77 Brighton Street, Petersham, NSW, 2049
Tuesday 25th February 2014 – 7.30 pm
Gerry Humphrys – The Loved One – 66 minutes – 2000 – Australia
Synopsis : When singer and clarinettist Gerry Humphrys moved form Britain to Australia in 1957, he quickly become one of the most popular and influential musicians in his adopted homeland. Humphrys’ Jazz combo, the Red Onion Jazz Band, was widely regarded as Australia’s finest trad jazz outfit, and when rock & roll became the dominant sound in pop music in the early 1960s, Humphrys embraced the new style as lead vocalist with the upbeat R&B ensemble the Loved Ones, which won him legions of new fans. In 1972, Humprys returned to London, and seemed to disappear from sight, making no further recordings or personal appearances. Gerry Humphrys: The Loved One features interviews with Humphrys’ bandmates and performance footage of the man in his prime, both testifying to his talent and influence; filmmaker Nigel Buesst also tracked down Humphrys at his home in suburban England to find out the truth behind his vanishing act.
Obituary from MILESAGO
GERRY HUMPHRYS (1943-2005)
Gerry Humphrys was one of the greatest vocalists in the history of Australian popular music and arguably the most charismatic figure ever to front an Aussie rock group. His growling baritone voice and saturnine good looks set him apart from almost every other male singer on the local pop scene, and the unique body of work he created with The Loved Ones is now internationally acknowledged as a cornerstone of Australian music.
Gerry was born in London in 1943 and came to Australia with his family in 1957, aged 15. He began playing ‘trad’ jazz in the early 1960s and joined The Red Onions Jazz Band with Ian Clyne and Kim Lynch, playing around Melbourne’s bohemian clubs in the early 1960s and they recorded one LP for the W&G label.
With the rapid decline in the popularity of jazz after the advent of The Beatles the trio decided form their own pop band, recruiting Rob Lovett and Gavin Anderson from the original jazz incarnation of The Wild Cherries in 1965 and, with Clyne, Humphrys began writing R&B songs.
They shot to prominence with their breakthrough single “The Loved One” which is now regarded as one of the enduring classics of Australian rock. Through 1966-67 they became one of the most popular bands in the country, releasing more superb singles including “Everlovin’ Man” and the Dylan-influenced “Sad Dark Eyes”. By 1967 tensions within the band and growing dissatisfaction with the restrictions of the pop scene led to the resignation of keyboard player Ian Clyne, who was replaced by Treva Richards. The band continued for a short time but split in 1967 soon after the release of their only album, Magic Box, which is probably the only Australian pop album of the Sixties that has remained in print ever since.
Filmmaker Nigel Buesst knew Gerry in the Sixties and directed a documentary about him, Gerry Humphreys– The Loved One, which was shown at the 2000 Melbourne International Film Festival -
“He had a radiating influence on the Melbourne music scene in the ’60s, more than anybody else,” he said. “He had a lot of emotion in his music. There are a lot of singers that might have beautiful voices but the emotion doesn’t come through.”
Former Loved Ones member Treva Richards said:
“He was a fantastic guy and the public saw his enormous charisma. But they didn’t get to appreciate his off-the-wall Cockney sense of humour. His voice was amazing and it was unfortunate he didn’t move on to other big things.”
The Loved Ones exerted a huge influence on later generations of Australian musicians. “The Loved One” was covered –twice — by INXS, “Sad Dark Eyes” was covered by former Saints guitarist Ed Kuepper and more recently Jet covered “Everlovin’ Man”.
After the Loved Ones split up, Gerry managed The Valentines for a time, then around 1970 he formed Gerry & The Joy Band, a floating aggregation that at various times featured most of the top Melbourne musos of the period including members of Daddy Cool and The Aztecs and Gerry’s old friend from his jazz days, Margret Roadknight. He hosted the inaugural Sunbury festival in 1972, but faded from the scene not long after and left Australia for good in 1977 and returned to the UK.
The Loved Ones were scheduled to take part in the epochal “Long Way To The Top” concert tour in 2002, but sadly Gerry had to pull out of the tour and remain in the UK to undergo reconstructive hip surgery.
In the last few years of his life Gerry was interviewed by Nigel Buesst, among others, who not surprisingly found him looking back with some regret at the lost opportunities. Like so many of his contemporaries, he never saw much money (if any) from his music and Buesst discovered that he didn’t own any copies of his old recordings — even the 1987 reunion album.
Gerry died of a heart attack in London, aged 62, in December 2005. He is survived by his wife Claire and their three daughters.
After his death, tributes poured in from all quarters.
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