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The Angels are a hard rock band that formed in Adelaidemarker, Australia in 1970. The band later relocated from Adelaide to Sydneymarker and enjoyed huge local success until well into the 1990s. For the purposes of international release, their records were released under the names Angel City and later The Angels From Angel City. From 2001 to 2007, the band's former members have toured and recorded under various names including Members of the Angels and The Original Angels Band.On 12 September 2006, The Angels were featured on a postage stamp for Australia Post as part of their Australian Rock Posters.

It was announced in April, 2008 that Doc Neeson & The Angels have reformed.


Early years

In November 1970, brothers Rick and John Brewster formed The Moonshine Jug and String Band. In 1971 the band was joined by Belfastmarker-born Doc Neeson, an arts student and former Army sergeant and already a prominent figure on the Adelaide music scene. The band performed at university campuses and in 1973 released their debut EP Keep You on the Move, which made the top 5 in Adelaide. This was followed in 1974 by the single "That's All Right With Me". Both these releases were on John Woodruff's Sphere label. Woodruff went on to become the band's manager for most of its career.

In 1974 they changed their name to The Keystone Angels, switched to electric instruments and began playing 1950s rock and roll on the pub circuit. On 3 August 1974, just before Go-Set magazine, a number of small ads started appearing weekly announcing "The KEYSTONE ANGELS are coming", possibly the first mention of the band in an Australian national rock music publication. In 1975 the band supported AC/DC during a South Australianmarker tour, and later performed as the backing band for Chuck Berry.


In 1975, on the recommendation of Bon Scott and Malcolm Young from AC/DC, the band was offered a recording deal with the Alberts label. They dropped "Keystone" from their name and became simply "The Angels". As this point the band was a four-piece with Neeson on bass guitar, Charlie King (Peter Christopolous) on drums, Rick Brewster on lead guitars and John Brewster on lead vocals and rhythm guitar.

The Angels' first single, "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", was released in April 1976. The Angels made their debut TV appearance on Countdown. Later in the year, Charlie King, at the time AWOL from the army, was replaced by Graham "Buzz Throckman" Bidstrup on the drums. This would be the first of three different versions of the song the band released as singles throughout their career.

July 1977 saw the release of the band's second single, "You're A Lady Now", followed a month later by their self-titled debut LP, The Angels. By now Chris Bailey had joined the band on bass, allowing Neeson to concentrate on vocals. Bailey had been a member of Mount Lofty Rangers with Bon Scott in 1974. They released Round and Round, later remixed by Vince Lovegrove as Round and Round and Round in 1996. Neeson's move to specialist frontman allowed the band to develop an energetic and theatrical live presence. Neeson would typically appear on stage as a wild extrovert, dressed in a tuxedo and shaking maracas. As a foil, Rick Brewster would remain motionless, his head cocked to one side, for the entire performance.

1978's Face to Face album reached #16 in November and stayed on the Australian charts for 79 weeks. Mark Opitz engineered, and along with The Angels, co-produced the album. Peter Ledger, who designed the cover, won Best Australian Album Cover Design Award. Face to Face produced the band's first hit single, "Take a Long Line", which has gone on to become one of the Angels' most-recognised songs. In November, the band supported David Bowie on his first Australian tour, resulting in The Tour EP 7" single.

On 23 June 1979, No Exit was issued and entered the Australian album chart at #8 upon its release and again at #15 in September. George Young contributed as a backing vocalist. On 29 September 1979, Albert released Out Of The Blue EP, featuring the third version of "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" in three years.

On New Year's Eve 1979, the band performed in front of almost 100,000 people on the steps of the Sydney Opera Housemarker. Their show, however, was cut short when a riot broke out in the audience. Doc Neeson was hit on the head with a sign and Chris Bailey was knocked unconscious by a flying bottle and hospitalised.


The band signed an international contract with CBS Records and released, in March 1980, Face to Face, a compilation of tracks from the Australian Face to Face and No Exit albums, on the Epic label. The band billed itself as Angel City to avoid legal problems with the Casablanca Records' act Angel.

On 16 June 1980, Dark Room' was produced by the Brewster brothers. The overseas version of this album featured re-recorded versions of "Ivory Stairs" and "Straight Jacket" in place of "Alexander" and "I'm Scared". American band Great White would later cover "Face The Day", from this LP as well as "Can't Shake It" from Face to Face.

