APRA BEST AUSTRALIAN SONGS

 

Cool Change (G Shorrock) – Little River Band 1979

 Cool Change was lifted from the First Under the Wire album, and while it failed to chart as a single locally, it scored heavily in the USA where it made #10. The expression “cool change” is a metaphor for changes in our lives, those that can be anticipated, enjoyed, or even regretted, but never forgotten “And now that my life is so prearranged/ I know that it’s time for a cool change.”

There is a breezy elegance to the arrangement, the listener can almost feel the change moving in as the tempo shifts and the orchestration segues from the subtle acoustic piano of Peter Jones and bass of Mike Clarke to a tenor sax flourish from Bill Harrower- it was highly accomplished songwriting, arranging and production.

Glenn Shorrock had written the song in 1977/78, when he was in Melbourne, motivated by mixed emotions – frustration about the internal politics of the band, fatigue from touring, and growing environmental concerns, “I know it may sound selfish/ But let me breathe the air.” The song was not included on the next LRB album which was Sleeper Catcher and did not make the cut until 1979, much to Shorrock’s chagrin. The song selection process within the band was competitive and brutal, in Shorrock, Goble, Birtles, and Briggs the band had four capable songwriters competing for the inclusion of their songs on albums and to be released as singles.

Glenn Shorrock recalled that the harmonies on the outgoing choruses of this song were sung around one microphone and then triple-tracked, infusing them with a richness and intimacy that was unique.

LRB had real momentum in the US at this time, this record had been preceded by several other top 10 US hits including Reminiscing (#3 1978), Lady (#10 1979) and Lonesome Loser (#6 1979), and the First Under the Wire album was their first million-selling album in the US.

But there were serious divisions within the band, Goble and Shorrock were in dispute over song choices, band management and live performance repertoires,  Wheatley sensed that there was a move within the band against Shorrock, Goble and Birtles had taken all the songs that that their LRB bandmates had rejected and released them on a Birtles/Goble album, The Last Romance, along with several singles, the most successful being I’m Coming Home, which climbed to #6 locally in 1979. Not to be outdone Glenn Shorrock released a cover version of the Bobby Darin hit Dream Lover for his own #8 local hit in 1979.

Ultimately Cool Change got the recognition that it deserved here when APRA released their list of the top 30 Australian songs of the period 1926- 2001 and Cool Change was justifiably included, in 1982 John Farnham would replace Glenn Shorrock as lead singer of LRB, perhaps this was the cool change that Shorrock had been subconsciously seeking anyway.

 

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