Search - Skyhooks :: Collection

Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2

1999 2CD collection featuring 19 of the band's finest on disc one and 11 recordings from the '90s, eight of which have never been released, on disc two for a total of 30 tracks. Double slimline jewel case.


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CD Details

All Artists: Skyhooks
Title: Collection
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mushroom Records
Release Date: 5/24/1999
Album Type: Import
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
Style: Australia & New Zealand
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 9397603315329, 766485261625


Album Description
1999 2CD collection featuring 19 of the band's finest on disc one and 11 recordings from the '90s, eight of which have never been released, on disc two for a total of 30 tracks. Double slimline jewel case.

CD Reviews

They finally pulled this up from down under!
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 03/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
A major Aussie 70's band with guitar work that defined the e
dfle3 | Australia | 12/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

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'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 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"