed Bruiser" in 1974-5 before being dropped by Vanda and Young at Albert Productions for being heavily addicted to narcotics.

Sadly, Stevie's addiction held him down for the better part of two decades. It is well documented elsewhere the depths the addiction took him, the battles with electro-shock therapy moreso, so I don't need to go into them here. The only surprise to most is that he made it this long.

His contribution to Australian music cannot be understated. His charisma was fiery stage presence was of that, of not greater than that of John Lennon, if Molly Meldrum is correct (and I don't doubt it).

Those early Easybeats singles are still visceral and exciting 50 years later. Later tracks like "Evie" and "Guitar Band" crackle with soul. It was a real shame he couldn't go the distance. At one point he was viewed as the likely successor to Bon Scott in AC/DC, but with the addiction...

Vale Stevie. Thanks for the music.

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