CAREER KARAOKE OR IDOL FAME – PART 1

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Shine (M Gerrard/A Stochansky) and Lift (A Reily/B Jones/A Roachford/S Noll) 2005 and Now I Run (P Gordeno/S Noll/C Porter) and Lonely (A Reilly/S Noll) – Shannon Noll 2006

With a #1 album and three top ten hits to his credit Shannon Noll toured the country relentlessly, commencing with an Australian Idol tour in 2004 which featured alumni from the show, he immediately followed that with his first solo headlining tour titled The Overdrive Tour and in August 2014 he starred in a TV special on Network Ten titled Up Close with Shannon Noll, hosted by his old Idol judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson.

At Channel Nine’s request he re-recorded the 1970’s cricket anthem C’mon Aussie C’mon, a #1 hit for the Mojo Singers in 1979, and took his version to #3 in December, with all proceeds being donated to the Red Cross in a selfless act of genuine charity by Shannon, which he would repeat two years later when he raised funds for beyondblue via a duet with Natalie Bassingthwaite on their cover of the classic Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush recording of Don’t Give Up.

At this time Noll had set his sights on breaking into the giant US market, and to that end he spent time with songwriting royalty there in Desmond Child who had written virtually every hit for Bon Jovi, as well as #1 hits for Kiss, Alice Cooper, Ricki Martin and many others in a career that included 500 million album sales and 80 top forty singles. Noll also worked with Dianne Warren who was a legendary songwriter having penned nine #1hits and 32 top ten songs including hits for Celine Dion, Toni Braxton and Laura Branigan, and he collaborated with Brit Wayne Hector, the go-to songwriter for boybands Westlife and One Direction, as well as Olly Mars and Nicky Minaj, but few of these songs collaboratively written by Noll with these feted composers ever saw the light of day.    

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Noll claimed that he preferred to work with Australian songwriters, but there were other factors, the heavy hitters like Warren and Childs don’t come cheap and prefer not to share credits, Noll wanted to expand his influence into songwriting and get a share of the associated royalties, and he would ultimately get a writing credit for eleven of the thirteen songs on his next album Lift issued in 2005.

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He would also work with a lot of lesser-known non-Australian songwriters on that album including Canadian Matthew Gerard, Americans Andy Stochansky and Chris Gordon, and Brits Phil Thornalley Andrew Roachford, and Peter Gordeno, two co-writes with Wayne Hector also featured, and some emerging local songwriters including Phil Buckle, Adam Reilly and Bryon Jones did contribute tracks to the album.

One of Noll’s best songs, engaging, insistent, his vocals were just right.

Lift would not be the breakthrough album in the US for Noll, but he remained a hometown hero as both the album and the single Shine debuted at #1 and the album notched up sales of over 210,000. Shine was a departure from the country-tinged rock and balladry of Shannon’s previous singles, he slipped into a Bryan Adams-like gentle rocker groove here, bass, drums and guitar lead the way, it’s uncomplicated, unthreatening and was very popular, stayed on top for eleven consecutive weeks, a record that was not been broken until Tones and I held down the #1 spot for 24 weeks with Dance Monkey in 2019/20. The album sold over 200,000 copies and Noll released three more singles from it, and in January 2006 he embarked on his second solo headlining tour, predictably titled The Lift Tour.  

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Lift was the second single from the album and aspired to anthemic status via an inspirational message to never quit, to defeat the bullies and the naysayers in your life. Visual images of boxing rings and fighters reinforced that message, which was filmed by Noll’s go-to promo clip creator Anthony Rose, shot in a vacant warehouse in Marrickville (Syd.), Lift climbed to #9 and occupied the charts for 29 weeks, Nollsy had a solid fanbase by now, he was also a more confident songwriter, and the hits kept coming.

Now I Run was an homage to Noll’s late father Neil who had been tragically killed in a farming accident in 2001, the following years were tough for Shannon and his two brothers who had to run their property during a period of severe drought in the area. The emotional impact of his father’s death and the subsequent decision by Noll to quit farming, finds eloquent expression in this song, a gentle acoustic lament about the close relationship between a father and his son which was ended prematurely “Everything that I am, comes from a better man.” The song was highly praised by critics, it was a moving tribute and the promo clip which depicted Noll strumming an acoustic guitar in a farm shed, was simple and tasteful, it charted #7 nationally.

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Lonely was the last single lifted from the album and it was a typically country-tinged, radio-friendly song blending steel guitar with power chords, as Noll took that familiar journey across the bridge from country to rock and back again, it continued Shannon’s amazing run of top hits, when it climbed to #10 to become his eighth consecutive top ten record.

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