COUNTDOWN SPECIAL – PART 2

pat wilson

Bop Girl (R Wilson) – Pat Wilson 1983

Pat Wilson (Patricia Mary Higgins) was born in Yarraville (Melb) and attended St Augustine’s College, her life and career was inextricably bound up with that of her husband for twenty years, Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock front man and Australian rock royalty, Ross Wilson. Pat first saw Ross when he performed at the Chicago Blues Club in North Melbourne and later with his garage rock band the Pink Finks at Opus, they met when both took jobs with the Commonwealth Department of Supply in Melbourne.                   pat wilson3

After Ross relocated to the UK in 1969 to take up a position with the avant-garde band Procession, Pat subsequently joined him and they were married there in the same year, returning to Australia via the hippie trail through Europe, the Middle East and the sub-continent in 1970. Pat was there when Daddy Cool scored with Eagle Rock, she appeared in the footage taken at the Myponga Music festival (SA) bopping along in the front row, she was pregnant with their first child at the time.

pat wilson2

Pat became a journalist with Go-Set magazine and wrote under the pseudonym “Mummy Cool”, she also performed with the former art school band Rock Granite and the Profiles (see below) with lead singer/guitarist Chris Stafford, they performed regularly as a support band in Melbourne, their sets included several original compositions including  Sweet Little Latin Lover, Funky Spunky Monkey and Lipstick, Powder and Paint but they never charted.

Rock Granite

Ross Wilson penned Bop Girl when he was with Mondo Rock but it was not their style and so he decided to offer it to his spouse, they went into the Rhinoceros Studios (Syd) with fellow producers Mark Moffatt and Ricky Fataar in September 1983 to record Bop Girl.

Spell-a-long songs have been famous down the years, Respect (Aretha Franklin), Gloria (Van Morrison and Them), I’m A Man (Muddy Waters), Vacation (Connie Francis), Divorce (Tammy Wynette), and who could forget the Mickey Mouse Club song, and Bop Girl proved to be no exception.

Pat took the song with its catchy spell-along chorus, resonant bass line, fiddle solo, backing vocals by husband Ross and bass man inserts from another Daddy Cool alumnus in  Ross Hannaford, to #2 nationally for a big hit that was the 11th best -selling record of the year, it also climbed to #10 in NZ and even charted at #28 in South Africa.

The promo video by Gillian Armstrong was a quirky, engaging, low budget production, featuring suburban Coogee (Syd), cream brick veneer exteriors, a Hills Hoist clothesline, stop motion square dancing armchairs and early attempts at “planking”, it was Aussie kitsch as familiar as a chiko roll. Daniella Jones of the group Operators appears early in the clip eating marshmallows in bed, a fifteen-year-old Nicole Kidman makes her debut acting performance as the tallest of the three bridesmaids, Ross Wilson reprised his Eagle Rock dance moves and Naomi Watts also made a guest appearance as one of the bridal party.                                                            pat wilson 1

A very chic Mummy Cool, Pat Wilson wafts in and out of shot, dressed in white bridal mini and bustier, veil, gloves, with bouquet, and later in a very fetching LBD with fascinator and veil.

Not surprisingly the song has a retro Daddy Cool vibe to it, rollicking good-time rock and pop with former Daddy cool alumni – the two Ross’s- in good form, and Pat Wilson displaying a previously unheard engaging singing style and pop sensibility. Pat’s follow up single was Strong Love which also charted creditably at #26 in May 1984, but there were no further hits.                                          Go Set

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