1983 Little River Band – The Other Guy
How is it that radio mostly ignores a group that had over a dozen top forty singles on the Hot 100, half of which made it to the top ten, and sold over thirty million records? Such is the fate of the Little River Band.
Six members of several local groups in Australia joined together in 1975 to form a new group. The primary members were Glenn Shorrock on lead vocals, Beeb Birtles on guitar and vocals, and Graeham Goble on guitar and vocals. The band initially called themselves Mississippi. That was changed the night they were driving to their first live gig when they passed a road sign for Little River.
The first track the group recorded was a cover of the Everly Brothers song, When Will I Be Loved. Linda Ronstadt released her single in April and dashed any hopes they had of a hit, so they shelved the track. The group signed with EMI Records and began recording their first album in November. EMI released two singles from the album that did well in Australia.
The group signed with Capitol Records near the end of 1975 and guitar player David Briggs joined the group. They began touring in the UK and Europe in early 1976.
They toured the US in late 1976, opening up for the Average White Band. Their third single finally clicked in the states: It’s A Long Way There reached #28 on the Hot 100.
Their biggest hit in the US was Reminiscing, which reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1978.
The group had several hit records a year while constantly replacing many of the members. David left the group in 1981, and Glenn left in 1982.
John Farnham joined the group and took over singing lead vocals and Stephen Housden became the new lead guitar player. The first single featuring John came in 1983 with the release of The Other Guy. The single peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 in early 1983. Two more singles followed that year, but the sales began to slide and the group never reached the US top forty again.
The group tried changing its style from soft rock to something more progressive, and in 1985 they also changed their name to LRB. The combination of a new name and different music didn’t help at all. They even performed their new single Playing To Win on the Solid Gold television show but the single only reached #60 on the Hot 100. It was little consolation that the record reached #15 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
John left the group in 1986, and it essentially disbanded for a year or two. Glenn rejoined the group in 1987 and various lineups of the group recorded a few more albums.
In 1988, the current lineup formed a parent company to control the name and trademark for the Little River Band. They set up ownership split equally between the five remaining members. By 1997 all the other members of the group had left and Stephen became the sole owner of the company.
Stephen formed a touring group that used the Little River Band name. In 1982, original members Glenn, Beeb, and Graeham began touring as The Original Little River Band and The Voices of Little River Band. Stephen successfully sued them to stop their use of the band’s name.
The original members later sued to stop the touring band from using their original music and likenesses to advertise their shows, and Stephen responded by having the touring band re-record the original hits.
The group currently appearing as the Little River Band has no original members from the group and doesn’t even have a single person from Australia. One of the musicians responsible for their hits in 1976-1978 reasonably refers to that group as a “tribute band.”
Glenn scheduled a performance for March 2020 but had to delay the event due to the covid-19 virus outbreak.
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