Monday, 12 January 2015
Could It Be/Funny Bone/I Live in the Sunshine/Far Beyond The Call Of Duty
Normie Rowe's career began in 1964 when he was spotted performing by radio personality Stan Rofe who arranged for him to appear at Melbourne dances and discos backed by instrumental groups like The Thunderbirds, The Impostors and finally The Playboys, who became his permanent band until 1967. Signing with Brisbane-based independent label Sunshine, Rowe released his first single Gershwin's “It Ain't Necessarily So” in April 1965. Rowe recorded a number of successful ballads and pop songs throughout 1965, including Que Sera Sera” (1965), “I Who Have Nothing” (1965), “Tell Him I'm Not Home” (1965), and “Shakin' All Over” (1965), fostering his image as the epitome of the clean-cut pop idol of the mid-1960s.
In mid-1965 he joined the Easybeats, Bobby and Laurie and M.P.D. Ltd on “The Big Four” national tour playing to huge crowds around the country. In August 1966 Rowe travelled to the UK to further his career. He recorded four new singles with producers Trevor Kennedy and John Carter and toured extensively with performers such as Julie Driscoll, The Spencer Davis Group, Brian Auger and The Trinity, Gene Pitney and The Troggs. In March 1967 he toured the UK with The Playboys. Together they also toured North America in support of Roy Orbison and represented Australia at Expo '67 in Montreal.
In September 1967 Rowe received a call-up for compulsory military service. The following two years included active service in Vietnam with the A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which dramatically curtailed his music career. Returning to the music industry in 1970 he released “Hello” which was penned by Johnny Young. Johnny had written about five hits in a row: “The Star”, “The Real Thing”, “I Thank You”, “Smiley” and “Hello”. It was revealed many years later that Young's song "Smiley", a major hit for Ronnie Burns in 1969, was written about Normie. The “Hello” album marked the end of Normie’s Sunshine contract, although the label had been taken over by Festival several years earlier after it got into financial problems. Normie signed to Festival in 1971, and on March 6 he married his girlfriend Sue Powlesland.