Fanny Adams

Fanny Adams was a hard-rock/blues band comprised of Australian musicians based in London, England. Guitarist Vince Melouney was a founding member of the Aztecs and served in the 1967–68 lineup of the Bee Gees. Vocalist Doug Parkinson fronted the psych-rock band In Focus, which also included Welsh-born drummer Johnny Dick, who did prior stints in the Aztecs and Max Merritt & The Meteors.

As Fanny Adams, they released a self-titled album in 1971 on MCA. Parkinson followed the project with a soul-rock solo album, No Regrets, in 1973 on Polydor. Further solo releases and band activities commenced in the 1980s.

Members: Doug Parkinson (vocals), Vince Melouney (guitar), Teddy Toi (bass), Johnny Dick (drums)


Background

Fanny Adams formed in London in June 1970 when expat Sydney-born guitarist Vince Melouney formed a supergroup with associates from the Australian rock scene.

Melouney (b. August 18, 1945) played in the original Aztecs (1963–65), which scored several hits behind Billy Thorpe but disbanded over a money dispute. After two short-lived stints (Vince & Tony Two, The Fabulous Blue Jays), he headed The Vince Maloney Sect, which served as the house act on the Sixties music show Kommotion. He then went to England and joined the Bee Gees, which functioned as quintet (the Gibb brothers plus Melouney and ex-Steve & The Board drummer Colin Petersen) on the 1967–69 albums Bee Gees’ 1st, Horizontal, Idea, and Odessa.

In 1969, Melouney produced “Maiden Voyage,” the debut single by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, a super-trio formed by Creation and Remo Four alumni. Vince self-performed the single’s b-side, “See the Sun In My Eyes,” a raga-psych number laced with sitar, vibes, and flute. He landed a solo deal with MCA but decided to form a band in the nascent hard-rock mold.

For the new band, Melouney summoned Sydney vocalist Doug Parkinson and two Kiwi musicians: bassist Teddy Toi and drummer Johnny Dick.

Toi and Dick had respective backgrounds in the Fifties New Zealand rock ‘n’ roll bands Sonny Day & the Sundowners and Max Merritt & The Meteors. As Beatlemania took hold in Australia, both musicians settled in Sydney, where Thorpe enlisted them for the second (post-Melouney) Aztecs lineup, which lasted through 1966 and served as the house-band on It’s All Happening!, a Seven Network music–variety program.

Parkinson (b. October 30, 1946) emerged in The Questions, a beat group from Newcastle, New South Wales. They evolved into Doug Parkinson In Focus (with Johnny Dick) and scored a 1968 Top 20 Go-Set hit with The Beatles cover “Dear Prudence.” In 1969, they won the Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds, which afforded them a trip to England, where Toi arrived separately for session work.

Melouney named the band after the subject in the notorious case of Fanny Adams, a Victorian girl who was murdered at age eight by Frederick Baker, a solicitor’s clerk who abducted her from Flood Meadow in August 1867. Banker was tried and hanged on Christmas Eve outside Winchester Prison.


Fanny Adams

Fanny Adams released the self-titled album in June 1971 on MCA (Oceania, Germany). It features six group-written jams in the bluesy hard-rock mold, including the single “Got to Get a Message to You,” which appeared as a single with the non-album “They’re All Losers, Honey.”

In North America, Fanny Adams appeared on Knapp Records with “They’re All Losers” appended as a seventh track, thus evening the lengths of each LP side.

A1. “Ain’t No Loving Left” (6:45)
A2. “Sitting On Top of the Room” (9:48)
A3. “Yesterday Was Today” (4:08)
B1. “Got to Get a Message to You” (4:38) despite its title, this is a Fanny Adams original; not the Gibb brothers composition “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” from the Melouney-involved 1968 Bee Gees album Idea.
B2. “You Don’t Bother Me” (4:40)
B3. “Mid Morning Madness” (5:25)
B4. “They’re All Losers, Honey” (4:23)

Sessions took place in late 1970 in London, where Vince Melouney produced Fanny Adams. In advance of the album’s release, they returned to Australia and performed at the Myponga Pop Festival, a two-day event (Jan. 30–Feb. 1, 1971) with sets by the Aztecs, Chain, Company Caine, Daddy Cool, Fraternity, Jeff St. John, Spectrum, and the English bands Octopus and Black Sabbath.

To coincide with the festival, “Got to Get a Message to You” appeared in edited form (2:51) with a shorter version of the b-side (2:53).


Subsequent Activity

Between their arrival in Australia and the album’s release, Fanny Adams collapsed due to a combination of factors both public (over-expectations, skepticism) and internal (egos, conflicts). Their ultimate blow occurred at Sydney’s Caesar’s Palace, where a fire destroyed their band equipment.

Doug Parkinson assembled a new In Focus and later thrived as a solo singer and TV figure.

Teddy Toi and Johnny Dick played on Plays With George Guitar, the 1971 debut solo album by ex-Purple Hearts guitarist Lobby Lloyd. Toi then joined Duck, an Aussie supergroup that released the 1972 album Laid on Warner Bros. He re-joined the Aztecs for the 1974–75 albums More Arse Than Class and Steaming at the Opera House.

Vince Melouney played with a sequence of bands (Cleves, Levi Smith’s Clefs, the Jeff St John Band) and reunited with Dick in The All-Stars, a backing band for John Paul Young and ex-Easybeats frontman Stevie Wright.


Discography:

  • Fanny Adams (1971)
  • “Got to Get a Message to You” / “They’re All Losers Honey” (1971)

Sources:

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