Lynne Randell (1950) emigrated from Liverpool to Melbourne with her family in 1955 when she was five years old, the family settled in the south-eastern suburbs and Lynne became a student at Mordialloc High School.
Initially her sights were set on becoming a famous hairdresser and she was employed as a junior at Lillian Franks city salon, then known as Lillian and Antonio’s. She was only fourteen but had already commenced singing and as one of the salon’s clients was agent/publicist Carol West, she was quickly auditioned, and hooked up with one of Carol West’s bands, The Spinning Wheels. At a New Year’s Eve gig at the Lorne S.L.S.C. she met uni student and aspiring rock journalist Ian Meldrum who would become a lifelong friend, and while performing back in Melbourne she was introduced to DJ Stan Rofe, a major promoter of local talent, and at age fifteen signed to a recording contract with EMI. Below – L-R Stan Rofe, Lynne, Ian “Molly” Meldrum.
Her debut single was a cover of the Lulu song I’ll Come Running Over which had been written by the US husband and wife team of Bert and Ilene Berns. Bert was a major songwriter and record producer in the 1960’s and was personally responsible for writing such hits as Twist and Shout (Isley Brothers), Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin), Hang on Sloopy (McCoys), Here Comes the Night (Them), Tell Him (The Exciters) and Baby Let Me Take You Home (Animals).
Randell’s version was a typical beat song of the time, melismas on the word “ooohvah”, with solid backing from the Spinning Wheels, and a lively vocal rendition by Lynne, propelled it to #31 and outsold Lulu’s version which stalled at #44. She was getting positive press reviews for her live performances from Meldrum who was now writing for Go-Set magazine, along with another young singer at the time, Jackie Weaver, who would ultimately switch to a career in acting.
“Little Miss Mod” as Lynne came to be known, performed on the current TV shows – Bandstand, Sing, Sing, Sing, Saturday Date, Kommotion, and the Go!! Show, and regularly appeared on the thriving Melbourne disco circuit, where she would team brown suede knickerbockers, a Tom Jones frock coat, pink shirt, white stockings, with black buckled shoes. She had overtaken Dinah Lee as the epitome of mod fashion and style, and her look was much imitated. Below Lynne wearing the mod fashions of the 60’s – Prue Acton, Mary Quant and Noeleen King.
Lynne had a minor #41 hit with the Tony Hatch/Petula Clark song Heart in 1966 and followed up several months later with a sparkling cover of the Little Anthony and the Imperials song Going Out of My Head, backed by the Spinning Wheels, which climbed to #34.
Ciao Baby, a typically perky pop song, was Lynne’s next major hit, originally released by the Toys in 1967, it was recorded by Randell in New York, with producer Ted Cooper (Gene Chandler, Paul Jones, Bill Anderson) and famed musical arranger Herb Bernstein (Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan, The Monkees, The Four Seasons). It was one of the early colour music videos by an Australian performer, and featured Lynne in various locales in New York City, it became her first top 10 hit locally in 1967, in competition with another version of the song by UK band the Montanas. Below L-R producer Ted Cooper , and arranger Herb Bernstein.
The co-writers of Ciao Baby – Larry Weiss and Scott English were prolific songwriters – Bend Me Shape Me (American Breed), Help Me Girl (Animals), Hi Ho Silver Lining (Jeff Beck), and individually English wrote Brandy/Mandy (Barry Manlow) and Weiss wrote Rhinestone Cowboy (Glenn Campbell);
It was David Geffen who proposed Ciao Baby to Randell, who liked the song because it reminded her of one of her favorite songs, the Fortunes You ‘ve Got Your Troubles, and she said that it was the only song she recorded that she really liked. Below – Several articles written by Lynn for Go-Set magazine, far right Lynne’s husband Abe Hoch.
In 1967 Lynne toured the US with such acts as the Monkees (she had a fling with fellow Geordie Davy Jones), the Fifth Dimension, Jimi Hendrix, and Ike and Tina Turner, and after marrying Abe Hoch, an Atlantic Records company executive in 1969, she settled Stateside and became the US correspondent for Go-Set magazine. Their son Jamieson was born in 1972, and after Hoch was promoted to head up the London office of Swan Records, the family relocated there in 1976. Lynne was fad-dieting and taking medication to control her weight which resulted in a life-long addiction to methamphetamines and prescription drugs. She divorced Abe Hoch in the late 1970’s and returned to live in Los Angeles around the same time as Rick Springfield relocated there from Australia in the early 80’s. The pair fell into a relationship and Lynne became Springfield’s tour guide through the nightlife, parties, sex and drug scene of Los Angeles, she reveled in the West Coast party vibe, threw spectacular parties, and hosted the stars, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Led Zeppelin, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Cher, Dusty Springfield. She was dubbed the “crazy lady from Australia”, and celebrities became her friends. Below L-R – Lynne and Davy Jones (2), and Lynne and Peter Tork, centre.
But Lynne’s health was failing, she had already survived bouts of glandular fever and peritonitis, and her continuing drug addiction was exacerbating her medical condition. In the late 1980’s she returned to Melbourne and became Ian Meldrum’s personal assistant, occasionally returning to the US to work and live near her only son Jamieson. Below Bandstand live performance poster, Lynne, and Lynne with L-R Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Ochs, David Pearl (Davy Jones manager), Lynne, Davy Jones.
For young female singers like Lynne Randell, the local pop scene in the 1960’s was a male-dominated, sexist, and potentially exploitive workplace, where chart success was virtually non-existent, as the young record-buying fans were girls, who idolized the male pop stars of the day. For every young female singer who went onto international success, like Olivia Newton-John, Helen Reddy, and Diana Trask, there were dozens more like Yvonne Barrett, Denise Drysdale, Bev Harrell, Marcie Jones, Cheryl Gray (later Samantha Sang), the Field Twins, Toni McCann, Pam Oakley, and many more who barely eked out a precarious existence, having minor hits, doing live gigs and the odd TV appearance. But Lynne Randell, the “Mod from Mordialloc”, did taste success, she successfully relocated to the States and toured there, and while resident in Los Angeles held a responsible executive assistant position with Sire Records. She was not a tragic figure despite her drug dependency, and she retained her distinctively larrikin Australian sense of humor, indeed she was the only person who could get away with telling her friend Molly Meldrum he was “an old Queen”. Lynne Randell sadly passed away in 2007 followed only three days after her memorial service, by the death of her only son Jamieson Hoch. Below Lynne’s son Jamieson.