Australian group The Valentines formed in Perth (Western Australia) in mid-1966, bringing together members of three leading local beat groups: Bon Scott and Wyn Milson were from covers band The Spektors, Vince Lovegrove, Ted Ward and John Cooksey from The Winstons, and Warwick Findlay from top West Australian band Ray Hoff & The Off Beats.
A major drawcard was the double vocal attack of dynamic frontmen Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove – Vince was the handsome hunk who delivered the song straight-faced; Bon his cheeky sidekick – and within a few weeks of their live debut, they were packing in crowds.
In their puff sleeves and blue sharkskin suits, they would belt out Build Me Up Buttercup with Bon clutching his breast on the word “heart”.
A couple of singles made it into the Western Australian charts, but it was two years before they got their national break, with their songs written for them by George Young and Harry Vanda, former members of Aussie rock sensations The Easybeats, and future producer-mentors to AC/DC.
The group moved to Melbourne in 1967 (then the epicentre of the Australian music biz) and for a brief period, they became one of the most popular bands in Australia.
Although they started out as an energetic soul/R&B band, they are best known for their affiliation with the bubblegum pop phenomenon of 1968-1970. But there was a wild side to the band which was evident in their live performances, and their off-stage carousing.
In 1969 they became the first Australian group to be busted (very publicly) for possession of marijuana, and when their next single – a sumptuous pop ballad written and sung by Bon entitled Juliette – was refused radio airplay as a result, Bon became angry, bitter, and disenfranchised from the whole ethos of the group.
Even the normally upbeat Lovegrove threw in the towel and The Valentines called it a day in August 1970.
Bon Scott moved to Adelaide and sang (and played the recorder!) in a folk-rock band called Fraternity before eventually achieving international success as the vocalist with AC/DC until his death in February 1980.
Vince Lovegrove went on to work as a journalist, television reporter (on the Australian Nine Network’s A Current Affair) and as the manager of Divinyls.