Rock & Pop Family Trees, The Easybeats and “Friday On My Mind”

When I was young, and worked in offices, I couldn’t wait for the weekend to come. From this end of the telescope I really want time to slow down a bit more, as the weekend comes round just too quickly (although always a treat to have another edition of Rol’s Saturday Snapshots). Last year I dashed off a quick poem about this phenomenon for my writing class and it made reference to three songs. As I was the most mature (chronologically) of all the students in my group, no-one recognised the songs, but I’m pretty sure regular visitors to this place will pick them out easily.

I Don’t Like Fridays

Always used to have Friday on my mind
Start of the weekend
The promise (often unfulfilled)
of exciting times ahead

Now it comes round too quickly
Another hundred and sixty eight hours gone
Whoa time, slow down,
you move too fast

Boomtown Bob didn’t like Mondays
Now I want Monday to last forever
So much left to do
So little time…

Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats:

Back then I realised I knew very little about Australian group the Easybeats who had a big hit in 1966 with Friday On My Mind, so I did a little research, and as often happens around here I discovered a fascinating rock and pop family tree.

This winter has been quite mild here in Scotland but back in 1962-63 we had what was called The Big Freeze, the worst winter on record, with snow lying eight feet deep. A TV advert at the time offered assisted travel to families who fancied a new life in Australia, and 15 members of the Young family from Glasgow moved there in June 1963. One of their sons was George Young who went on to form the Easybeats. His younger brothers Malcolm and Angus went on to form AC/DC a decade later. The Easybeats disbanded in 1969 but then in 1976 George got together with his old bandmate Harry Vanda to form new wave group Flash and the Pan.

Had the winter of 1962-63 been a mild one none of these bands might ever have existed. The family initially stayed at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre on the outskirts of Sydney which was where George Young met and became friends with another migrant, Dutchman Harry Vanda, and together they formed the Easybeats. Malcolm and Angus Young then developed the idea for their band. The name came about after their sister Margaret saw the initials “AC/DC” on her sewing machine. The brothers felt this name symbolised the raw energy and power-driven performances of their music. It was she who also came up with the very memorable schoolboy outfit for Angus Young.

I can’t pretend to be a fan of AC/DC but of course I know of their musical output, although probably attributed more to having watched the film School of Rock several times. I can’t pretend to be a fan of Jack Black either, as he always comes across as just a bit too manic for my liking, but that kind of characterisation was just what was needed for this film. (Fast forward to 2:30 for the best bit in this clip.)

The song Waiting For A Train by Flash and the Pan (George and Harry’s new wave band) was the one that did best in the UK Singles Chart. It reached the No. 7 spot in 1983.

So, “What’s It All About? – I know there are lots of you who still long for the weekend but trust me, once you get to my age, you do want the week to slow down a bit more.

As for the song Friday On My Mind, Harry Vanda described it as reminiscent of the days when the band members lived in hostels in Sydney as “new Australians”. They longed for the end of the week because that’s when the fun began. The song has quite a build-up and after the opening cymbal crash, its just a staccato guitar for the next 20 seconds where the lead vocalist runs through the days of the week, explaining why Monday to Thursday doesn’t excite him. The bass finally comes in as he gets closer to the weekend. 30 seconds into the song we hit Friday, and the drums come in to play.

Well, that’s Saturday Snapshots played and my Saturday blogpost written. Better head off now and achieve meaningful things, as before we know it, it’ll be Friday again. Argh.

Until next time….

Friday On My Mind Lyrics
(Song by George Young/Harry Vanda)

Monday mornin’ feels so bad
Ev’rybody seems to nag me
Comin’ Tuesday I feel better
Even my old man looks good
Wed’sday just don’t go
Thursday goes too slow
I’ve got Friday on my mind

Gonna have fun in the city
Be with my girl, she’s so pretty
She looks fine tonight
She is out of sight to me
Tonight I’ll spend my bread, tonight
I’ll lose my head, tonight
I’ve got to get to night
Monday I’ll have Friday on my mind

Do the five day grind once more
I know of nothin’ else that bugs me
More than workin’ for the rich man
Hey! I’ll change that scene one day
Today I might be mad, tomorrow I’ll be glad
‘Cause I’ll have Friday on my mind

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

16 thoughts on “Rock & Pop Family Trees, The Easybeats and “Friday On My Mind””

    1. It does, doesn’t it. I imagine the youngsters of today would agree with the sentiments but perhaps would prefer them in a different style of song. Then again, most of the under-25s I know don’t work Mon-Fri, 9-5, it’s all unsocial working hours, weekends and evenings.

