The original version of The Wild Cherries was a jazz/R&B band that came together in Melbourne during 1964. The band broke up in 1965 without having recorded anything for posterity. Rob Lovett joined The Loved Ones; Malcolm McGee joined Python Lee Jackson, with both later reuniting in The Virgil Brothers. Kevin Murphy (who replaced Geoff Hales on drums) went on to work with numerous bands, including Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Chain, King Harvest and Levi Smith's Clefs.
In January 1967, Les Gilbert switched to organ and revived The Wild Cherries with a new, more notorious line-up comprising guitar wizard Lobby Loyde (born Barry Lyde, ex-Purple Hearts), Danny Robinson (vocals), Peter Eddy (bass; ex-Weird Mob) and Keith Barber (drums). As Glenn A. Baker has noted, The Wild Cherries swiftly earned a reputation as the most relentlessly experimental psychedelic band on the Melbourne discotheque/ dance scene. The band's four singles for the Festival label, `Krome Plated Yabby'/`Everything I Do is Wrong' (June 1967), `That's Life'/`Try Me' (November 1967), `Gotta Stop Lying'/`Time Killer' (April 1968) and `I Don't Care'/`Theme for a Merry Go Round' (September 1968) were exciting, revolutionary excursions into a musical void with no concessions to commercial demands. Only `That's Life' made the charts (#38 in Melbourne), but all remain classic examples of hard guitar psychedelia.
In early 1968, John Phillips (ex-Running Jumping Standing Still) replaced Peter Eddy. In October, Barber, Robinson and Phillips all left, to be replaced by Matt Taylor (fresh from the break-up of Bay City Union) and three ex-members of Brisbane blues band Thursday's Children: Barry Sullivan (rhythm guitar), Steve Pristash (bass) and Barry Harvey (drums). Robinson replaced McGee in The Virgil Brothers, and later sang with studio group Duck. One month later, Gilbert, Loyde and Taylor all moved on. Loyde joined Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. Brian Wilson joined as frontman, and Sullivan played lead guitar for four weeks until Tim Piper (ex-Chants R&B, Electric Heap) joined in December. Pristash left and Sullivan switched to bass but that line-up split in April 1969. Piper went on to join all manner of bands, including Savage Rose Blues Band, Chain, Genesis, Ray Brown's One Ton Gypsy, Blackfeather, Alta Mira and the Ray Burton Band. Sullivan and Harvey joined Chain in October 1969.
Brian Wilson went on to front heavy blues band Sunshine which comprised Ralph Boyd (guitar), Ian Holding (bass) and Wally Edwards (drums). Sunshine issued one single, `Luke McCoy'/`Sweet Little Mama' (1971), on RCA. Loyde spent two years with Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, after which he revived The Wild Cherries' name at the beginning of 1971 for a three-piece hard rock outfit featuring Teddy Toi (bass; ex-Max Merritt and the Meteors, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Fanny Adams) and Johnny Dick (drums; ex-Max Merritt and the Meteors, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Fanny Adams). The new line-up came about when Loyde recorded his classic solo album Plays with George Guitar utilising the services of the ex-Aztecs/Fanny Adams rhythm section.
The Wild Cherries issued one single on the Havoc label, `I am the Sea (Stop Killing Me)'/`Daily Planet' (November 1971), which was atypical of the overall repertoire, being a rousing acoustic tune with a precursory environmental message. Reissue specialists Raven included `I am the Sea (Stop Killing Me)' on the essential compilation Golden Miles: Australian Progressive Rock 1969–1974 (1994). The band appeared at the inaugural Sunbury Pop Festival (January 1972), but broke up a month later. Loyde formed Coloured Balls in March 1972, while Dick and Toi later re-joined Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.