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The Dingoes were an Australian country rock band active from 1973 to 1979, initially based in Melbournemarker they relocated to the United States from 1976. Most stable line-up was John Bois on bass guitar, John Lee on drums, Broderick Smith on vocals and harmonica, Chris Stockley on guitar and Kerryn Tolhurst on guitar. Mal Logan on keyboards joined after Stockley was hospitalised when shot in the stomach by Melbourne drug-dealer, Dennis Allen, who was attempting to gate crash a party. The Dingoes debut single, "Way Out West", was released in November 1973, which peaked in the top 40 of the Australian Kent Music Report singles chart. Subsequent singles were "Boy on the Run", "Smooth Sailing" and "Into the Night", which did not reach the top 50. They had three top 40 albums, The Dingoes in 1974, Fives Times the Sun in 1977 and Orphans of the Storm in 1979.

On 27 August 2009, The Dingoes were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, Little Pattie, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young.

Previous bands

Kerryn Tolhurst, lead guitarist, mandolin-player and singer-songwriter founded Adderley Smith Blues Band in 1964 in Melbourne, which was one of Australia's first authentic blues bands. Lead vocalist and harmonica-player Broderick Smith joined in 1966, both Smith and Tolhurst were conscripted into the Army as part of National Service during the Vietnam War for two years from 1968 to 1970. Smith was unable to continue with the band but Tolhurst was able to keep a line-up performing, including Joe Camilleri on saxophone in 1970. After National Service, Tolhurst formed Sundown, with singer-songwriter Keith Glass, as a country rock group, Smith briefly joined Sundown before going on to blues boogie band, Carson in 1971. After Sundown, Tolhurst joined singer-songwriter Greg Quill in his country rock group Country Radio during 1972–1973. Quill and Tolhurst co-wrote their hit singles "Gypsy Queen" and "Wintersong".

Both Carson (with Smith) and Country Radio (before Tolhurst joined) had performed at the inaugural Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1972. At the second festival in January 1973, Carson (with Smith) performed and recorded their set, including a track called "Dingo", which was released on their live album, On the Air in April. Country Radio (with Tolhurst) had also performed, and live tracks from both bands were included on the first ever Mushroom Records album, as a triple-LP, The Great Australian Rock Festival Sunbury 1973. After the 1973 festival, both Smith and Tolhurst left their respective bands. Tolhurst briefly joined Mississippi which later became Little River Band. Smith, in March, played the role of "The Father" in the Australian production of the rock opera Tommy, which was staged in Sydney and Melbourne.

Guitarist, Chris Stockley (ex-Roadrunners, Delta Set), formed psychedelic rock group Cam-Pact with Keith Glass in 1967, both had left by late 1969. Stockley joined rock group Axiom, which had top ten hits with "Arkansas Grass" and "A Little Ray Of Sunshine", before they disbanded in 1971. John Lee (ex-Sayla) had been drummer for Blackfeather from February to April 1973. John Strangio was bass guitarist for St James Infirmary and Middle Earth.

Formation and early years

The Dingoes with John Lee on drums, Broderick Smith on lead vocals and harmonica, Chris Stockley on lead guitar, John Strangio on bass guitar and Kerryn Tolhurst on guitar and mandolin, were formed in Melbournemarker in April 1973. Strangio left in August and was replaced on bass guitar by John Bois, who had worked with Tolhurst in Country Radio. The Dingoes combined R&B, country and rock 'n' roll with songs that used Australian themes and imagery.

The Dingoes were an early signing to the fledgling Mushroom Records label, it issued their debut single "Way Out West" which was credited to Lee, Bois, Smith, Stockley and Tolhurst. A week before the single was released Stockley received a serious gunshot wound during an incident at a party in Melbourne that resulted in a two-month stay in hospital, initially described as an 'accidental shooting', according to music historian, Ian McFarlane's Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop, Stockley was shot by convicted drug dealer, Dennis Allen, who was trying to gate crash the party. An eight-hour benefit concert was held for Stockley on 4 November 1973 at Leggett's Ballroom, Greville Street, Prahran. While recuperating, Stockley was replaced by keyboard player Mal Logan (ex Healing Force, Carson), who stayed on, after Stockley returned, until the end of 1974.

Released in October 1973, "Way Out West" peaked into the top 40 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart, and reached #26 in Melbourne, it became their signature tune. The Dingoes appeared at the third Sunbury Pop Festival in 1974, held on the Australia Day long weekend, and their performance featured on Mushroom's Highlights of Sunbury '74, released later that year. The same month, they recorded their self-titled debut LP, The Dingoes, which was produced by John French. Logan contributed keyboards on several tracks, including "Goin' Down" and "Sydney Ladies". "Way Out West" was later covered by James Blundell and James Reyne (ex-Australian Crawl) in 1992, their version peaked at #2 on the ARIA Singles Charts, Smith supplied harmonica for this version.

Lee left in May 1974 to join Ariel and was replaced on drums by Ray Arnott, (ex-Cam-Pact with Stockley, Spectrum, Mighty Kong). The Dingoes was released in June 1974, along with a second single "Boy on the Run", co-written by Stockley and Smith, which peaked at #24 in Melbourne but did not break into the top 50 nationally. The LP reached #24 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart in July, it was the Federation of Australian Broadcasters' "Album of the Year" for 1974. A non-album single, "Smooth Sailing", written by Tolhurst, and backed with "Dingoes Lament", was released in October. During the year The Dingoes toured nationally with various artists including Bad Company, Leo Sayer, Bo Diddley and Freddy Fender. They won 'Best Australian Group Album' at the Australian Music Awards and 'Best Group Vocal Album' at the ARIA awards.

