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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They finally pulled this up from down under!
The Skyhooks were one of the Australian music scene's hidden treasures, and I was happy to see someone cared enough to issue this comprehensive CD compilation. Musically speaking, the Skyhooks sound like a marriage between Slade and Brownsville Station, but thier cheeky, satiric song lyrics make them closer cousins to 10cc and the Bonzo Dog Band. A perfect example of...
Published on March 23, 2000 by D. Hartley

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Australian band
This is NOT the Australian band Skyhooks. Don't know how these other reviews ended up here.
Published on October 20, 2009 by XS


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They finally pulled this up from down under!, March 23, 2000
By 
D. Hartley (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
The Skyhooks were one of the Australian music scene's hidden treasures, and I was happy to see someone cared enough to issue this comprehensive CD compilation. Musically speaking, the Skyhooks sound like a marriage between Slade and Brownsville Station, but thier cheeky, satiric song lyrics make them closer cousins to 10cc and the Bonzo Dog Band. A perfect example of the Skyhook formula is the endearing "Million Dollar Riff", which manages to savage the "hit factory" mentality of the music business while cleverly incorporting a potpourri of classic rock guitar riffs into a perfect 3 1/2 minute pop song. One minor complaint (loses a star for this !): A good portion of disc 2 contains a "lost" album from more recent times; these songs are not as compelling as thier 70's output represented on disc 1. Overall, a worthwhile release for fans of smart rock 'n' roll.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A major Aussie 70's band with guitar work that defined the era, December 26, 2006
By 
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
For people unfamiliar with this major Australian band of the 1970's, I suppose you could describe them as a 'good time' band, perhaps in the Huey Lewis and The News mould, but with wittier lyrical content.

The songs on this compilations are the ones you'd expect on such a hits compilation. In my opinion, Skyhooks have two songs which you could class in the 'classic' category, namely, Women in Uniform, and Horror Movie. Interestingly, Women in Uniform features a sample of a marching band leader, which, I think, REM may have sampled themselves for their classic song Orange Crush. Anyway, Women in Uniform is a perfect pop/rock song featuring fun lyrics and loud and wild pop/rock, with a tropical sounding guitar break. This song was covered by Iron Maiden, incredibly. I can't remember Maiden's version, but, in my view, it is just asking for trouble to try and trump the original version. It would have been smarter, perhaps, for a metal band to cover Skyhooks' other classic song, Horror Movie, as that would be more amenable, I think, to a metal treatment...gosh, a Metallica version of that song would be a treat, I think! Lastly, with regard to Women In Uniform, I made a note, which I think applied to this song, that parts of it sort of reminded me of Led Zeppelin's "Rock'n'roll". No, Women is not derivative...it's unique, but there's a slight similarity in some of the guitar work in these two songs.

As I said before, Horror Movie is the other song I class as a classic song. I'm not sure how original the intro to that song is, but even just hearing it once, the introduction becomes an instant 'creepy music' classic/cliche. Michael Jackson's Thriller is another song with goes down the 'creepy' intro road. Skyhooks were there before and they did it just as well. The rest of the song is terrific, with a twist in the tale of what the topic of the song is about [I won't spoil the twist for you]. There is a guitar break in this song which is just one of the definitive guitar sounds of the 70's...and Skyhooks have more than just one song with one of these in them. Apart from the guitar break in question, the riff to this song is terrific too [just after the intro].

Two other songs could perhaps be placed near the 'classic' end of the spectrum...namely "Living in the 70's" and "Ego is not a dirty word". These two songs have 1970's defining guitar licks too. Living in the 70's is one of music's most witty songs...one of my favourite lines in the song is "My face gets dirty just walkin' around, I need another pill to calm me down". Absolutely brilliant! Ego is also a really good song, featuring, well, the observation that having an ego is a GOOD thing. Not all of the song makes sense, but it's a song with a positive message wrapped in infectious pop.

Surprisingly, two of the songs have a country music feel to them...Toorak Cowboy [appropriately], and Blue Jeans [a catchy, singalong kind of song about...take a wild guess]. Blue Jeans would be one of Skyhooks most well known songs, along with All My Friends Are Getting Married. Surprisingly, I heard "Carlton" being played on a commercial FM station the other night-that's pretty obscure for a Skyhooks song, I think. Another song which would be known to Australians would be "You Just Like Me Coz I'm Good In Bed". It's a fun, simple song, which was banned at the time from commercial airplay, but it seems pretty inoccuous now.

Other songs of interest are: Bbb Boogie [which features a guitar riff which reminded me of Alice Cooper's School's Out and Rose Tattoo's Bad Boy For Love]; Party To End All Parties [which features a riff which isn't too bad]; Million Dollar Riff [which includes some famous guitar riffs in the song]. I like This Is My City-it's pretty simple, but catchy. Crazy Heart is a ballad, just to have something a little different on the cd.

As for the second cd, which is apparently part of an album that never got released, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting the album to be as rubbish as I remembered their comeback hit Jukebox In Siberia to be. That that song reached number one in Australia, perhaps, shows just how much cultural cache this band had. On relistening to that song, it's not thaaaaat bad and it has some references to the USSR which aren't totally glib.

