Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: Dragon – Bondi Road

The “Body and the Beat” album and the song “Rain” kept Dragon in the Charts between 1983 and 1986.

In 1986, they released the hard rock sounding “Dreams Of Ordinary Man” album which was certified Platinum in Australia and kept their comeback alive.

In 1987, they dropped a cover song, “Celebration” from Kool And The Gang. And it went to Number 1 on the Australian charts and stayed in the Top 10 for quite some time.

I’m not a real fan of that song but it made business sense to cover it because of it’s cross over appeal. It was played in night clubs, parties and everywhere you went in Australia, you heard Dragon’s version.

And then in April 1989, they dropped “Bondi Road”, their ninth studio album.

And no one knew it at the time but it was to be the last album of new material to be released during singer Marc Hunter’s lifetime, who passed away from throat cancer in 1998 at 44 years of age.

Bondi Beach is listed as a place to visit in Sydney for tourists. It’s also the place where the reality TV show, “Bondi Rescue” is filmed which shows the lifeguards basically saving tourists from the waters.

With a title that involves the word “Bondi”, summer always comes to mind, however they dropped the album in April, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is the second month of Autumn.

But by the time October rolled around (the second month of Aussie spring), the album had grown in momentum and really became a summer album for the months of December, January and February.

Young Years

It’s one of their best songs, a hard rock classic. And it’s not even written by the band, written by keyboardist Alan Mansfield and his partner, vocalist Sharon O’Neill, who as a songwriting team have written other songs for Dragon which became fan favorites.

The song also had a massive resurgence in popularity following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998.

And on guitar they have the great Tommy Emmanuel. Apart from being an accomplished solo artist and an amazing guitar player at that, Emmanuel has amassed a lot of session credits here in Australia and in the U.S.

Plus a special mention to the awesome backing vocals of Mary Azzopardi and Wendy Matthews.

It’s a great opener and then I felt lost listening to the next songs.

“Blue Blue”, “Book of Love”, “Here Am I”, “Ice in this Town” and “Gold in the River” failed to capture the intensity and fire of the opening track.

Bondi Road

Then the Intro riff started for “Bondi Road” and I was back in. It’s all in clean tone but it’s got this rock blues funk groove which I like.

Written by Johanna Pigott and Todd Hunter, who also wrote “Rain”, however this time around vocalist Marc Hunter also has a songwriting contribution.

Summer

You couldn’t have an album called “Bondi Road” without having a song called “Summer” on it.

This one is written by David Hirschfelder, Marc Hunter and Wendy Hunter.

It’s major key riff, rocks hard but the way it’s delivered, it feels like I’m on the beach, soaking in the summer rays.

Then came “Family Man” and the album lost me again.

Runaway

It rocks out of the gate with a hard rock riff.

Another track written by the team of Alan Mansfield and Sharon O’Neill.

Good Time Girl

Mansfield and O’Neill contribute another song.

The rock sounds of Free and Bad Company start the song, and it moves into a riff similar to “Young Years”.

Stick around for the Chorus.

Celebration

And yes the stand alone single was given an album as well.

The album was Certified Gold in Australia, a bit lower than the previous albums and a sign of the changing times.

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The Record Vault and Australian Method Series: Dragon

I’ve already covered this album under the Australian Method Series here.

It’s album number seven and it was released in June 1984, peaking at number 5 on the Australian charts and gaining a platinum certification.

But it was their first album since 1979.

And there’s a story.

Formed in 1972 in New Zealand, Dragon was about to break in the larger North American market.

But when you’re doing heroin, the only thing that’s gonna break are your chances of breaking big.

They had a US tour opening up for Johnny Winter that went bad when lead vocalist Marc Hunter called Winter’s blues rock audience rednecks and faggots, he was lucky he even escaped the venue.

And Marc was fired from Dragon, by his own brother Todd. Marc went solo and had some success, however the band new they could make some serious coin if they got together again.

“Rain” was the output in 1983. Written by Johanna Pigott, Marc Hunter and Todd Hunter, it’s 3 minutes and 40 seconds of pure hard rock glory.