North America

Early in 1975, after appearing at the fourth Sunbury Pop Festival, The Dingoes received a phone call from expatriate Australian roadie Billy McCartney, who had seen them when visiting from the United States, where he had established himself as a tour manager for Elvis Presley and Rod Stewart. Returning to the US, McCartney recommended the band to Peter Rudge, who was then tour manager for The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and, after ten months negotiations, Rudge agreed to manage The Dingoes in the US.

The following months frustrated the band—with an expected summons from Rudge at any time, they were unable to commit to long-term tours or to recording—they lost valuable ground in Australia when they could have consolidated on the success of the LP and singles. Meanwhile, they provided two tracks, "Marijuana Hell" and the Percy Sledge cover "When a Man Loves a Woman" to the Various Artists live album Live at the Station which was released on Lamington Records in 1976. An American tour was finally arranged for mid-1976, by the time they arrived Rudge's attention was focused on Lynyrd Skynyrd. Just prior to leaving, Arnott quit the group by "mutual agreement" and Lee returned to the fold, meeting up with the band in North America. Arnott pursued a solo career and was later with Renée Geyer Band, Cold Chisel and Jimmy Barnes.

The Dingoes signed a two-album deal with US-based, A&M records, on recommendations from McCartney and Rudge, and undertook three months of rehearsals in Canada, then headed for the US, where they set up base in Mill Valleymarker, Northern California, at the start of 1977. They recorded tracks for their A&M album, Five Times the Sun, in San Franciscomarker during January and February, produced by Elliot Mazer (Janis Joplin, Neil Young), with session contributions from keyboardists Nicky Hopkins and Garth Hudson; it featured liner notes by author Emmett Grogan. Five Times the Sun, which peaked at #25 on the Australian albums chart in August, included re-recorded versions of tracks from their first album. "Way Out West" and "Smooth Sailing", released in September, as a double A-single in Australia, did not peak into the top 50. Soon after, band members were granted their prized green cards, allowing them to base themselves in US, in their two-year stay they toured 40 states by road. A serious blow to the band's future came on 20 October when several members of proposed tour mates, Lynyrd Skynyrd, were killed in a plane crashmarker, a tragedy which destroyed the morale of The Dingoes' management team.

Stockley left the band and returned to Australia in early 1978, initially he joined Greg Quill's new band Southern Cross, and later founded Stockley, See & Mason. He was replaced in The Dingoes by American session guitarist Andrew Jeffers-Hardin, the group had moved east and settled near Woodstockmarker, in upstate New York. In mid-1978, they recorded a third album, Orphans of the Storm, at New York's famed The Hit Factory, and continued to tour around the US until late 1978, but their efforts to enter the US record charts were unrealised. Orphans Of The Storm was released in February 1979, along with a final single, "Into the Night", but by this time Smith had returned to Australia and The Dingoes had split.

After The Dingoes

Smith came back to Australia in late 1978 and fronted his own bands including Broderick Smith's Big Combo. He branched out into TV acting with appearances in the Australian series Janus, Law of the Land, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Blue Heelers and State Coroner. He worked in an acoustic duo with musical partner Mick Ahearne and played harmonica with Backsliders, alternating with Ian Collard (Collard, Greens and Gravy) as a replacement for founding member Jim Conway.

Bois, Lee and Tolhurst, all remained in the US. Bois became a teacher, he lived and worked near Washington DC, as a noted amateur expert on dinosaurs he contributed to the BBC TV series Walking with Dinosaurs; he wrote an unpublished memoir of his time in The Dingoes, entitled The Dingoes' Lament (named after his track on their debut album).

Lee joined the cult band, Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band, then settled in Washington DC for some time, where he worked with local group Johnny Bombay & the Hurricanes before moving to Nashville, Tennesseemarker, until his return to Australia in the late 1990s, he died in July 1999.

Tolhurst lived and worked in New York for many years, and continued his career as a songwriter, performer and producer, both in Australia and in the US. A reworked version of his song "All Fired Up" became a major hit for Pat Benatar in 1988, making the Top 20 in the USA and reaching #2 in Australia, where it was #16 on the End of Year Singles Chart. In 1995, Tolhurst collaborated with Paul Kelly on his Deeper Water album, co-writing the single "Give in to My Love", and writing the album track "Difficult Woman", which was later covered by Renée Geyer. He was a guest performer in the "Spirit Returns" music program, which featured the reformed Goanna, Ross Hannaford (ex-Daddy Cool) and Liam O'Maonlai (Hothouse Flowers) at the Melbourne Festival in 1998. In 1999, Tolhurst returned to live in Australia and produced the debut album for country singer Cyndi Boste; he also reunited with Greg Quill and they subsequently recorded the album, So Rudely Interrupted.

On 27 August 2009, The Dingoes were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, Little Pattie, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame by Richard Clapton and performed "Way Out West" and "Boy on the Run".




Year Album details Chart peak positions (AUS)
1974 The Dingoes
  • Released: 1974
  • Label: Mushroom (L35110)
  • Format: LP
1977 Five Times the Sun
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: A&M (L36237)
  • Format: LP
1979 Orphans of the Storm
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: A&M (L36721)
  • Format: LP
1992 Way Out West - The Best Of The Dingoes
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Mushroom (D24508)
  • Format: CD
1995 Five Times the Sun ... and Other Delicacies
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: A&M (540318-2)
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Other appearances

Year Song contributed Album
1976 "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Percy Sledge cover) Live at the Station
"Marijuana Hell" (live version) Live at the Station



External links

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