Ross D. Wylie: Pop Star and Uptight Presenter

Ross D. Wyllie (born 21 November 1944) is an Australian pop music singer, television presenter and producer from the 1960s and 1970s. Wyllie had a top 20 hit with his cover of Ray Stevens‘ song “Funny Man” and an Australian No. 1 with “The Star”, both in 1969. Originally from Brisbane, he hosted, Uptight, a weekly four-hour music series, on Channel 0 in Melbourne from 1967 to 1969. In 1970 he followed with a similar show, Happening ’70, and from 1978 to 1980, he presented films on a late-night time slot.

Biography

Ross D. Wyllie was born in Ashgrove, Queensland on 21 November 1944,[1][2] to Harold John Wyllie (1913–), an army sergeant serving during world war 2, and Jean nee Jennings (c. 1920–2002).[3][4] He was raised in Brisbane with two siblings.[3][5] As a child he contracted poliomyelitis and for most of his adult life he had a limp.[1] In 1964 he joined a pop band, the Kodiaks, as lead singer.[6] By 1967, as a solo artist, he signed with the Ivan Dayman‘s label, Sunshine Records, and released his debut single, “Short Skirts”.[7] He was backed by label-mates, the Escorts.[6] His next single, “A Bit of Love”, followed later that year,[7] using only studio musicians.

Wyllie relocated to Melbourne and, on 28 October 1967, became the host of a new pop music TV show, Uptight, for local Channel 0.[6] He signed with Festival Records and released a non-charting single, “Smile”, in April 1968.[6] Uptight ran as a Saturday morning three-hour show until 1969.[6][8] By that time it was being produced by Bob Fraser and the presenter’s wife, Eileen Wyllie, for Jardine Productions.[9][10][11] Molly Meldrum was a regular member of the on-air team. Uptight – Party Time, by Ross D. Wyllie and the Uptight Party Team, was issued via Calendar/Festival Records in 1968.[10][12] The record was produced by Roger Savage.[10] It contains two side-long medleys of then-current songs including, “Midnight Hour”, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Day Tripper”.[13]

Wyllie had a No. 17 hit on Go-Set‘s National Top 40 in July 1969, with his cover of Ray Stevens‘ song, “Funny Man”.[14][15] His National No. 1 hit, “The Star”, followed in November.[16]“The Star”, written by Johnny Young, was later covered by United Kingdom act Herman’s Hermits as “Here Comes the Star”.[8][17]

In 1970 Uptight was replaced on Channel 0 by a one-hour pop music series, Happening ’70, with Wyllie retained as host and Eileen as producer.[9] In April he released a double-A-sided single, “Free Born Man” / “My Little Girl”, but its sales were affected by the radio ban, during which commercial stations refused to play recordings by Festival Records (among others) from May to October.[18] The singer, presenter left Melbourne to return to Brisbane late in 1970 and was replaced on Happening ’71, in April 1971, by Jeff Phillips.[6][19]

In 1971 Wyllie signed with the Fable label and released a single, “He Gives Us All His Love”, in April. He followed with “It Takes Time” in August and “Sweet White Dove” in May 1972. He then turned to the pub and club circuit. Later he formed a production company with fellow pop singer, Ronnie Burns, and talent manager, Jeff Joseph. With Tony Healy he created a public relations company. In the late 1970s he presented a late-night movie show on Melbourne’s Channel 0–10.[6] During the mid-1970s Wyllie opened and operated a record retail store in Bayswater, Arch Rivals.

In May 1988 Festival Records released, Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten, a compilation album of Wyllie’s singles, as a part of their Festival File series.[10][20] In a review of the collection for The Canberra Times, Stuart Coupe observed, “Star of Uptight, Wyllie’s run of hits ended in the early ’70s. This is probably the least interesting of the albums in this series, but at worst is a curio item.”[20] In August 2003 Wyllie performed an Uptight-themed variety show at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, reuniting with other 1960s performers.[21]

Aztec Records released another compilation, Ross D. Wyllie: the Complete Collection, in August 2014.[22][23][24] Paul Cashmere of Noise11 described it as “the first definitive career overview of 60s pop star.”[23] Toorak Times‘ Gary Turner observed, “[it features] all the classic hits including ‘Funny Man’, ‘The Star’, ‘My Little Girl’, ‘Smile’, ‘Uptight Party Medley’, ‘Short Skirts’ and many more tracks including tracks live from Festival Hall Melbourne in 1994.”[24] Wyllie and Eileen were still living in Melbourne as from September 2014.[24] During November 2016 Wyllie used a crowd funding site to attempt to raise money for a motorised wheelchair.[1]

Discography

Compilation albums

TitleDetailsUptight – Party Time(by Ross D. Wyllie and the Uptight Party Team)

  • Released: 1969
  • Label: Calendar / Festival Records (R66-522)

Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten

  • Released: May 1988
  • Label: Festival Records (L-19010)

Ross D. Wyllie: The Complete Collection[22]

  • Released: 14 August 2014
  • Label: Aztec Records (AVSCD071)

EPs

Title Details Funny Man

  • Released: 1969
  • Label: Festival Records (FX11618)

Singles

List of singles, with Australianchart positions

Year

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

Title

Short Skirts

A Bit Of Love

Smile

Funny Man (No.17 on charts)

The Star (No.1 on charts)

My Little Girl (No.65 on charts)

He Gives Us All His Love (No.42 on charts)

It Takes Time (No78 on charts)

Sweet White Dove (No.99 on charts)

Reference

General

Specific

  1. ^ a b c Knox, David (30 November 2016). “GoFundMe Page for 60s Pop Star Ross D. Wyllie”. TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2018. Ross contracted polio at an early age and now at age 72 is in need of a customised, motorised wheelchair and a scooter to get around.
  2. ^ “‘Childs Dream’ at APRA search engine”. Australasian Performing Right Association(APRA). Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b “Family Notices”. The Sunday Mail (762). Brisbane, Qld. 26 November 1944. p. 8. Retrieved 25 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ “Wyllie, Harold John Marshall”. World War Two Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. 2002. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  5. ^ “Family Notices”. The Telegraph. City Final Last Minute News. Brisbane, Qld. 14 July 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 25 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g McFarlane (1999). Encyclopedia entry for “Ross D. Wyllie”. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 11 June2016.. Retrieved 20 November 2010. Note: McFarlane gives birth year as 1948.
  7. ^ a b Kimball, Duncan (2002). “Record Labels – Sunshine Records”. Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  8. ^ a b “The Star”. Where Did They Get That Song?. PopArchives (Lyn Nuttall). Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  9. ^ a b Nelson, Stuart (2013), Stammer your way to success: From a suburban orphanage to an international career, Xlibris, pp. 56–8, ISBN 978-1-4836-0207-3
  10. ^ a b c d Uptight. Australian Television Memorabilia Guide. Nodette Enterprises Pty Ltd. 2009. Archived from the original on 20 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  11. ^ Nichols, David (2016), Dig: Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85, Portland, OR: Verse Chorus Press, p. 202, ISBN 978-1-891241-61-1
  12. ^ Kimball, Duncan (2002). “Record Labels – Calendar Records”. Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 15 March 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ Wyllie, Ross D; Uptight Party Team (1960), Uptight Party Time, Calendar, retrieved 11 November 2017
  14. ^ a b Nimmervoll, Ed (19 July 1969). Go-SetNational Top 40 with Ed Nimmervoll”. Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 20 November2010.
  15. ^ “Funny Man”. Where Did They Get That Song?. PopArchives (Lyn Nuttall). Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  16. ^ a b Nimmervoll, Ed (15 November 1969). Go-Set National Top 40 with Ed Nimmervoll”. Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  17. ^ Nichols, David (2006). “‘Does the meaning mean a thing?’ Johnny Young’s Hit Songs of the 60s–70s – DRO”. ACH: The Journal of the History of Culture in Australia. Routledge. 24: 163–84. hdl:10536/DRO/DU:30003708. ISBN 1-92084-525-9. ISSN 0728-8433.
  18. ^ Kent, David Martin (September 2002). “Appendix 6: The Record Ban” (PDF). The place of Go-Set in rock and pop music culture in Australia, 1966 to 1974 (MA). Canberra, ACT: University of Canberra. pp. 265–269. Archived from the original (Portable Document Format (PDF)) on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2017. Note: This PDF is 282 pages.
  19. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). “Encyclopedia entry for ‘Jeff Phillips'”. Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 20 April 2004. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  20. ^ a b Coupe, Stuart (29 May 1988). “Music: New Release a Festival of Australian Memories”. The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995). National Library of Australia. p. 18. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  21. ^ Cashmere, Paul. (28 July 2003), “Melbourne Gets Uptight”. Archived from the original on 15 December 2003. Retrieved 28 June 2007.. Undercover Music News(Undercover Media). Retrieved on 20 November 2010.
  22. ^ a b Wyllie, Ross D (2014), Ross D. Wyllie: the Complete Collection, Collingwood, Vic: Aztec Records, retrieved 11 November 2017
  23. ^ a b Cashmere, Paul (1 September 2014). “Ross D Wyllie Complete Collection Released”. Noise11. Paul Cashmere, Ros O’Gorman. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  24. ^ a b c Turner, Gary (18 September 2014). Ross D. Wylie The Complete Collectionremastered”. Toorak Times. Retrieved 20 January 2018. Note: Last name is incorrectly given as “Wylie”, although corrected in first sentence.
  25. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Austr
  26. alian Chart Book. p. 344. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ “Who’s who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry”. catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 8 November 2

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