The second album is more earnest than 'classic' Skyhooks, but they still retain their ability to write catchy pop songs. There are no classic songs on the second cd, but they are all pretty much listenable. Tigersnake Kiss reminded me of Aerosmith, circa 1970's. Tall Timber is pretty earnest, being about environmental issues and people who stand out from the crowd. Girleen features a bluesy harmonica and has a 1950's sound to it. I don't think that the regular lead singer sings that song. Black & White Bar is a funky song which is bass heavy and has a nice groove to it. The last song on the second cd features accoustic guitar and has a narrative but disjointed lyrical content...a fragmented picture of a town where drugs rule.

So, why were Skyhooks so significant in Australian music? From what I've heard they set the benchmark for how successful an Australian band could be in Australia. I think their album "Living in the 70's" sold some quarter of a million albums in Australia, which was a great leap forward from the previous record holder, Daddy Cool [a band which was heavily influenced by 1950's American rock'n'roll and made some classic neo-rock'n'roll songs of their own...e.g. the classics Eagle Rock and Bom Bom...a classic double 'A' sided single if ever there was one].

In docus about Australian music I've heard that Skyhooks and AC/DC were great rivals, mainly because AC/DC resented The Establishment support given to Skyhooks. In fact, AC/DC would sabotage Skyhooks gigs by hiring out equipment so that Skyhooks couldn't perform due to a lack of amps or whathaveyou.

Also heard how Skyhooks did not make the first Countdown show [the iconic music programme of the 1970's and 80's] because they were considered second fiddle to Sherbet, another major Australian group of the 1970's. I'd class these two bands as on a par. Sherbet also has some 70's era defining songs and guitar sounds...e.g. Howzat [classic bass riff] and Magazine Madonna, and Summer Love.

Lastly, the lead singer of Skyhooks Graeme "Shirley" Strauchan died some years ago, crashing a helicopter he was flying. After Skyhooks, he hosted a popular children's show [Shirl's Neighbourhood] and later featured on a home renovation show as a handyman adviser. His vocal style was unique-sort of in the Rober Plant mould, but not as adventurous. His pretty boy looks and Shirley Temple hairstyle gave rise, perhaps, to his nickname of "Shirley/Shirl".

The cd notes explain that Skyhooks gaudy outfits were an ironic comment on the glam movement of the time. They weren't exactly co-ordinated...satin for some, cowboy outfits for others. "Irony" is a key word for this band. Sherbet lacked this, and when Sherbet wore open necked satin shirts, they were saying something completely different to Skyhooks.

For anyone with an interest in Australian music, I'd highly recommend this compilation, and any good compilation of Sherbet songs.

*** Other Australian cds I've reviewed at this site:

INXS: "Kick" and "Listen like thieves" and "Anthology"

Midnight Oil: "10,...,1" and "Diesel and dust" and others

John Farnham: The great Australian songbook

Johnny O'Keefe: Birth of Australian rock'n'roll

Alex Lloyd: Amazing-The best of

The Saints: Know your product-the best of

The Vines: Highly Evolved

Rogue Traders: Here Comes The Drums
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Rock, Australian Style, June 21, 2010
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
As someone who lived in the 70s, Watched Molly Talk with "Shirley", Greg, and Bongo, and was in Australia as a kid when the albums came out right up to the time when, sadly, Graham died in Queensland in the accident, this double CD is very representative of what the Hooks are about. Coming to the US, I played this collection to some friends and with no commentary, they just called it "Southern Rock" ( as in Southern US, Rock). Of course this misses the point of the Hooks to anyone that was raised with them, but so does trying to play Cold Chisel to a US audience. They may very well love them a bit more, but the point is still lost.
What Skyhooks did was write about Australia, same with Chisel. ACDC were not competitors with Hooks or Chisel simply because ACDC were very Universal, thats why they succeeded. I still love what Skyhooks did, but Graham "Shirley" Strachan left because his highest salary in the 70s was 26,000 aus dollars; for the work he did, that was nothing. Its no surprise that Women in Uniform succeeded as a cover, since it was such a broad brush song for Iron Maiden to do, I still think Graham Sung it mostly better, but the cover was not bad, and it was Maiden's first big hit.
I am not too surprised to see this material here, I am surprised that ALL of cold Chisel is not available, especially since it is streets ahead of much of the other bands Mentioned. Also, Billy Thorpe would go down a treat here, especially "Most People I know , think that I'm Crazy".... and I do that in accoustic version, however, do be prepared to be called a folk singer if you think "Pub with no Beer" is a country song... in the US, its treated as Folk music
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best + What could have been.., January 23, 2002
By 
LUKE G MACQUEEN (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
I purchased this CD when it came out & was thrilled to listen to the new "lost" album as I showed that they matured in the lyrics & had a lot of potential again many years later. Sadly whith the death of Shirley it will be their swan song but thanks for the memories...
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4.0 out of 5 stars 2 great songs., May 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
Try listening to "All My Friends are Getting Married"
and "You Just Like Me Because I'm Good in Bed"
online if you never heard them. Just a pair of great singles to my ears.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a great source for sound quality, July 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
Had Living in the 70s and its successor on cassette 30+ years ago. Not a great source for sound quality. Played this CD and it brought back many happy memories of the time. The sound quality was very good.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Australian band, October 20, 2009
This review is from: Skyhook (MP3 Music)
This is NOT the Australian band Skyhooks. Don't know how these other reviews ended up here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars XS is right: the mp3 click takes you to a different album, October 24, 2010
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
XS is right

The positive reviewers here are referring to the audio CD

but if you click the "Download MP3" button here you go to a completely different album

someone here at amazon has stuffed up

try it yourself
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Collection by Skyhooks (Audio CD - 1999)
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