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    1. Yes, so many genres. I have a feeling they would have still formed bands had they stayed in Glasgow but fascinating how their story came about. Thanks for pointing out that programme – It may return as they often do. In my subconscious, I did possibly already know of the Young family and these different bands they formed but hadn’t really remembered about them until I started to look into Friday On My Mind a bit more.

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  1. I love Friday On My Mind and knew a little bit about the Easybeats but not the whole story – fascinating. Think I may have mentioned it before but have you seen those big Rock Family Trees books by Pete Frame? They really show up how intertwined and connected many band line-ups are (also the TV series based on them). Once long ago I even put one together in the same style featuring Mr SDS’ band as various members were linked to other bands in the local scene which also linked to others on a national scene – it was painstaking work putting it all together but to my mind more fun than any family tree!
    As for Fridays, with my fluid working hours I rather miss that Friday afternoon feeling but certainly not the Monday morning feeling…

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    1. Yes, I think I remember you mentioning the book re Rock family Trees. Love all this stuff and so fascinating. What a great idea to create one for Mr SDS – Bet it was a real work of art. Of course I’m now curious as to the links to bands from the national scene. You’ll have to fill me in on that one some day.

      We too are now both self-employed and work from home so no Monday morning blues, but… , no Friday afternoon feeling either. In fact as I’ve just recounted above, it drives me mad that I feel as if the week has barely begun, and we’re at the end of it again. I always plan to get so much done but the time just whizzes by. Shouldn’t complain however as I do hear stories of people who live alone, are perhaps retired or unemployed and stay in bed until afternoon just to “make more of the day go away”. That is a really sad state of affairs and like many other things shouldn’t be happening in 21st century Britain.

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    1. Only 6 years later and we got to experience Bowie in sharp colour on telly and in magazines. Those who were just slightly older than us had to experience their pop idols of the day in black and white. His version very similar really to the original but feels like light years further on because of his image, and the riot of colour that surrounded him. I didn’t have Pin Ups so didn’t realise until I’d done the research for this post that he’d covered it.

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      1. The way Bowie sings ‘Know of nothing else that BUGS me!’ is one of my abiding memories of the 70s. That and seeing Suzie Quatro for the first time on our colour telly doing Can the Can. Oh, matron.

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  2. Wonderful, Alyson. A poem that speaks to all of us of a certain age.I first heard this song when MTV came to our town in the early ’80s. The channel didn’t have too many videos back then. The performance came from an appearance on a TV show (you posted above) and was in black and white. A few years later, a new label called Rhino Records (quite famous now) out of California released a compilation of the band’s work (on vinyl) that I picked up as a 16 year old and still have to this day. Lead singer Stevie Wright was photogenic and knew how to play to a camera. He looked like Neil Innes.
    On an unrelated note, how about that moon last night? My son asked me the name. I told him my friend Alyson would be disappointed that I couldn’t recall.

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    1. Gosh MTV showed old black and white films as well in the beginning. I didn’t mention Stevie Wright in my blogpost above but yes, he did have a certain charisma, and that little nod of the head he does in time to the song was perfect I thought.

      Last night’s moon was the Worm Moon – It was raining here so I didn’t see it but Sunday night’s was pretty spectacular. Here is the link to the post about the Worm Moon, so called because the ground was beginning to soften and earthworm casts reappeared inviting the return of robins. It is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.
      https://jukeboxtimemachine.com/2018/02/27/the-rah-band-clouds-across-the-moon/

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  3. Thank you for the multiple plugs. I loved the poems. I am well aware that I should not be living for the weekend (a song I happened to feature on Snapshots last week) but they’re all that keep me going at the moment. Just have to keep looking for a new job, one that doesn’t make me dread Mon-Friday.

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    1. I must admit Rol that when I wrote the above post, straight after playing Sat Snapshots, I was well aware you would not agree with my wish for Friday not to come round so quickly. I have been there though and understand how it feels. Definitely start to seriously look for a new job – Sometimes there is just no other option and it seems you’ve reached that point.

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