#20: Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats

City: Edmonton, AB
Radio Station: CJCA
Peak Month: June 1967
Peak Position in Edmonton: #3
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #16
YouTube: “Friday On My Mind
Lyrics: “Friday On My Mind

Stephen “Stevie” Carlton Wright was born in Leeds, England, in 1947. When he was nine-years-old his family moved to Melbourne, Australia. He moved to Sydney and joined a local band called The Outlaws. By 1964 Stevie had formed Chris Langdon & the Langdells. While he was with this band he met Johannes Hendrikus Jacob van den Berg. Johannes was born in the Netherlands in 1946. When he turned 13 he taught himself to play guitar in his family’s tenement home. He played guitar in a band called The Starfighters, based in The Hague. When he was seventeen his family moved to Australia in 1963. The following year, going by the anglicized name of Harry Vanda, he became the lead guitar player for a Sydney band called The Easybeats. A co-founder of the band was George Young. Also an immigrant to Australia, in his case from Glasgow, Scotland, George Redburn Young was born in 1947. He was a rhythm guitarist. After one of the coldest winters in Scotland on record in 1962, the Young family saw a Television ad from the Australian government promising travel assistance for families seeking a new start with a life in Australia.

A fourth member of the Easybeats was Dingeman Adriaan Henry van der Sluijs. He was born in Hilversum, Netherlands. When he was four-years-old his family moved to Australia. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. He joined the Easybeats and took the stage name Dick Diamonde.

The Easybeats had their beginnings in Sydney’s Villawood Migrant Hostel. All of the five founding members were migrants to Australia from Europe The fifth member of the band was Snowy Fleet, who was born in Liverpool, England, in 1945. Stevie Wright was the lead singer. Dick Diamonde played bass guitar, George Young was on vocals and guitar, as was Harry Vanda, Snowy Fleet was the drummer.

Though the Easybeats formed in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania, they were influenced by the Pretty Things and the Rolling Stones. Their debut single, “For My Woman”, was a basic rhythm and blues inspired song.But it was the next release,”She’s So Fine”, which was a breakthrough hit for the band. It climbed to #3 in Australia. It anchored their debut album release Easy. A third single release in 1965,”Wedding Ring”, also cracked the Top Ten peaking at #7 in Australia.

In 1965, the band released It’s So Easy. In addition to “Wedding Ring,” “Women” climbed to #4 and “Come And See Her” shot to #3. Late in 1966 the band had a number-one hit titled “Sorry” from their third studio album, Volume 3.

But the Easybeats biggest hit was “Friday On My Mind”.

Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats

“Friday On My Mind” was written by Harry Vanda and George Young. The minor-key verses of “Friday on My Mind” depict the tedium and drudgery of the work week, taking each day at a time: “Monday morning feels so bad/Coming Tuesday I feel better”. These verses are adorned with a distinctive guitar figure. The build-up to the chorus features a slowly rising vocal, culminating with a shout of “Cos I’ll have Friday on my mind!”, and launching into a major-key refrain celebrating the pleasures of the weekend in the city. It was understood at the time as a working-class anthem.

“Friday On My Mind” peaked at #1 in Lansing (MI), Birmingham (AL), Corpus Christi (TX), Dayton (OH), and Miami, #2 in Kingston (ON), Houston, Cleveland, New Haven (CT), Tuscon (AZ), and Albany (NY), #3 in Edmonton (AB), Detroit, Lloydminster (AB), Modesto (CA), Redding (CA), Escondido (CA), Geneva (NY), and Wilmington (DL), #4 in Buffalo, Ann Arbor (MI), Grand Rapids (MI), Fort Worth (TX), Orlando, and Dallas, #5 in Winnipeg (MB), and Louisville, #6 in St. Thomas (ON), Easton (PA), New York City, and Montgomery (AL), #7 in Montreal, Hamilton (OH), Muncie (IN), Sioux Falls (SD), Cincinnati, San Antonio (TX), Austin (TX), Springfield (VT), and Texarkana (TX), #8 in Windsor (ON), Sacramento (CA), St. Louis, Kalamazoo (MI), San Diego, Chattanooga (TN), and Columbus (OH), #9 in Vancouver (BC), Vancouver (WA), Syracuse (NY), Los Angeles, Fresno (CA), Reading (PA), New Orleans, Troy (NY), Jackson (MI), and Toledo (OH), #10 in Pittsburgh, and Abilene (TX).

