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Encyclopedia entry for 'Moving Pictures' LETTER:

Formed in 1978
StyleRock
 Original line-up: Alex Smith (vocals, guitar; ex-Bilgola Bop Band, This Side Up), Garry Frost (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Charlie Cole (keyboards), Andrew Thompson (sax; ex-Bilgola Bop Band), Ian Lees (bass; ex-This Side Up), Paul Freeland (drums)
 Albums: Days of Innocence (Wheatley, 1981), Matinee (Wheatley, 1983), Last Picture Show (Wheatley, 1987).

History
Sydney band Moving Pictures came to prominence in 1982 with the melodramatic power ballad `What About Me?' written by Garry Frost. The single shot to #1 and established the band as one of the most popular acts on the Australian music scene. Despite a couple of further minor hit singles and years of solid touring, Moving Pictures was never able to replicate the runaway success of `What About Me?'

Hyperactive lead singer Alex Smith and Frost formed Moving Pictures, and immediately set about establishing the band's reputation as a hard working, R&B-inspired pub-rock outfit. The main inspirations for the band's sound and style were Bruce Springsteen, Graham Parker and Van Morrison. The band signed to the Wheatley management organisation and issued two singles during 1981, `Walls'/`All the Way' (July) and `Bustin' Loose'/`Saturday Love' (October). Initially the band's debut album, Days of Innocence (October 1981), failed to reach the national Top 40, but it was a steady seller over the 1981/82 summer. With the release of `What About Me?'/`Round Again' in January 1982, interest in the album picked up and both records hit the #1 spot simultaneously on their respective charts during February.

`What About Me?' became one of the biggest hits of the year, and it won Best Single Award at the 1982 Countdown Awards. The band's next single, `Sweet Cherie'/`Nothing to Do', was not successful, although the follow-up `Winners'/`Pay the Piper' reached #12 during November. In the meantime Mark Meyer (ex-Stylus, Richard Clapton Band, Mark Gillespie Band) had replaced original drummer Paul Freeland. US label Elektra signed Moving Pictures and issued `What About Me?', which reached the American Top 20 (#19). Meanwhile, the album sold well enough to register in the US Top 60. Unfortunately, on the eve of a US tour that would have taken in support dates with Tom Petty, Hall and Oates and REO Speedwagon, Elektra collapsed and the band was unable to follow up on the interest generated.

Moving Pictures issued its second album, Matinee, in October 1983. It reached #16 on the national chart and produced the minor hit single `Back to the Streets'/`Spies' (#37 in September). The album yielded three more singles, `Where They Belong'/ `Pleasure and Pain' (November), `Back to Booze and Blues'/`Sisters of Mercy' (December) and `Never'/`We Share Our Love' (March 1984), but none charted in the national Top 40. The band maintained a strong live following, and at the end of 1983 undertook a successful tour of Japan. By 1984, problems within the band had come to a head and founding member Frost left. He went on to form 1927. Initially Joey Amenta (ex-Taste, Redhouse, Russell Morris Band, Wendy and the Rocketts) took Frost's place, until Kevin Bennett came in as a permanent replacement.

Moving Pictures continued touring for another three years. Following the Last Picture Show tour in May 1987, the band members went their separate ways. The tour resulted in the live album Last Picture Show (December 1987). With Moving Pictures' break-up, Smith formed Alex Smith and the Volunteers, which had transformed into Alex Smith and DBM by 1989. DBM comprised Ben Little (guitar), Lee Borkman (keyboards; ex-Pink Slips, Scribble), Dave Carter (bass) and Mark O'Shea (drums). In 1991 he fronted The Blues Liners, and by 1992 was working in the UK where he recorded a single, `This Time Tomorrow', under the aegis of Asia's bass player John Wetton. The single came out on the Emerald City label in July 1992. Meanwhile, Ian Lees, Kevin Bennett and Mark Meyer formed blues band Chasin' the Train with Canadian guitar ace Kirk Lorange (ex-Richard Clapton Band).



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

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