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MONDO ROCK
THE COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY
(2CD out 20 October 2017 through Mushroom Group)

Track Listing 

Disc One

  1. The Fugitive Kind
  2. Searching For My Baby
  3. Love Shock
  4. Primal Park
  5. State Of The Heart
  6. Summer of 81
  7. Chemistry
  8. Cool World
  9. Step Up, Step Out
  10. Mondo Sexo
  11. Tied Up In Knots
  12. No Time
  13. The Queen and Me
  14. In Another Love
  15. A Touch Of Paradise

Disc Two

  1. Come Said The Boy
  2. Baby Wants To Rock
  3. The Modern Bop
  4. Marina
  5. Cost Of Living
  6. Good Advice
  7. The Moment
  8. Dark Secrets
  9. Rule Of Threes
  10. Primitive Love Rites
  11. Boom Baby Boom
  12. Aliens Walk Among Us
  13. Why Fight It
  14. I Had You In Mind
  15. Soul Reason

It’s perhaps easy to forget just how big Mondo Rock were. Fun fact: They had more hit singles in the ’80s than Cold Chisel, Australian Crawl and Men At Work.

The Complete Anthology is the definitive Mondo Rock story. All the hits, plus some classic album tracks and rarities. Two CDs, 30 songs. Never-before-seen photos. And a 10,000-word overview of the band’s remarkable career.

Featuring choice cuts from six studio albums, a Top 5 compilation and one EP, The Complete Anthology opens with Mondo Rock’s debut single, 1978’s ‘The Fugitive Kind’, and concludes with their final release, 1991’s ‘Soul Reason’. In between are a string of pop classics, including ‘Come Said The Boy’, ‘State Of The Heart’, ‘Cool World’, ‘Chemistry’, ‘Summer of ’81’, ‘No Time’, the American chart hit ‘Primitive Love Rites’, and Mondo Rock’s original recording of ‘A Touch Of Paradise’, which arrived four years before John Farnham’s cover (“as close to a ballad ‘standard’ as Australian rock will ever get”, according to music historian Glenn A. Baker).

Mondo Rock were leading players in the glory days of Australian pub rock, but they always did things their own way. Writing about the band’s fourth long player, 1984’s The Modern Bop, Rolling Stone stated: “The album achieves the Mondo’s oft-quoted aim: ‘adult’ music that isn’t soft or easy-listening.

That was my original intention, I think,” Ross Wilson said. “That Mondo Rock should be a band to play music for big kids.

Mondo Rock were a wonderful mass of contradictions. At the height of pub rock, their first Top 10 hit was a ballad – the timeless ‘State Of The Heart’ (which recently turned up in the Oscar-nominated film Lion). Eric McCusker, the son of a nuclear physicist, wrote a song called ‘Chemistry’. And the band’s biggest hit, ‘Come Said The Boy’ (“a pop classic”, according to legendary American record executive Clive Davis), was banned by Sydney’s then biggest pop station 2SM.

The Mondo Rock story started in 1976. Ross Wilson’s initial idea was to have temporary line-ups, and, indeed, many great musicians have been Mondo Rock members – more than 30 in all – including the classic line-up and current touring band, featuring Ross Wilson, Eric McCusker, James Black (a star of the RocKwiz Orkestra) and Paul Christie (who also had hits with The Party Boys).

Not many rock lives have a second act. But Mondo Rock was Ross Wilson’s second chart-topping band. With Daddy Cool, Ross released one of the biggest Australian singles of all time, the iconic ‘Eagle Rock’, which spent 10 weeks at number one and inspired Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’. And Daddy Cool’s unforgettable debut album, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, was, at the time, the biggest-selling Australian album ever … bested only by Skyhooks’ Living In The 70’s – an album that Ross produced.

Ross produced the first three Skyhooks albums and the first two Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons albums. Ross has also appeared with The Wiggles (as “King Mondo”), and he’s been raided by the Victorian Vice Squad (they seized The Party Machine’s songbook, deeming it “obscene and seditious”. The book featured Ross’s song ‘I Don’t Believe All Your Kids Should Be Virgins’). Ross’s songs have been covered by John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes and Joe Cocker, and he released his own song called ‘(I Was On) MTV In The 80s’. “I was on MTV in the ’80s,” Ross points out, “the real one in the US.”

As Juke asked in 1981: “Was there ever an Australian rock scene without Ross Wilson?

Glenn A. Baker stated: “There is no other Australian performer able to claim a longer consistent chart profile.” Ross was still at school when he scored his first hit – The Pink Finks’ cover of ‘Louie Louie’ in 1965.

Mondo Rock’s Chemistry album came 10 years after Daddy Cool’s debut album. It hit number two and was declared the Best Australian Album of 1981 at the Countdown Awards. “It was different,” Ross says of fame the second time ’round, “because I had been through it before. I was better equipped, more media-savvy and self-aware. But I’ve got to say that it still takes its toll. The glare of the media spotlight and the endless touring can still drive you mad. It took longer, but it still drove me nuts after a while.”

In Mondo Rock, Ross’s songwriting smarts were complemented by the pop genius of Eric McCusker, who was crowned Best Australian Songwriter at the 1982 Countdown Awards. Eric is a master pop craftsman, responsible for the bulk of Mondo Rock’s catalogue, including ‘Come Said The Boy’, ‘State Of The Heart’, ‘Chemistry’, ‘Summer of ’81’, ‘No Time’, ‘The Queen And Me’ and ‘Good Advice’.

When Mondo Rock are inevitably inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, Ross will be our first triple Hall of Famer (he was inducted solo in 1989 and with Daddy Cool in 2006).

As Jimmy Barnes stated in 2014: “Ross Wilson is still the boss.” Mondo Rock’s The Complete Anthology illustrates why – and showcases a brilliant band, with an extraordinary catalogue of hits.

COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY IS OUT 20 OCTOBER 2017   

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