BREAK OUT COVERS
Normie Rowe & the Playboys – Break Out / Born To Be By Your Side (Australia: Sunshine QK 2493) 8/68
The biggest Australian solo star of the Sixties. Coming from Melbourne, he released his first disc in April 1965, having built a strong act with his backing group the Playboys. His biggest hit remains “Que Sera Sera”, a number One in September 1965 and the most successful Australian 60s single. The B-side “Shakin’ All Over” was a hit in its own right (both covered by the Lords in Germany).
In 1966, following the Easybeats, he decided to try his luck in Great-Britain. But success there eluded him, although he recorded “Ooh La La” and “It’s Not Easy” in London, which became two huge hits down under, and after a tour of the United States he was back in Australia. At the end of ‘67, he was called for national service, which meant being sent to Viet-Nam as the country supported the USA. Before parting, Normie Rowe & the Playboys recorded some tracks to be released while he was away, and the group split.
Normie joined the army in February 1968, and was sent to Viet-Nam in January 1969. Like the king Elvis Presley in 1958 (sent to Germany) and French teenage idol Johnny Hallyday (sent to Germany in 1964) he could be the image of his country’s army, releasing records and even appearing in TV-shows, and ended up as a corporal. But upon return, his career was finished. He even suffered a backlash, as public opinion had turned against the war by 1970.
This is an issue the 60s British musicians did not have to face, as the draft was lifted in Britain just before the likes of John Lennon and Cliff Richard were to be called. In Germany, Achim Reichel, leader of The Rattles, the most famous German beat group, was called in 1966 and served 18 months. His picture in uniform could be spread in teenage magazines, but upon return he had to found a new band, Wonderland, which had only one hit. Likewise in France, many famous yé-yé stars saw their career stopped by a spell in the army (1½ years), although they could be lucky the Algerian war had ceased in 1962.
In August 1968, Normie Rowe issued the single “Break Out / Born To Be By Your Side” on Sunshine QK 2493. Was it recorded before he was drafted ?
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich recorded their version in February 1968, and it was released on the “If No-One Sang” album at the end of May ’68. Which one is the original version ?
Brook Benton – Do Your Own Thing LP (US: Cotillion SD-6002) 7/69
Benjamin Franklin Peay (19 Sept. 1931-9 April 1988)
First hits in 1959: “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” & “Endlessly”
In 1968, Dave Dee told the NME that “Breakout” was once done
Spanish cover: Los Fakirs – Ya te perdi EP (Mexico: Peerless EPP-1097) 1969