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The Ferrets were an Australian pop / rock band from Melbournemarker and Sydneymarker, formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. They are best known for their début #2 hit single "Don’t Fall in Love" in 1977. Philip Eizenberg (guitar), Kenneth Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), William Miller (vocals, guitar) and David Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) formed The Ferrets and were soon joined by drummer Rick Brewer.

Background

Ken Firth, Phil Eizenberg and Billy Miller had been involved with the Australian stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1972—1974) which also included Jon English and John Paul Young.

Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), Miller (vocals, guitar) and Dave Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) were all members of hard rockers Buster Brown (which also featured vocalist Angry Anderson later of Rose Tattoo). In 1975 the trio left Buster Brown to join with guitarist Eizenberg and formed The Ferrets. Drummer Rick Brewer (ex-Zoot) joined in 1976 together with Miller’s sisters Jane Miller (backing vocals, keyboard) and Pam Miller (backing vocals). They were now a seven-piece band.

Willie Everfinish

After favourable reactions from audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, The Ferrets produced a demo tape that caught the attention of Ian "Molly" Meldrum talent coordinator for ABC-TVmarker series Countdown. Meldrum signed them to Mushroom Records and started producing their début album Dreams of a Love on 19 July 1976. After nearly a year, production was still incomplete, so The Ferrets took over (assisted by recording engineers Tony Cohen and Ian MacKenzie) and Meldrum was attributed as "Willie Everfinish". Album production was finalized on 15 August 1977.

The Ferrets 1977 album Dreams of a Love.
Meldrum had carefully crafted their first single’s A side "Lies" taking weeks but the B side "Don’t Fall in Love" (written by Ian Davis and Firth) was rushed in three hours. The Ferrets premiered on Countdown in an episode compèred by Jon English however, they used their B side. "Don’t Fall in Love" quickly sold out its initial pressing and many customers wanted a copy of The Ferrets' début album – there was concern at Mushroom Records as Meldrum had not organised an album cover: a white hand stamped cardboard sleeve was issued with a promise of the album artwork to follow! The Ferrets released a promo as the single rocketed to #1 on Melbourne’s charts and #2 Nationally. They were awarded with "Best Australian TV Performer" at the 1977 King of Pop Awards for their Countdown appearances.

Although generally remembered for their biggest hit, their follow-up single "Janie May" reached #19 in Melbourne and was on Countdown episode of 13 November 1977 (featured infamous 'Prince Charles Interview'). Their debut album Dreams of a Love achieved Gold record status and the long awaited album cover depicted a model (Wendy Bannister) holding a snarling ferret on her shoulder (front), a photo of the seven member band (back), lyrics and recording details including a photo of "Willie Everfinish" (inside).

Fame At Any Price

By the end of 1977, guitarist Eizenberg and backing vocalist Pam Miller had left; her sister Jane Miller left in 1978. The Ferrets continued to tour and then recorded their second album Fame At Any Price (1978) produced by Cohen. There were disappointing sales for the related singles "This Night" (written by Frank Howson, Firth, Miller) and "Tripsville" and for the album itself. Firth also left to be replaced successively by George Cross (previously in Jim Keays Southern Cross with Brewer) and Ric Petropolis. The Ferrets had no further chart success and disbanded in 1979.

Subsequent Careers

  • Philip Eizenberg:
Played bass guitar in Mighty Guys (1980s) with Mick Hamilton and Leon Isackson. He studied martial arts from 1984 (at age 34) and was registered with the Australian Hapkido Association as a 4th Degree instructor. He played bass on Night of the Gale with Phill Raymond in 2006.

  • Kenneth David Firth aka Ken Firth:
Rejoined Miller in Billy Miller and the Great Blokes (1979-1982), then temporarily with Divinyls (1982) while they replaced out-going bassist Jeremy Paul with Rick Grossman. Firth was in Interchange Bench (1993-1998) with Miller again. He was a session musician on Miller’s CDs Victoria (1998) and Elsternwick ‘69 (2000).

  • William Harris Miller aka Billy or Bill Miller:
Produced Frank Howson’s cover version of The Ferrets' song "Killing Ourselves" (co-written by Howson and Springfield). Session musician on Howson’s The Boy Who Dared To Dream LP, member of various bands including: Billy Miller and The Great Blokes (1979-1982), The Spaniards (1983-1986), Interchange Bench (1993-1998), The Dave Graney Show (1998-2004) and Dave Graney ‘n’ The Lurid Yellow Mist (2004-?). Some of these have included Firth or Springfield.

  • Dave Springfield (aka David John Schofield):
Rejoined Miller, briefly, in The Spaniards. Released a Country music CD Rev J D Love as Rev J D Love aka David J Schofield.

  • Rick Brewer:
Later joined the Motivators (1980-1982) and cover band Free Radicals (2007) with Barry Ferrier.

  • Jane Miller:


  • Pam Miller:


  • George Cross:


  • Rick Petropolis:
Also in the Motivators (with Brewer).

Countdown Spectacular

Billy Miller performed "Don’t Fall in Love" for the first Countdown Spectacular Tour of Australia from June to August 2006 and can be seen on the associated DVD (disc 1 track 16). Also on this tour were Jon English and John Paul Young from his Jesus Christ Superstar days.

Discography

Albums

  • Dreams of a Love (1977)
  • Fame At Any Price (1978)


Singles

  • "Don’t Fall in Love" (1977) Highest Australian Chart Position: #2 in 1977
  • "Janie May" (1977) Highest Melbourne Chart Position: #19 in 1977/1978
  • "This Night" (1978)
  • “Tripsville” (1978)


References

External links




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