In March 1981, drummer Graham Bidstrup left the band, reportedly due to non-musical differences, and was replaced by New Zealandermarker Brent Eccles. Bidstrup joined The Party Boys in 1983 and later formed GANGgajang. On 24 October 1981, Never So Live was issued and received heavy airplay and on the strength of the new song "Fashion And Fame" went to sell some 80,000 copies. On 30 November 1981, Night Attack was produced by Ed Thacker and the Brewsters, was released.

The band's third international album, Night Attack included a remixed version of "Back On You", previously only available on the flipside of the "Into The Heat" single. Early in 1982, it became apparent Chris Bailey would be unable to tour with the band in the US; American Jim Hilbun was recruited as replacement.

In May 1983, Watch The Red, produced by The Angels and engineered by Andrew Scott and Al Wright, was issued. The first single release, "Stand Up", written by Hilbun, was a success. The album, critically acclaimed for its musical inventiveness, featured saxophone leads from Hilbun, John Brewster on lead vocals for one track, and even a piano accordion. A great deal of the material was also derived from a 40 minute jam-session, including an instrumental track and totally improvised lyrics from Neeson. The recording of the album was also dogged by a fire that gutted the recording studio, almost destroying the master tapes.

In November 1984, the Two Minute Warning album was released following a three-month recording session in Los Angelesmarker. The American version of the album, on MCA, included a new version of the 1978 song "Be With You", which would become The Angels' last commercially available single in the United States. Metal Blade Records re-issued the album in 1990. Unfortunately for the band, an internal personnel purge at MCA meant that Two Minute Warning received no support from the label. MCA would later reject The Angels' next album.

As Angel City, they performed four songs for the 1985 Oz for Africa concert (part of the global Live Aid program) - "Small Price", "Eat City", "Underground", "Take a Long Line". It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.

On 27 January 1986, John Brewster last concert with the band was a double at Meyer Music Bowl and The Palace, which is official statement in Live Line (2 CD set). John Brewster left the band in February 1986. In his place, the band hired ex-Skyhooks guitarist Bob Spencer in March 1986. In October of the same year Howling was released on the band's new label Mushroom Records. This album included a cover version of The Animals hit, "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" which, at #6, became the band's highest charting single up to that point. John Brewster joined The Party Boys in the meantime and stayed with them until 1989.

In December 1987, the double live album Liveline was released. The collection spanned ten years of the band's career. The majority of the album was recorded at the Bankstownmarker RSL Club in Sydney, with some tracks taken from earlier tours featuring John Brewster. The CD version of Liveline included several songs not included on the vinyl release. A live version of "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" was issued as a single, as was a medley of "Love Takes Care" and "Be With You". Following the success of the album, The Angels embarked on a massive tour of Australia with a lengthy two-hour set that covered the entire history of the group.

Chrysalis Records in the US issued Beyond Salvation (the band now billing itself as The Angels From Angel City) in November 1989. It included four new songs, three of which would later appear on the Australian version of the album, and new recordings of the classics "I Ain't The One", "Can't Shake It", "Who Rings The Bell", "City Out of Control" and "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", none of which was made available in Australia. Alan Niven was signed on as manager of the band's affairs in the US. At the time, Niven was also managing Great White and Guns N' Roses. Jim Hilbun left during these recording sessions and was replaced by Australian James Morley on bass. Alan Niven bailed out soon after.


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In June 1990, Beyond Salvation was released and became the band's first and only No. 1 album. Produced by Terry Manning, the LP spawned five successful singles, including "Dogs are Talking" and "Backstreet Pickup". The flipside of "Dogs are Talking" featured demo tracks by three new Australian bands that The Angels had chosen to support them on their upcoming tour, including The Desert Cats, The Hurricanes and the John Woodruff-managed Baby Animals. The Angels then hit the road on their "Beyond Salvation" Tour with Cheap Trick as supporting act. The video for "Backstreet Pickup" was filmed the day the band were told of the album reaching number one on the charts and shows a very buoyant and enthusiastic band performing for the cameras.

Red Back Fever, parts of which were recorded in Memphis during the Beyond Salvation sessions, was released in November 1991. The band toured for two years, and the song "Tear Me Apart" was included a multi-million dollar government campaign highlighting alcohol related violence. In July 1992 Mushroom re-issued Red Back Fever / Left Hand Drive as a two CD set.

