The Wild Cherries were formed in 1964 by Melbourne University students John Bastow (vocals), Rob Lovett (guitar and vocals), and Les Gilbert (bass).
Local bluesman Malcolm McGee soon joined on lead guitar and vocals, and the original line-up was completed by Geoff Hales on drums (although he was replaced by Kevin Murphy almost immediately).
Lovett left in October 1965 to join The Loved Ones, and early in 1966, Murphy left to travel to the UK and was replaced by English-born drummer Keith Barber.
By June 1966, the group had disbanded and McGee left to join Python Lee Jackson while Bastow returned to his studies.
Barber and Gilbert reformed The Wild Cherries at the close of ’66, recruiting singer Dan Robinson and bassist Peter Eddey.
Ex-Purple Hearts lead guitarist Lobby Loyde completed the second incarnation in January 1967.
The group immediately signed to Festival Records and recorded their debut single, the Loyde penned Krome Plated Yabby. It failed to chart when it was released in June 1967.
Undeterred, the group followed it up with Loyde’s That’s Life which was released in November and became a minor hit in Melbourne. It peaked at #37 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in January 1968.
By early 1968 Eddey had left to return to university and John Phillips from The Running Jumping Standing Still joined on bass.
The band’s third single, released in April 1968, was Gotta Stop Lying, which also failed to chart. The group’s final Festival single, I Don’t Care, took the “wall of sound” approach, complete with lavish orchestration and female backing vocals. The Wild Cherries’ crowning achievement on a creative level, it was another chart failure.
A mass exodus followed, with founding member Les Gilbert first to leave in September 1968. Soon afterwards, Barber, Phillips and Robinson departed and Loyde retained the band’s name.
Loyde recruited Brisbane’s Matt Taylor on vocals and harmonica from Bay City Union and three musicians from another Brisbane group, Thursday’s Children – Barry Harvey (drums), Steve Pristash (bass) and Barry Sullivan (guitar). By November though, Loyde had left to join Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs.
Brian Wilson joined on vocals to replace Taylor who left in November (eventually he joined Chain in 1970), Tim Piper joined on lead guitar in December 1968.
The Wild Cherries disbanded in April 1969 without recording any further material. Harvey, Piper and Sullivan joined Chain in late 1969.
This line-up stayed together long enough to produce a solitary single – the environmentally-themed guitar tour-de-force I Am The Sea – and to appear at the inaugural Sunbury Festival in January 1972. They split the following month.