Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Billy Thorpe. It all started with a French Love Song.

Billy Thorpe was born in Manchester, England, in 1946. He 
immigrated to Australia with his family when he was nine, and settled in Brisbane, Queensland. By the time he was ten years old, Thorpie was performing on Brisbane television (billed as Little Rock Allen). He toured country areas with singer Reg Lindsay. By the time he was 15, Thorpie had worked in stage shows, variety television, clubs and even vaudeville at Brisbane's Theatre Royal with George Wallace. He also toured with the likes of Johnny O'Keefe and Col Joye. 

In late 1963, as a seasoned 17-year-old, Thorpie moved to Sydney and joined his first band The Aztecs. The original Aztecs line-up comprised Vince Maloney (lead guitar; ex-Vibratones), Val Jones (rhythm guitar), John 'Bluey' Watson (bass; ex-Vibratones) and Col Baigent (drums). Just prior to Thorpie's arrival, The Aztecs had issued a surf instrumental single, 'Smoke and Stack'/'Board Boogie', on the Linda Lee label (January 1964). Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs became a major attraction at promoter John Harrigan's Surf City discotheque.

This quote from Thorpie's website; 
"I took my first breathe on March 29th, 1946 in Manchester England, but life really began for me when I heard "Sur la du pont Paris" ("Under the bridges of Paris") on the radio in Blackpool England when I was 3 or 4 years old. Somehow that syrupy, sentimental French love song with its accordions and Mantovanni style strings got inside my 4 year old head and I was hooked. 

From that moment I couldn't get enough of music. Any music. I loved it and it was in 1956 in a tiny church hall on the fringes of Brisbane, Australia, that my own music career got its start. I played my first gig at the age of 10 and within 6 months was performing regularly on local TV and doing gigs.     

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