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Encyclopedia entry for 'The Party Boys' LETTER:

Formed in 1982
 Original line-up: James Reyne (vocals; from Australian Crawl), Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals; from Kevin Borich Express), Harvey James (guitar; ex-Mississippi, Ariel, Sherbet, Swanee), Paul Christie (bass; ex-Kevin Borich Express, Mondo Rock), Buzz Bidstrup (drums; ex-Angels)
 Albums: Live at Several 21st's (Oz/EMI, 1983), Greatest Hits (of Other People) (Oz/EMI, 1983), No Song Too Sacred (Oz/EMI, 1984), You Need Professional Help (CBS, 1985), Rage (Best of the Party Boys) (J&B, 1986), The Party Boys (CBS, 1987), Greatest Hits, Misses, Rarities and `B' Sides (Sony/Columbia, 1992).

Paul Christie formed good-time rock'n'roll band The Party Boys initially for a one-off, two-week tour. The tour was so successful that two weeks extended into ten years, with major hit singles, best-selling albums and sell-out tours along the way. When Christie left Mondo Rock in late 1982, he called up a few old mates with the idea of putting together a covers band for a fun tour. The Party Boys played all cover versions in order to maximise their impact on the pub circuit. The band received enormous media coverage, and recorded a live album on the fourth gig. Live at Several 21st's reached #9 on the national chart in March 1983 and produced the single The Rolling Stones' `Bitch'/ `Brand New Cadillac'.

Reyne went back to his commitments with Australian Crawl and Richard Clapton took his place. The new line-up issued a second live album, Greatest Hits (of Other People), and single, Bobby Fuller Four's `I Fought the Law'/`The Stealer' (November 1983). The album reached #25 on the charts. Robin `The Beast' Riley (ex-Rose Tattoo) replaced Harvey James on guitar, and Shirley Strachan (ex-Skyhooks) replaced Clapton as lead singer. The new line-up issued another live album, No Song Too Sacred, and the single, Led Zeppelin's `Kashmir'/ `The Sea and I' (1984). The Paul Christie-penned B-side, `The Sea and I' was a sea shanty he recorded with Borich, Steve Balbi (bass) and Andy Cowan (keyboards; both from Kevin Borich Express).

In 1985, Christie contacted American guitar legend Joe Walsh (ex-James Gang, Eagles) and invited him to tour with The Party Boys. The new line-up of Christie, Borich, Walsh, Marc Hunter (vocals; Dragon) and Richard Harvey (drums; ex-Divinyls) undertook the sold-out The Great Bars of Australia tour and recorded a fourth live album, You Need Professional Help. In 1986, Angry Anderson (from Rose Tattoo) became the band's fifth lead singer. He fronted a reconstituted line-up that comprised Christie (who had moved from bass to second drums), Borich, Harvey, John Brewster (guitar; ex-Angels) and Alan Lancaster (bass; ex-Status Quo). Oddly enough, that line-up did not issue a live album.

John Swan (from Swanee) took over lead vocals, and his arrival ushered in the band's most popular phase. The line-up of Swan, Christie, Borich, Harvey, Lancaster and Brewster went into the studio to cut an album. The Party Boys (December 1987) marked a departure for the band, as it included six original songs among the covers. It became a best-seller and produced four hit singles: John Kongas' `He's Gonna Step on You Again'/ `Small Talk' (#1 in June 1987), Argent's `Hold Your Head Up'/`She's a Mystery' (#19 in November), `Is This the Way to Say Goodbye?'/`B-Side Shuffle' (December) and Them's `Gloria'/`Rising Sun' (March 1988).

Just as the band's success was peaking, Swan left to work on a feature film called Chase the Moon (which did not eventuate). At the end of 1987, Christie invited UK singer Graham Bonnett (ex-Marbles, Blackmore's Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group) to join The Party Boys, but after only five gigs Bonnett proved incompatible and he left. Swan returned for The Party Boys' support to AC/DC's February 1988 Australian tour. In late 1988, Joe Walsh came back for another tour with The Party Boys. The new line-up comprised Christie, Borich, Walsh, American Calvin Welch (bass) and Hamish, Fergus and Angus Richardson (backing vocals). Walsh also appeared on the band's next studio single, `Follow Your Heart' (March 1989), which had been written and sung by Borich. Later in the year, respected UK bluesman Eric Burdon became the band's seventh lead singer.

The new line-up comprised Christie, Burdon, Malcolm Eastick (guitar; ex-Stars, Jimmy Barnes Band), Mal Logan (keyboards; ex-Healing Force, Renée Geyer Band) and Warren McLean (drums; ex-Machinations, I'm Talking). Once again, that line-up did not record. At the end of 1989, Christie assembled a new, studio-only line-up of The Party Boys in order to record a single. The line-up comprised Ross Wilson (vocals), Stuart Fraser (guitar; from Noiseworks), Rick Mellick (keyboards), Dorian West (bass), Adrian Cannon (drums), Kevin Bennett (backing vocals) and Alex Smith (backing vocals; ex-Moving Pictures). Due to contractual reasons, the band was unable to use Wilson's original lead vocal on the cover of the Manfred Mann hit `Doo Wah Diddy Diddy' and unknown singer Vince Contarino (from Adelaide covers band The Zep Boys) redid the vocal.

When issued as a single in early 1990, `Doo Wah Diddy Diddy' (backed with `Where's the Party? . . . Boys!' which was sung by Swan) reached #24 on the national chart. With the help of Swan, American producer and bass player Leon Gaer and a host of session players, Christie recorded a final Party Boys single, Billy Preston's `That's the Way God Planned It'/`Just Like We Should'. It came out in September 1992. After ten years, Christie finally laid The Party Boys to rest. He wrote a book based on his experiences in the rock business, The Rock Music Self Management Manual, and moved into band management (The Breed, Julieanne Henry, Tamam Shud).

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


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