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Encyclopedia entry for 'The Throb' LETTER:

Formed in 1965
 Original line-up: John Bell (vocals, rhythm guitar), Marty Van Wynk (lead guitar; ex-Geoff Doyle and the Resonettes, No Names), Denny Burgess (bass, vocals; ex-Mystery Men), Peter Figures (drums; ex-Geoff Doyle and the Resonettes, No Names)
 Album: The Raven EP LP Vol. 1 (compilation shared with The Purple Hearts, The Wild Cherries and The Missing Links; Raven, 1982).

Sydney R&B band The Throb's main claim to fame is the cover of an obscure Rolling Stones track, `The Fortune Teller' that outstripped The Stones' own version in more ways than one. First, The Throb's gritty rendition knocked The Stones' tentative one for six. Second, The Throb's version outsold The Stones' when it was also issued as a single in -Australia.

The Throb evolved out of surf instrumental band Geoff Doyle and the Resonettes. In 1964, The Resonettes became The No Names with the line-up of Geoff Doyle (vocals), Marty Van Wynk (guitar), Paul Reay (guitar), Geoff MacWalters (bass) and Peter Figures (drums). The No Names signed to Polydor and issued two beat singles in 1964, `She is Mine'/`All Because of You' and `Charlie Brown'. The No Names also backed singer Janice Slater on her two singles for Philips, `Wanting You'/`Summertime' and `I'm Gonna Live'/`He Really Cares'. In May 1965, John Bell and Denny Burgess replaced Doyle, Reay and MacWalters in The No Names. Englishman Bell had known Harry Vanda and George Young at the Villawood Migrant Hostel and occasionally sang with the nascent Easybeats before the arrival of Stevie Wright. Burgess brought a stronger R&B influence (à la The Rolling Stones and The Animals) into the band. By December, The No Names had signed to Albert Productions and had renamed themselves The Throb.

As Glenn A. Baker wrote, Albert saw The Throb as a `poor man's Easybeats', with their Dutch and English members and tough image. Ted Albert and The Easybeats' manager Mike Vaughan suggested The Throb record a Rolling Stones album track, `The Fortune Teller' (written by Allen Toussaint as Naomi Neville), as its debut single. `The Fortune Teller'/`Believe in Me' came out on EMI/Parlophone in February 1966 and immediately went to #4 in Sydney and #2 in Melbourne. The Throb became a hot live draw on the discotheque circuit. The band's contemporaries included The Allusions, The Missing Links, Marty Rhone and the Soul Agents, Steve & the Board and Jeff St John and the Id. As a follow-up to `The Fortune Teller', The Throb adapted an old folk song, `Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair'. The band's mournful, demonic reworking of `Black' (backed with `Turn My Head', August 1966) proved too much for the band's fans. It stalled in the lower reaches of the Sydney Top 40 (#38), but remains a remarkable achievement nonetheless.

By that stage, Van Wynk had left to join The Soul Agents. The Throb continued on as a three-piece for a short time, until Burgess left in October. He formed psychedelic band Honeybunch with his brother Colin Burgess (drums; ex-Untamed), Joe Travers (guitar; ex-Untamed) and Bill Verbaan (bass; ex-Morloch). Bell and Figures recruited two new players for The Throb, Paul `Dog' Wylde (organ, piano) and Bob Daisley (bass; ex-Dennis Williams and the Delawares, Gino Affair). That line-up broke up in January 1967. Figures replaced Daryl McKenzie in The Square Circle, which also comprised Dave Kain (guitar; ex-Untamed), Laurie Crooks (vocals), Paul Sine (keyboards) and Arthur Eizenberg (bass). The Square Circle became resident group at Sydney `mod discotheque' Suzie Wong's (where The Throb had also played), and Denny Burgess joined for a couple of months. He returned to Honeybunch, which became known as The Haze at the end of 1967.

Colin Burgess joined The Master's Apprentices in January 1968, which brought The Haze to an end. Denny Burgess spent several months with Brisbane blues band Thursday's Children during mid-1968. He turned up in the 1970 line-up of Ray Brown's old band The Whispers before travelling to the UK. There he joined the final, three-piece line-up of The Master's Apprentices with Doug Ford (guitar, vocals) and Colin Burgess (drums) circa 1972. That line-up recorded the track `Freedom Seekers', which remained unissued until reissue specialists Raven included it on the Master's Apprentices rarities album Jam It Up! (1987). Raven also included the Throb tracks `The Fortune Teller' and `Black', plus The No Names' `She is Mine' on an EP shared with The Wild Cherries (in the Australian Rock Archives series, 1979).

In the meantime, Figures had joined Jeff St John and Yama (and later Copperwine). Van Wynk joined The Cherokees, who were just entering their most popular phase with hits like `Oh Monah' and `Minnie the Moocher'. He remained with The Cherokees for a year, during which time he co-wrote `Hide and Seek' with Doug Trevor. The song became a hit for Somebody's Image. Van Wynk next joined Bobby Bright's new band Penny Arcade in 1968, and by the end of 1968 he was playing in the Elliot Gordon Union. In 1983, Denny and Colin Burgess formed hard rock band His Majesty with Japanese singer Yukiko Davis and Spike Williams (guitar). His Majesty launched itself in a blaze of publicity, but neither the singles `Glory Boys'/`Champagne Cocaine' (November 1983) and `C Me Comin''/`Randy' (February 1985, on the Regal label) nor its live shows attracted sufficient interest from the public. His Majesty broke up in 1987.

Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd


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