When Australian band Zoot moved from their hometown of Adelaide (where they had played as Times Unlimited and Down The Line) to Melbourne in 1968, their management gave them a bubblegum image, centred on the slogan “Think Pink, Think Zoot”. The band dressed entirely in pink outfits.
It took the band until 1970 to shake the image and achieve musical credibility.
That year, Zoot ceremoniously burned all their pink gear on camera on the show Happening ’70 and promoted the release of the single Hey Pinky by taking out an advert in Go-Set magazine featuring a nude rear photograph of the band members. The song was a scathing comment on the “Think Pink” image.
Zoot’s biggest hit single came in December of that year – a radically re-arranged thundering hard rock version of The Beatles‘ Eleanor Rigby.
The single reached #4 on the national charts in 1971, although it didn’t achieve gold record status until after it was re-issued in 1980.
Zoot followed it up with another hard rock single, The Freak (April 1971), which only reached #22 in Melbourne. The group parted company the following month.
Guitarist Rick Springfield launched his solo career with the single Speak To The Sky (October 1971) and went on to have major success in the US in the 1980s as a solo artist.
Darryl Cotton and Beeb Birtles (real name Gerard Birtlekamp) formed a short-lived duo called Frieze before Cotton left for the US.
Birtles went on to play with Mississippi before becoming one of the key personnel of the Little River Band, a veritable Australian institution who achieved great success at home and in the US during the 1970s.
Darryl Cotton achieved solo success in the US and Australia, as well as turning to television for roles in The Young Doctors and on Australian children’s television.
Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer in May 2012 and passed away on 27 July. He was 62.