The Twilights — “Always”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 26, 2022


563) The Twilights — “Always”

This ’68 A-side is utter perfection. Paul Culnane nails it calling the song “a sumptuous ballad, a rich mix of acoustic guitars, trilling flute embellishments, and . . . haunting lead vocal.” ( Australia’s greatest live band of the ’60’s shows its sensitive side!

Richie Unterberger writes that:

One of the better Australian groups of the ’60s, the Twilights were not especially innovative, but played competent, harmony-driven British Invasion-styled rock, strongly recalling both the “beat” and pseudo-psychedelic era Hollies. Relying largely on the original material of guitarist Terry Britten, they recorded over a dozen singles, as well as a couple albums, between 1965 and 1968, chalking up a few large Australian hits.

Paul Culnane goes deep:

The Twilights ranked alongside their contemporaries The Masters Apprentices [see #297] and The Easybeats [see #201] and solo singer Normie Rowe as one of the most successful and popular Australian pop acts of the 1960s . . . . The[y] have earned acclaim and respect for their formidable body of recorded work, coupled with their legendary status as arguably the most polished and accomplished Australian live act of the era. Glenn Shorrock [has said that] . . . my first band, The Twilights, is the band I remember most fondly; we were very close then in a very exciting period of pop.” . . . [They] were seduced by the magic of . . . “A Hard Days’ Night” [and d]rawn together by their British origins[,] . . Glenn Shorrock . . . and his friends Mike Sykes and Clem “Paddy” McCartney . . . formed an a-cappella trio . . . eventually gaining regular bookings around the relatively meagre Adelaide folk/coffee-house circuit. Occasionally . . . the[y] teamed with local instrumental outfits, among them . . . The Hurricans. . . . [T]he prospect of blending it all together [with the Hurricans] would prove irresistible. . . . The Twilights began to cause a stir with their dynamic live shows in Adelaide . . . . [Manager Gary] Spry’s strategy was to establish the group in Australia’s pop capital, Melbourne, so The Twilights moved there in late 1965, and rapidly became established as one of the top acts . . . . It was with their classic fifth single “Needle In A Haystack” [originally by Martha & the Vandellas] that The Twilights achieved national success. . . . The next milestone was a new established national pop competition, The Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. . . . In July 1966, The Twilights took the stage at Festival Hall, Melbourne, before a full house of screaming . . . fans, to win the competition ahead of over 500 other hopefuls. . . . [winning them] . . . a trip to England. . . . [where t]hey made a bee-line for all the essential landmarks of swingin’ London. . . . The last single [A-side “Cathy Come Home”] from the group in 1967 used the sitar as a lead instrument on both sides. . . . The single was another unqualified airplay and chart success, but it was to be the last major hit that the band enjoyed. . . . Concurrent with the release of the[ir ’68] album [Once Upon a Twilight…] came the group’s eleventh single, “Always”. . . . Great single, crap response – the demise was about to set in. . . . Nevertheless, 1968 was certainly the band’s year as a performing entity. Melbourne was “theirs” as they dominated the city’s thriving dance and disco circuit.

Glenn Shorrock later was lead singer of the Little River Band and, as Paul Culnane says, Terry Britten became “songwriter to the stars . . . plac[ing] strong chart hits for Cliff Richard [and] Tina Turner . . . writing ‘Just Good Friends’ with Graham Lyle . . . for Michael Jackson’s mega-selling Bad album. . . . [and] winning a Grammy for his theme to the movie Mad Max 3 – Tina’s ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ ”

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