| ||Rob E.G. albums: Jezabel (Festival, 1963), Best of Rob E.G. (Festival, 1964), Rob E.G. Plays Hawaiian (Festival, 1964), Guitar Sounds of Rob E.G. (Summit, 1965), 5-4-3-2-1 The Festival File Volume Three (Festival, 1988); Robie Porter albums: Songs (Festival, 1968), Heart of the Matter (MGM, 1969).|
As Glenn A. Baker has noted, Rob E.G. (real name Robert George Porter, b. 1942) was, by any criterion, a curious sensation. Amidst Australia's frantic rock'n'roll boom of the early 1960s, clean-cut Rob E.G. appeared on stage with a lap steel guitar, playing novelty instrumentals with titles like `Whiplash' and `Railroadin''. As such, he was a permissible teen idol for the young girls of the community.
Rob E.G. learnt the lap steel while still at school. He first came to record company attention in 1959 when he played a version of the Santo and Johnny hit `Sleepwalk' on Sydney television. He signed to the Rex label and issued the minor hit singles Hank Williams' `Your Cheatin' Heart'/ `Seven Foot Two' (February 1960), `Whiplash'/`Do You Love Me?' (Sydney #12 in August 1960), `Railroadin''/`My First Love' (Sydney #31 in October 1960) and `Comanche Sunset'/`China Doll' (March 1961).
His career almost came to an end when he suffered spinal injuries in a car accident. He re-turned to active work in 1962, compered Opportunity Knocks for Channel Nine and signed to Festival. Over the next three years, he scored major hits with `Si Senor (I Theenk)'/`Swan River (Twist)' (Sydney #1, Melbourne #2 in May 1962), `5-4-3-2-1 Zero'/`Jamaican Farewell' (Melbourne #3 in October), `Jezabel'/`Stage to Cimmaron' (Sydney #2, Melbourne #8 in May 1963), `55 Days at Peking'/`Greenhorn' (Sydney and Melbourne #1 in July), `Soul'/`Cottin' Pickin'' (Sydney #27, Melbourne #25 in November) and the vocal single `When You're Not Near'/`Aloha Oe' (Sydney #7, Melbourne #12 in August 1964).
Some of his singles that missed the Top 40 included `Carmen'/`Senorita' (March 1964), `Tim-Buc-Too'/`Adventures in Paradise' (May 1964) and `Hawaii Tattoo'/`Peter Gunn' (December 1964). By 1964, Porter was a Bandstand regular and also hosting Surf Sound. With the arrival of Beatlemania, the first phase of his career ended. Beatles manager Brian Epstein encouraged Porter to travel to England, which he did with little success. As Robie Porter, he continued recording singles for Festival: `Either Way I Lose'/`Born' (July 1966), `I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do'/`No One Lives in My World' (March 1967), `You Could End the World'/ `Sure Has Been Good Lovin' You Baby' (January 1968), and `Writing's on the Wall'/`If You'd Let Me' (April 1968).
Porter then travelled to the USA to write and record. He returned to Australia in 1970 and issued three singles on his independent Sparmac label, `Gemini'/`He is Not Me' (August 1970), `Santa Claus'/`Funky Version' (December) and a cover of the Joe Cocker/Chris Stainton song `Try to Find More Love (There Must be a Reason)'/`Empty' (March 1971). He turned his attention to production, management and promotion. Over the 1971�72 period, he produced hits for Daddy Cool, Rick Springfield and Healing Force. In 1973, he set up the Wizard label with Stephen Binder and began producing hit singles and albums for Hush and Marcia Hines. A number of Hines' most memorable tracks, including `Shining' and `A Love Story', were written by Porter. Although remembered as a novelty act from the 1960s, Porter was a successful music businessman throughout the 1970s and 1980s.