In 1992, both Bob Spencer and James Morley left the band. The next year, the New Zealand chapter of the Hells Angels asked the band to perform for them; to this end, the remaining members asked John Brewster and Jim Hilbun to return, and thus the classic line-up of Brewster-Neeson-Brewster-Eccles-Hilbun was reunited. They immediately set out to write new material. The first results of this collaboration were included on Evidence, a career-spanning collection of the band's hits.

In 1993, the band performed at a one-off gig at the University of Western Sydney, with The Angels co-headlining with The Screaming Jets. Other bands on the bill for the night included Mental as Anything, Peter Wells (formerly of Rose Tattoo) and one other small band from Tasmaniamarker.

In April 1995, The Hard Evidence Tour EP was issued to coincide with the Barbed Wire Ball tour, a national tour that also featured The Screaming Jets, The Poor and Who's Guilty. The band then took a break from recording and touring, reconvening in mid-1996 at Darling Harbour studios for the start of what would become the sessions for their last studio album.

The Angels hit the road with The Lounge Lizard Tour with Angry Anderson from Rose Tattoo and Ross Wilson from Mondo Rock and Daddy Cool in July 1997. The band backed each singer acoustically through classics from their respective bands. On 13 August 1997, The Angels signed a recording deal with Shock Records in Australia. A new single, "Caught in the Night", followed in October and a new album, Skin & Bone, in March 1998. Though moderately successful, the album was nominated by ARIA as one of the year's best Australian recordings. On 20 October 1998, The Angels were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Angry Anderson. In November 1998 the band performed a brief set at the Concert of the Century in Melbourne to celebrate Mushroom Records' 25th anniversary.

In February 1999, Live Line - Definitive Digital Remaster was released. It was a two-CD set that contained ten bonus tracks, recorded between 1981 and 1983.

On New Year's Eve, 1999, The Angels performed what would be their last concert at the MGM Grand Darwin Millennium Concert. Doc Neeson announced his departure from the band following a major car accident that left him with neck and spinal injuries.


With Neeson's departure, the band effectively ceased. In November 2000, Shock Records reissued Left Hand Drive. The following year, the ABCmarker featured The Angels in its music series program Long Way To The Top.

In March 2001, The Angels reformed as Members of The Angels with John and Rick Brewster, Buzz Bidstrup, Chris Bailey and Jim Hilbun on lead vocals for The Ted Mulry Benefit Concert (released on video as Gimme Ted). This name was used in line with an agreement made with Neeson not to call the band The Angels. On 24 June 2002, Shock issued The Complete Sessions 1980-1983, a 4-CD box set collection of the band's recorded output from the period between the Dark Room and Watch the Red albums. Around this time, Brewster, Bailey, Bidtrup, Brewster began touring as The Original Angels Band, a name they continued to use until November 2006. In the meantime, Neeson, Hilbun and Westfield chief executive David Lowy formed Red Phoenix who released an album and toured briefly during 2005.

In July 2006, Liberation reissued The Angels' catalogue. Albums included: Dark Room, Night Attack, Watch the Red, Two Minute Warning, Howling, Beyond Salvation, Red Back Fever, and Wasted Sleepless Night - The Definitive Greatest Hits .

On 4 December 2006, Live At The Basement was released, containing all the classics recorded by the line-up of Brewster, Bailey, Bidstrup and Brewster. This group was now once again using the name The Angels, apparently dishonouring their agreement with Neeson, leading to the singer taking legal action to prevent them using it. Neeson toured as Doc Neeson's Angels, with a line-up that included Hilbun, Lowy, Dave Leslie (ex-Baby Animals) and Paul Wheeler (ex-Icehouse) who was later replaced by Mick Skelton. Neeson released the album Acoustic Sessions featuring Jim Hilbun, Dave Leslie and Tim Powles on percussion and production through Liberation Blue on 1 September 2007. The Brewster-led band meanwhile released the EP "Ivory Stairs". It was assumed that Neeson's successful action would mean this line-up must bill itself as The Angels Band.

In October 2007 Neeson and band toured the Middle East playing 13 shows in 16 days for Australian servicemen and women in Afghanistan, Kuwait and other countries in the region.

