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Encyclopedia entry for 'Craig McLachlan' LETTER:

StyleRock, pop
 Albums: Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (CBS, 1990), Hands Free (Sony, 1992).

History
Craig McLachlan (b. 1965) first came to public attention during 1986 with the long-running role of the likeable larrikin Henry Ramsay in the popular television soapie Neighbours. In 1989, McLachlan won the coveted Gold Logie for his performance in Neighbours. McLachlan was also an accomplished singer/guitarist and in 1988 he formed a band to play the Melbourne pub circuit. Craig McLachlan and the Y-Fronts comprised McLachlan, his high school mate Mark Bain (bass) and Dave Williams (drums). In 1989, McLachlan quit Neighbours to appear in another popular soapie, Home and Away. He relocated to Sydney where he formed Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 with Bain and John Clarke (drums; ex-John Farnham Band).

Check 1-2 signed to CBS and issued its debut single, `Rock the Rock' (November 1989), which peaked at #23 on the national chart during January 1990. The Garth Porter-produced album Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (May 1990) yielded the hit singles Bo Diddley's `Mona'/`I Don't Mind' (#4 in June), `Amanda'/`Baby Loves Funky' (#29 in August) and `I Almost Felt Like Crying' (October). Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 reached #4 on the national chart during July. `Mona' took out the 1990 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Award for the Highest Selling Single of the Year. `Mona', `Amanda' and `I Almost Felt Like Crying' also performed well in the UK, where they reached #2 (June 1990), #19 (August) and #50 (November) respectively. His popularity had no doubt been given a boost by the runaway success of Neighbours over there.

In 1991 McLachlan appeared in the television miniseries Heroes II: The Return, and the New Zealand feature film Absent Without Leave. He enjoyed a minor solo hit single in Australia when `On My Own' peaked at #25 during September 1991. His second solo album, Hands Free (March 1992), produced two minor UK hit singles in `One Reason Why' (#29 in April) and `On My Own' (#59 in November). Another single lifted from Hands Free, a cover of Dave Edmunds' `I Hear You Knocking' (July), was not successful.

In June 1992, he showed his versatility by playing the role of Frank N. Furter in the Australian revival of Richard O'Brien's stage musical The Rocky Horror Show. At the end of the year he took the role of Danny Zuko in the UK production of the stage musical Grease. McLachlan's duet with Debbie Gibson (as Sandy) on the perennial favourite, `You're the One that I Want', reached #13 on the UK charts in July 1993. His single of the Grease theme song also reached #44 in December. McLachlan then concentrated on his acting career, with roles in the British drama series Bugs and the British/German feature film Catherine the Great. His most recent UK hit single, `Every Day' (#65 in July 1995), came out under the moniker of Craig McLachlan and the Culprits.

Craig McLachlan returned to Australia in 1998 to star as Danny Zuko in the Australian stage production of Grease – The Arena Spectacular, which premiered in May. Dannii Minogue initially appeared in the role of Rizzo, to be replaced by Kelley Abbey. The 20th Anniversary of the film also saw the reissue of the Grease feature film soundtrack with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

He was back in Australia a year later to star as Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli in the Australian stage production of Happy Days – The Arena Mega Musical (October 1999), alongside Rebecca Gibney, Jon Stevens, Doug Parkinson (as Al), Jo Beth Taylor and Human Nature (as 1950s teen sensations The Naturals).



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

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