Thursday, 9 April 2015
Be Careful Of Stones That You Throw/My Heart Belongs To Only You/The Steady Game/It's Too Late
A national icon. An inspiration to Australians everywhere. The man who single-handedly defined Australian Rock and Roll. Johnny O'Keefe can say yes to all those and more. Johnny O'Keefe single-handedly did more to influence Australian pop-culture than any other national figure. Born on the 19th of January, 1935, Johnny was the younger of two boys. Older brother Barry (b. 1933) Became a prominent Judge and lawyer in Australia. Born only eleven days after Elvis Presley, Johnny O'Keefe was often called 'Australia's answer to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis'. He was all this and more. Right from the get go this raw, precocious, kinetic, talented, young, self-promoting rocker from Sydney rocked the ultra-conservative world of Robert Menzies' Australia in the 1950's, with his gyrating, rebel-yelling performances out the front of his band, The Dee-Jays. Australia, stuck in the conservative 1950's, had never seen anything like this leopard skin suited, ripple soled rock and roll maniac who was 'morally corrupting their children'. And he was Australia's. Someone to call their own. Johnny O'Keefe was Australian, and proud of it. Johnny O'Keefe spoke to the very heart and soul of a generation of Australian teenagers who were screaming out for an identity, and he forever changed the way Australian's view themselves, because he was the first, the very first, person who showed Australia that they could rock just as hard as an international singer. And that is exactly what Johnny O'Keefe did. O'Keefe's success was by no means confined to Australia. In the late 50s he toured through the U.S. where he appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show', and became a local legend with his hilarious boomerang throwing exploits as 'the boomerang kid' in New York's Central Park. Johnny O'Keefe is hard to comprehend in today's celebrity for celebrity's sake world. He was the real deal. Johnny O'Keefe was the truly unique Australian.