In November 2007 on Rockwiz on SBS, Doc Neeson claimed the origins of the audience chanting "No way, get fucked, fuck off" as the response to the line "Am I ever gonna see your face again?" was from a DJ at the Mount Isamarker Blue Light Disco (a youth activity run by the local police).

Wasted Sleepless Nights was released on 11 July. It included live footage never before released and tracks recorded live from ABC's Studio 22.

Undercover announced the reunion of Doc Neeson with the Brewster brothers, Chris Bailey and Buzz Bidstrup in April, 2008. The reformed band played a string of dates in July 2008 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their seminal album, Face to Face.

Band lineups

1975 - 1976
  • Doc Neeson (bass, vocals)
  • John Brewster, (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Peter Christopolous, known as Charlie King (drums)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)

August 1976
  • Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup (drums, vocals)
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Doc Neeson (bass, vocals)
January 1977 - March 1981
  • Chris Bailey (bass)
  • Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup (drums, vocals)
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
March 1981 - April 1982
  • Chris Bailey (bass, vocals)
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
April 1982 - February 1985
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • Jim Hilbun (bass, vocals, sax, keyboards)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
March 1985 - July 1989
  • Rick Brewster (lead & rhythm guitars, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • Jim Hilbun (bass, vocals, sax, keyboards)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
  • Bob Spencer (lead & rhythm guitars, vocals)
1990 - 1992
  • Rick Brewster (lead & rhythm guitars, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • James Morley (bass, vocals)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
  • Bob Spencer (lead & rhythm guitars, vocals)
1993 - January 2000
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • Jim Hilbun (bass, vocals, sax, keyboards)
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)

Members of The Angels - March 2001
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Brent Eccles (drums)
  • Jim Hilbun (lead vocals)
  • Chris Bailey (bass, vocals)
  • Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup (drums, vocals)

From December 2001 to November 2006 The Angels were known publicly as 'The Original Angels Band' featuring 4 of the 5 original members that made the band famous
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, lead vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Chris Bailey (bass, vocals)
  • Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup (drums, vocals)

2008 - The Reunion
  • Doc Neeson (lead vocals)
  • Rick Brewster (lead guitar, vocals)
  • John Brewster (rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Chris Bailey (bass)
  • Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup (drums, vocals)



The Angels released albums under different names. The Angels (TA); Angel City (AC); The Angels From Angel City (TAFAC); The Original Angels Band(TOAB); The Angels 2006>(TA1)
Year Month Label Album Artist credit Chart positions
1977 August Albert The Angels TA - - -
1978 August Albert Face to Face TA #16 - -
1979 June Albert No Exit TA #8 - -
1980 March Epic Face to Face (Overseas) AC - - -
1980 May Albert The Angels' Greatest TA #5 - -
1980 June Epic Dark Room TA #6 - -
1980 June Epic Dark Room (Overseas) AC - - -
1981 November Epic Night Attack TA #11 - -
1982 February Epic Night Attack (Overseas) AC - - -
1983 May Epic Watch the Red TA #6 - -
1984 November Mushroom Two Minute Warning TA #2 - -
1985 January MCA Two Minute Warning (Overseas) AC - - -
1985 November Epic The Angels' Greatest Vol. II TA #14 - -
1986 October Mushroom Howling TA #6 - -
1987 December Mushroom Live Line TA #2 - -
1989 November Chrysalis Beyond Salvation (Overseas) TAFAC - - -
1990 June Mushroom Beyond Salvation TA #1 - -
1991 November Mushroom Red Back Fever TA #14 - -
1992 July Mushroom Red Back Fever / Left Hand Drive TA #28 - -
1992 November Albert Their Finest Hour... and Then Some TA - - -
1994 December Mushroom Evidence TA #30 - -
1998 March Shock Skin and Bone TA #27 - -
1998 June Shock No Secrets TA - - -
1999 February Shock Live Line - Definitive Digital Remaster TA - - -
1999 May Mushroom Greatest Hits - The Mushroom Years TA - - -
2000 November Shock Left Hand Drive TA - - -
2002 April Shock The Complete Sessions 1980-1983 TA - - -
2005 September Independent Release MGM Distribution Live at the Basement TOAB - - -
2006 July Liberation Wasted Sleepless Nights - The Definitive Best Of TA #22 - -


The Angels released singles under different names. The Angels (TA); Angel City (AC); The Angels From Angel City (TAFAC); The Angels 2006>(TA1)