Make sure you stick around for the “if you go out in the rain” melody towards the end.

Due to its success, the band went into the studio to record an album worth of songs.

As a side note, the writing team of Johanna Pigott and her partner, Todd Hunter (Dragon bass player) also wrote the smash hit title track “Age Of Reason” for John Farnham a few years later.

The album kicks off with “Rain”.

If it wasn’t for “Rain”, then “Cry” would be a favourite.

“Body And The Beat” has a bass groove and a feel that bands like INXS were making popular.

“Magic” feels like a driving song, with the window down and the warm winds blowing through.

But.

Apart from “Rain”, this album is forgotten.

Everyone told the band the album would break the band overseas. But it didn’t. Within a year they were back in the studio recording another album..

A year after this album came out, keyboardist Paul Hewson and the writer of their classic songs “April Sun In Cuba” and “Are You Old Enough” was found dead in a friend’s car, hours after he told the band he wanted to leave.

Dragon continued and released the super successful (in the Australia market), “Dreams Of Ordinary Men” in 1986 and “Bondi Road” in 1989. A review of “Bondi Road” is coming up.

A few greatest hits and acoustic re-recordings hit the shelves. And then tragedy struck again.

Marc Hunter was diagnosed with throat cancer in November 1997 and he died on 17 July 1998. Dragon have continued on with Todd Hunter still the driving force.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series: Dragon – Body And The Beat

Dragon is a New Zealand rock band which was formed in January 1972 and relocated later to Sydney, in May 1975.

“Body and the Beat” is album number seven. The album was released in June 1984, peaking at number 5 on the Australian charts and gained a platinum certification.

But it’s their first album since 1979.

At the time, Dragon was on the verge of breaking through worldwide but vocalist Marc Hunter was out of control with his heroin addiction and on stage antics, offending everyone, including audiences, other acts and label heads.

They had a US tour opening up for Johnny Winter that went pear shaped when Hunter called Winter’s blues rock audience rednecks and faggots. Then again it was another stupid decision to place Dragon on this bill, it’s like Imagine Dragons opening up for Iron Maiden.

Actually when I watched Maiden on the “Somewhere Back In Time”, the opening act “Behind Crimson Eyes” was the support. Now they are an Australian metalcore band with screaming vocals and they got booed after each song, until they played a cover of “Ace Of Spades” and the crowd cheered. Again, another misplaced opening act.

Anyway, back to Dragon, the band which included his brother Todd, fired him. This brought to an end the first period of Dragon which also involved the heroin overdose of drummer Neil Storey in 1976.

Hunter went solo and had some success and then the band got together again.

“Rain” was the output in 1983. Written by Johanna Pigott, Marc Hunter and Todd Hunter, it’s 3 minutes and 40 seconds of hard rock glory. Make sure you stick around for the “if you go out in the rain” melody.

Due to its success, the band went into the studio to record an album worth of songs.

It’s worth noting that the songwriting team of Johanna Pigott and her partner, Todd Hunter (Dragon bass player) also wrote the smash hit title track “Age Of Reason” for John Farnham.

The album kicks off with “Rain”. “Promises” and “Wilderworld” are melodic rock songs perfect for a summers day.

If it wasn’t for “Rain”, then “Cry” would be a favorite.

“Body And The Beat” has a bass groove and a feel that bands like INXS were making popular.

“Magic” feels like a driving song, with the window down and the warm winds blowing through.

But.

Apart from “Rain”, this album is forgotten.

Everyone told the band the album would break the band overseas. But it didn’t. Within a year they were back in the studio recording another album..

A year after this album came out, keyboardist Paul Hewson and the writer of their classic songs “April Sun In Cuba” and “Are You Old Enough” was found dead in a friends car, hours after he told the band he wanted to leave.

Dragon continued and released the super successful (in the Australia market), “Dreams Of Ordinary Men” in 1986 and my favourite “Bondi Road” in 1989. A few greatest hits and acoustic re-recordings hit the shelves. And then tragedy struck again.

Marc Hunter was diagnosed with throat cancer in November 1997 and he died on 17 July 1998. Dragon have continued on with Todd Hunter still the driving force.

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