The world has seen plenty of 1950s revival groups, but to think of Daddy Cool as simply another Sha Na Na is to miss part of the story.
In 1970 in Australia, Ross Wilson began to look for a project to replace his earlier band, Party Machine.
Wilson toyed with the idea of calling the new band Sons Of The Vegetal Mother and inviting musicians based on their availability for particular performances to form a ‘special occasions’ band playing light-hearted rock & roll oldies.
Wilson recruited members for the band, found a name in the title of The Big Bopper‘s 1950’s hit, and Daddy Cool was born.
The band found popularity immediately (partly because of their zany showmanship and costumes – a chicken, a propeller hat, Mickey Mouse ears etc) and by June 1971, Eagle Rock was the national #1 single in Australia.
Gradually the band’s style evolved. New members were brought in and the costumes were dropped.
Their first attempt to crack the US (in 1971) was a disaster. The promoters wanted Daddy Cool in the funny costumes, but Wilson would have no part of it.
Subsequent tours were more successful, but Wilson eventually broke up Daddy Cool, determined to find a better musical niche than a 50’s revival band.
The group re-formed in 1974 (after the break-up of Wilson’s latest venture, Mighty Kong), but problems over their recording contract meant their new lease of life was short (18 months) and added little to their reputation.
Wilson returned in the 1980s with the AOR schmaltz of Mondo Rock.
Ian ‘Gunther’ Gorman