Year Label Album Artist credit Chart positions
1976 Albert Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? TA - - -
1977 Albert You're a Lady Now TA - - -
1978 Albert Comin' Down TA - - -
1978 Albert Take a Long Line TA #29 - -
1978 RAM Straight Jacket (promo flexi-disc) TA - - -
1978 Albert The Tour EP TA - - -
1979 Albert Shadow Boxer TA #25 - -
1979 Albert Out of the Blue EP TA #29 - -
1980 Epic No Secrets TA #8 - -
1980 Epic Poor Baby TA - - -
1980 Epic Marseilles (promo) AC - US -
1980 Epic Marseilles AC - - FR
1980 Epic Face the Day TA - - -
1980 Epic No Secrets AC - US -
1981 Epic Into the Heat TA - - -
1981 Epic Never So Live EP TA #17 - -
1981 Epic Fashion and Fame (live) TA #17 - -
1982 Epic Night Attack TA - - -
1982 Epic Living on the Outside TA - - -
1982 Epic Stand Up TA #21 - -
1983 Epic Eat City TA #22 - -
1983 Epic Live Lady Live TA - - -
1983 Epic Is That You? TA - - -
1984 Mushroom Between the Eyes TA AU - -
1984 Mushroom Look the Other Way TA - - -
1985 Mushroom Sticky Little Bitch TA - - -
1985 Mushroom Underground TA - - -
1986 Mushroom Nature of the Beast TA #22 - -
1986 Mushroom Don't Waste My Time TA #25 - -
1987 Mushroom We Gotta Get Out of This Place TA #6 - -
1987 Mushroom Can't Take Any More TA - - -
1987 Epic 4 Play Volume 6 EP TA - - -
1987 Mushroom When the Time Comes TA - - -
1987 Mushroom Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (live) TA - - -
1988 Mushroom Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (live) TA #6 - -
1988 Telegraph Live From Angel City TAFAC - US -
1988 Mushroom Finger on the Trigger TA #34 - -
1989 Chrysalis Dogs Are Talking (promo) TAFAC - - -
1990 Mushroom Let the Night Roll On TA #17 - -
1990 Mushroom Dogs Are Talking TA #11 - -
1990 Mushroom Back Street Pickup TA #23 - -
1990 Mushroom Rhythm Rude Girl TA - - -
1991 Mushroom Bleeding With the Times TA - - -
1991 Mushroom Some of That Love TA - - -
1992 Mushroom Once Bitten Twice Shy TA - - -
1992 Mushroom Tear Me Apart TA #33 - -
1994 Mushroom Don't Need Mercy TA - - -
1994 Mushroom Turn It On TA - - -
1995 Mushroom The Hard Evidence Tour EP TA - - -
1996 Dump Call That Living TA - - -
1997 Shock Caught in the Night TA - - -
1998 Shock Northwest Highway TA - - -
1998 Shock Invisible Man (promo) TA - - -
1998 Axe Killer Soul Surgeon TA - - FR
1998 Shock My Light Will Shine TA - - -
2007 Independent Release MGM Distribution Ivory Stairs TA1 - - -

Compilation appearances

Year Label Title Artist credit Catalogue no.
1998 Mushroom Mushroom 25 Live TA MUSH25.2
2001 Sony The Andrew Denton Breakfast Show - Musical Challenge Vol. 2 TA 5041282000
2003 Warner Vision Gimme Ted - The Ted Mulry Benefit Concerts TA 2564600802



  1. - Australian Rock Posters The Stamps (Australia Post)
  2. Go-Set magazine: (13.7.74) page 14. small insert “The KEYSTONE ANGELS are coming”, repeated page 18, and for the next few weeks
  3. Long Way to the Top - Stories and Highlights of the band since 1974 - via ABC Long Way To The Top website
  4. ARIA Icons: Hall of Fame
  5. Long Way To The Top Beserk Warriors 1973-1981 (Episode 4)
  6.,22049,22340233-5006009,00.html "Doc Neeson wins battle of the band" Daily Telegraph 1 September 2007
  7. Angels fight for a name - Entertainment -
  8.,22049,22340233-5006009,00.html "Doc Neeson wins battle of the band"
  9.,21985,21956352-2902,00.html "Doc's ready to rock" Herald Sun 24 June 2007
  10. Wasted Sleepless Nights - The Videos
  12. The Angels reunite

External links

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