‘Lost’ Easybeats footage from Top of the Pops performance in Britain added to National Film and Sound Archive | The Canberra Times

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When Lucy Culliton stumbled upon a little white box in her late parents’ basement, she didn’t think anything of it. Its contents, however, held an incredible piece of music television history that people thought to be lost- footage of Australian band, The Easybeats, performing Friday On My Mind on the British show, Top of the Pops. It’s the only known copy of the first time the band performed on Top Of The Pops, Britain’s most-watched music television show, which, at the time, had a bigger audience than the population of Australia. And according to Ms Culliton, it was not the only piece of music television history her parents owned. “Both my parents – Tony and Stephanie – had died 11 days apart last year and my sister and I still haven’t gone through any of their things,” Ms Culliton said. “I was actually looking for some of my old things when I found it. And I didn’t think it was that important, because dad had found some earlier films I didn’t think this one was so important. “But I rang Carolyn, who worked with him … and she said to give it to the Film and Sound Archive. “We haven’t been through anything else so there could be more treasures – who knows?” The Easybeats clip was delivered to the National Film and Sound Archive in September and that’s when its significance was discovered. Ms Culliton’s father, the late Tony Culliton, was a television director and had already handed over everything he believed was of value to the National Film and Sound Archive two years earlier, including 16mm films and still images from his time at ATN7 Sydney. “Dad worked in music television from the very beginning of his career. His first job was as a stage manager on Bandstand. Then he was directing It’s All Happening. So he was really into music,” Ms Culliton said. But despite Mr Culliton’s history in music television, it is still unclear how the significant piece of Australian music history made its way into his possession. “Dad must have completely forgotten about it,” Ms Culliton says. “It’s such a shame he’s not alive as he would have been so excited to show everyone.” The survival rate of 1960s Top of the Pop editions remains extremely low. Of the 315 episodes produced from 1964 to the end of the decade, the archive understands that only about five complete episodes survived. As this performance is on November 24, 1966, and is not part of those episodes, the expectation was that The Easybeats’ most significant international television appearance would never re-emerge. According to the archive’s senior curatorial officer Simon Smith this performance is the moment Australian rock music came of age internationally – a confirmation that Australian bands could succeed on the world stage. READ MORE: “We consider this to be one of the missing holy grails of Australian music on television,” he said. “This is such a fantastic find and one that could easily have never occurred but for the National Film and Sound Archive’s existing connection with the Culliton family – it’s thanks to them and their interest in our audiovisual heritage that this film found its way to us. “The international success of The Easybeats paved the way for rock bands like AC/DC, Midnight Oil and INXS in later years, and this is arguably the moment where it all began.” The Easybeats remain one of Australia’s most successful rock bands, enjoying enormous local success with hits such as Friday On My Mind, Sorry, She’s So Fine, Women (Make You Feel Alright) and St Louis. Friday On My Mind is still one of Australia’s key rock music anthems. In 2001, the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) voted the song as the most significant Australian song of the past 75 years. In 2007, the song was one of the inaugural 10 inductees into the archive’s Sounds of Australia acknowledging the nation’s most important sound recordings. In digitally scanning the 16mm film print for long-term preservation, the archive is also pleased to be returning a digital file master of the performance to the BBC archives, as well as adding it to their own collection. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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