My whole life, I’ve had to listen to my dad bang on about the Easybeats. “George Young and Harry Vander from the Easybeats are the only reason there’s an AC/DC”. “They sold more albums in Australian than The Beatles”. “Your mother’s a terrible cook.” I’m not sure what the third one has to do with the Easybeats, but I just felt like I needed to round out his top 3 topics of conversation.
Reading an AC/DC biography, I learned that the first statement is absolutely true. Without the guiding hand of their big brother George, Angus and Malcolm Young would never have had the business brains to make their band one of the biggest in rock history. I still have no idea if the Easybeats really sold more records in Australian than the Beatles and this is no forum to discuss my mum’s culinary skills. So, if for no other reason than to maybe have a fresh response next time my dad insists on talk about this band, I listened to Good Friday.
While a more than serviceable cover, River Deep Mountain High is still just a cover. Other songs here might also be covers, I’ve just never heard other versions, so they get the advantage of freshness. And that freshness is ripe enough to make Do You Have Soul? and Saturday Night a nice surprise, while they stick rigidly to the rock n roll and pop rules of the late 60s.
Definitely more English than American in their rock n roll and pop sensibilities, You Me, We Love and Pretty Girl are what I assume suits with skinny ties would sound like if they made a noise. Especially Pretty Girl, which is as old school innocent and early rock n roll as the title sounds.
As soon as Friday on My Mind kicks in, it’s clear why this is the one song I could name off the time of my head before listening to Good Friday. The melody, the hook, the catchy lyrics. Everything about Friday on My Mind is perfect when it comes to writing, arranging and performing this kind of song.
Happy is the Man sounds like the Easybeats and Good Friday taking on a serious theme about mankind’s predilection for dissatisfaction and materialism. It also manages to do that while keeping the good times rolling with its upbeat sound. While Hound Dog goes to a little more effort to have a fresh take on an old classic than they attempted on River Deep Mountain High.
Friday on My Mind might be the clear standout, but this album churns out gems of almost the same quality right up until nearly the very end, with Made My Bed (Gonna Lie In It) and Remember Sam. If Good Friday is the kind of quality the Easybeats always produced, and if they managed to keep it going for a few albums, I have no problem believing that they sold more albums in Australian than The Beatles