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Encyclopedia entry for 'GANGgajang' LETTER:

Formed in 1983
StylePop rock
 Original line-up: Mark `Cal' Callaghan (guitar, vocals; ex-Riptides), Geoffrey Stapleton (guitar, keyboards; ex-Aliens), Chris Bailey (bass; ex-Red Angel Panic, Headband, Angels), Buzz Bidstrup (drums, ex-Angels)
 Albums: GANGgajang (True Tone/PolyGram, 1985); GangAGAIN (Mercury/PolyGram, 1987); Lingo (rooArt, 1993), The Essential GANGgajang (PolyGram, 1996).

History
This popular Sydney outfit originally came together as a loose collection of seasoned musicians out for a bit of fun. The band's name was derived from the onomatopoeic word for a loud, open chord struck on a guitar. Mark Callaghan and Buzz Bidstrup recorded `Gimme Some Loving' initially as a demo. Chris Bailey and Geoffrey Stapleton joined the pair. By that stage, Callaghan, Bidstrup and Chris Bailey had also worked on the music for the ABC-TV series Sweet and Sour. When Mercury issued `Gimme Some Loving'/`Noisy Talking' as a single (November 1984) it became a minor hit (#33).

Suddenly in demand, GANGgajang went back into the studios with American producer Joe Wissert (Lovin' Spoonful, The Turtles, Boz Scaggs) in order to complete its debut album. Augmented by Gordon Sullivan (lead guitar; on loan from Deckchairs Overboard), Kayellen Bee (vocals, percussion) and Marilyn Delaney (vocals, keyboards), the band went on tour. Robert James then replaced Sullivan on lead guitar.

The album (issued November 1985) yielded the singles `House of Cards'/`From the Top to the Bottom' (March), `Giver of Life'/`Mysterious' (August), `Sounds of Then'/`House of Cards' (live) (December) and `The Bigger They Are'/`Giver of Life' (live) (April 1986). `Giver of Life'/`Mysterious' also appeared as a six-track double single pack, with four bonus live tracks on the additional single. GANGgajang also contributed a track, `Dream at Night', to the soundtrack of the Australian feature film Emoh Ruo; `Dream of Night' appeared as a single in October 1985.

Although not a big hit at the time (#21 in Sydney), the wonderfully evocative `Sounds of Then' became well known ten years later when it was used to advertise Coca-Cola and then picked up by the Nine Network as its promotional signature tune. GANGgajang achieved gold status (35 000 copies sold), and the band toured for two years. GangAGAIN (October) and its singles `Initiation'/`Sounds of Then' (January), `American Money'/`Roof Only Leaks When It's Raining' (August) and `Tree of Love'/`Luck of the Irish' (December) followed in 1987.

Callaghan put GANGgajang on hold while all the members worked on other projects. Callaghan revived The Riptides, as well as producing a solo album, Sailors and Mermaids, and three singles, `I Will Be with You'/`Changing Times' (July 1988), `Do It Rite'/`Golden Years' (September) and `Golden Years'/`Spooky' (July 1989). Bidstrup, Stapleton, James, Bailey, Bee and Delaney were all involved in C&W combo The Stetsons. Stapleton joined The Dukes in 1990.

Bidstrup, Callaghan, Bailey and James (with new keyboard player Mark O'Connor) revived GANGgajang in 1993 to record Lingo for the rooArt label. The album (issued in May 1994) included the CD singles `Hundreds of Languages' (December 1993) and `Talk to Me' (April 1994). The reunion was short-lived. PolyGram issued the compilation The Essential GANGgajang in 1996. Over the course of ten years and three albums, GANGgajang produced a healthy legacy of joyous pop music.



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

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