Internationally, “Friday On My Mind” peaked at #1 in Australia and the Netherlands, #2 in New Zealand, #6 in the UK, #19 in West Germany, #13 in Canada and Ireland, and #16 in Austria, Finland and the USA. In 1967, the Shadows recorded an instrumental version of the song. In 1973, David Bowie recorded a cover of “Friday On My Mind” for his Pin Ups album. The song was also covered by recording acts in France, Romania and Sweden in the late Sixties.

“Friday On My Mind” was from the album, Good Friday. A followup single, “Who’ll Be The One”, was a #12 hit in Australia. The baroque-pop tune “Heaven And Hell”, climbed to #8 in Australia in 1967.

Snowy Fleet left the Easybeats in 1967, and was replaced on drums by Tony Cahill.

In June 1968, the band released Vigil. From the album came”The Music Goes Round My Head”, “Land Of Make Believe” and “Good Times”. The first of these was psychedelic rock/British Dance Hall influenced. The next two were a Top 20 and #22 hits respectively. The latter was a Top Five hit for INXS in the late 80s in Australia and New Zealand. A final hit single for the band in Australia in the summer of 1969 was “St. Louis”. But the album Friends was released just as the band was deciding to break up.

A single recorded in 1967, but not released at the time was “Peculiar Hole In The Sky”. It stalled below the Top 30 in Australia. The song was featured on a Best Of Easybeats album in 1969. On reflection, bandmates considered the change in musical direction in Vigil had alienated their fan base.

Stevie Wright went on to become a cast member of the original Australian stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1972–73) and then launched a successful but short-lived solo career with the #1 Australian hit single “Evie” and the album Hard Road in 1974, which reunited him with Vanda and Young, who produced the records and wrote many of the songs, including “Evie”, an ambitious three-part suite split over two sides of a single. He later had drug problems and was admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre.

Snowy Fleet became a successful builder in Perth, Australia, and now runs a rehearsal studio in the suburbs. Dick Diamonde moved to the North Coast of New South Wales, and retired from performing, after some years of singing and playing in local pubs.

In 1976 Harry Vanda and George Young formed as a duo billed as Flash And the Pan. Their first single release, “Hey St. Peter”, went to #5 in Australia in 1976. The song charted to #6 in Belgium and #7 in the Netherlands in the summer of 1977. In 1977 their song, “Love Is In The Air”, was recorded by John Paul Young which became an international Top Ten hit. Flash and the Pan had more Top Ten hits with “Down Among the Dead Men” and “Waiting for a Train”. The latter was a #7 hit in the UK.

The original Easybeats had a reunion in 1986. In 2005 they were inducted into the Australia Recording Industry Hall of Fame.

In 2005 Harry Vanda established Flashpoint Music which opened a recording studio. Vanda has been a producer for many decades including indie rock back British India. In 2015, Stevie Wright died at the age of 68 of pneumonia. In 2017 George Young died at the age of 70.

November 24, 2023
Ray McGinnis

Stevie Wright: The Easybeats frontman dies aged 68,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, December 27, 2015.
Andrew Stafford, “George Young Should be Remembered as the Sonic Architect of Australian Rock Music,” Guardian, October 24, 2017.
David Fricke, “The Easybeats: Where Are They Now?: Catching up with the band behind ‘Friday on My Mind’,” Rolling Stone, September 11, 1986.
Michael Dwyer, “Legends Pay Tribute to Vanda and Young,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 7, 2013.
Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz, “Harry Vanda & George Young,” The Monthly, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, December 2010 – January 2011.
Ken Emerson, Doo-Dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture. Da Capo Press, 1997.
Hans Rouw Interview Harry Vanda (Easybeats) in Zwarte Ruiter in Den Haag, YouTube.com, May 13, 2012.
Easybeats, “For My Woman“, 1964.
Glen Goldsmith, Hard Road: The Life and Times of Stevie Wright, (Random House, 2004).

Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats

One response to “Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats”

  1. Tom Locke says:

    Amazingly, Friday On My Mind only made it to #39 on Toronto’s CHUM chart.

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