Thursday, 14 January 2016
Sweet Thing/We've Got Something Going/The Right Time/Transistor
Booka Hyland (b. John, c.1940) was an established pub singer when he was heard by Warren Williams and his band who urged him to contact Johnny O'Keefe. He ended up as a regular on O'Keefe's TV show Six O'Clock Rock and joined O'Keefe on tour.
John Hyland began his career in 1956, entering talent quests in local pubs. Six years later he became lead singer for the Leedons who of course the became Booka Hyland and The Leedons. Then 4 years as lead singer for The Chessmen.
Hyland released a handful of singles, only one of which charted, the John Marascalco-Scott Turnbull song Sweet Thing (1960, #33 Sydney). His second single, We've Got Something Going (1960) was another John Marascalco composition. He also released a four-track EP, Booka At The Police Boys Club, featuring the three A-sides plus a B-side. See also I Dig Girls, the B-side of Sweet Thing.
At this time O'Keefe was an active A&R man and producer for the Lee Gordon and Leedon labels. He often used the name Eddie Cash Jr because, as he put it, I think the disc jockeys got a bit sick and tired of hearing my name all the time [quoted in The Wild One, see below]. The "Eddie Cash" vocalists and musicians covered a studio roster that included many well-known Sydney performers.
"Booka" was a childhood nickname. Until his first record showed his surname, Johnny O'Keefe had billed him simply as Booka.