Rock Historian Glenn A Baker has called The Atlantics “one of the most extraordinarily talented rock groups Australia has ever produced”.
The band’s sound encompassed surf instrumentals and sneering garage-punk and, as well as issuing 18 singles under its own name, the band also backed Aussie rocker Johnny Rebb for a series of fine singles between 1964 and 1969.
The Atlantics formed in Sydney during 1961, with Jim Skaithitis replacing Eddy Matzenik on guitar a year later. The band’s first single for CBS, Moon Man, in February 1963, echoed The Shadows‘ twanging guitar sound.
Subsequent singles Bombora (#1 in Sydney in July that year) and The Crusher (#4 in Sydney in November) established the band as bona fide leaders of the burgeoning surf music craze.
CBS issued Bombora (an Australian Aboriginal word for large waves breaking over a rock shelf) in the USA, UK, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.
The Atlantics recorded seven more singles for CBS (including one with vocals, called Surfin’ Queen – recorded as Kenny Shane & The Atlantics) before moving to the Sunshine label in 1966.
Reinventing themselves, The Atlantics added a vocalist (Johnny Rebb) with Theo Penglis switching from guitar to keyboards. During this time, Johnny Rebb continued to release a number of singles under his own name with The Atlantics backing him.
Over the next year, the band recorded three remarkably tough rock singles, It’s A Hard Life (July 1966), I Put A Spell On You (January 1967) and Come On (March 1967) – all of which are highly regarded by aficionados of 1960s garage-punk. Re-issue specialists Raven Records included Come On on Ugly Things(1980), the seminal collection of Australian 1960s punk artefacts.
The Atlantics recorded five singles for the Ramrod label; Waiting Here For Someone (Sept 67); Sunshine & Roses (Dec 67); A Girl Like You (April 68); What Is Love? (Sept 68); and Light Shades Of Dark (Sept 69).
Their last recording was the Johnny Rebb single Ding Dong before they called it quits at the end of the decade.