Sherbet

Sherbet was an Australian rock band from Sydney that released seven studio albums between 1972 and 1978 and scored hits with “Summer Love,” “Life,” “Howzat,” and “Magazine Madonna.”

They made European inroads with the 1976–77 albums Howzat! and Photoplay (aka Magazine) and recorded their 1978 eponymous album (aka Highway 1) in Los Angeles.

Sherbet disbanded in 1979 but reformed in 1980 as Sherbs and released the new wave albums The Skill and Defying Gravity.

Members: Dennis Laughlin (vocals, 1969-70), Clive Shakespeare (guitar, vocals, 1969-76), Sam See (keyboards, 1969-70), Doug Rea (bass, 1969-70), Danny Taylor (drums, 1969), Alan Sandow (drums, 1969-79), Daryl Braithwaite (vocals, 1970-79), Garth Porter (keyboards, 1970-79), Bruce Worrall (bass, 1970-72), Tony Mitchell (bass, 1972-79), Dennis Gunter Gorman (guitar, 1976), Harvey James (guitar, 1976-79)

Background

Sherbet formed in early 1969 at the hands of English-born guitarist–singer Clive Shakespeare (b. June 3, 1947; Southampton), who migrated to Australia in 1964 and played in the Sydney beat groups Road Agents and the Downtown Roll Band.

The initial lineup contained the DRB rhythm section, bassist Doug Rea and drummer Danny Taylor, plus two early members of beatsters Clapham Junction: singer Dennis Laughlin and organist Sam See. Laughlin had a brief stint in the Sebastian Hardie Blues Band, the precursor to Sebastian Hardie.

In March 1970, Sherbet welcomed singer Daryl Braithwaite (b. January 11, 1949), a working class Melbourne native who escaped the machinist trade in the teenage bands Bright Lights, House of Bricks (a Galadriel precursor), and Samael Lilith. Braithwaite shared lead vocals with Laughlin until the latter’s 1971 departure. Meanwhile, Rea cleared for bassist Bruce Worrall, Daryl’s HoB–Lilith bandmate.

Sherbet grew their Sydney fanbase with an eight-month residency at Jonathan’s disco, where they played seven-hour nights, four times per week.


First Four Singles

In late 1970, Sherbet signed to Festival Records and released their first single, “Everything,” an Orlons cover backed with the Badfinger cover “Crimson Ships.” All subsequent releases appeared on Festival’s newly established Infinity imprint.

By October, Sam See departed for The Flying Circus. He did a subsequent two-year stint with Sydney hard-rockers Fraternity, a Clefs offshoot fronted by Bon Scott.

Sherbet hired Kiwi keyboardist–songwriter Garth Porter (b. September 24, 1948; Hamilton, NZ), a pianist since childhood who head-wrote music on walks to school and work. He played with Braithwaite beforehand in Samael Lilith and had a recent stint with Toby Jugg, which covered Amen Corner’s “(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice” for a 1970 du Monde single.

In March 1971, Sherbet released their second single: the Romey Carr cover “Can You Feel It, Baby?” backed with “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own),” a recent US hit for the Jackson 5. It reached For this single and the followup, Sherbet teamed with former Clefs frontman Pat Aulton, a producer of beat-era sides by Cam-Pact, Normie Rowe, Peter Doyle, The Playboys, and The Purple Hearts.

A. “Can You Feel It, Baby” originated as a 1970 Columbia a-side by Scottish singer–actress Romey Carr; written by the team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who also co-wrote “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” a 1964 British Invasion hit for The Fortunes. Cook popularized the song with his band, Blue Mink.
B. “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)”

Bruce Worrall cleared for bassist Tony Mitchell (b. September 5, 1951), a former member of Sydney psych-rockers Wheelbarrow (“Dame Zara,” 1969) and Harry Young And Sabbath.

In October 1971, Sherbet dropped their third single: “Free the People,” a Delaney & Bonnie cover backed with Shakespeare’s “All Our Yesterdays.”

A. “Free the People” first appeared on the September 1970 Atco release To Bonnie from Delaney, the fourth album by Delaney & Bonnie and Friends; written by ex-Kangaroo singer–songwriter Barbara Keith.
B. “All Our Yesterdays”

In June 1972, Sherbet released a cover of Ted Mulry’s “You’re All Woman” backed with Porter’s “Back Home.” The recorded the single with Flying Circus soundman Ross Linton (A) and Festival in-house producer Richard Batchens (Blackfeather, Chain, Cleves, Lobby Loyde, Tymepiece).

A. “You’re All Woman” is a song by English-born Australian singer–bassist Ted Mulry, whose subsequently recorded his own version for his 1973 second album I Won’t Look Back.
B. “Back Home”

Sherbet linked with aspiring manager Roger Davies, a twenty-year-old ex-Company Caine roadie who recently established the Sunrise booking agency with Tasmanian rock entrepreneur Michael Chugg, a onetime Easybeats booking agent.


Time Change – A Natural Progression

Sherbet released their debut album, Time Change – A Natural Progression, in December 1972 on Infinity. It features their three preceding a-sides and their fifth single, “You’ve Got the Gun,” a harmony number by Wurlitzer pianist Garth Porter, guitarist Clive Shakespeare, and singer Daryl Braithwaite.

Porter co-wrote the album’s original material with Braithwaite (“Movie Star”) and Shakespeare (“Midnight Blues,” “Do It”). Bassist Tony Mitchell collaborated with Garth and Clive on “Thinkin’ About You.” Drummer Alan Sandow had input on the group-credited title track. Side B opens with “Love the One You’re With,” a recent hit for Stephen Stills.

A1. “You’ve Got the Gun” (5:03)
A2. “Thinkin’ About You” (4:09)
A3. “Midnight Blues” (2:57)
A4. “Do It” (2:13)
A5. “Time Change” (5:49)

B1. “Love the One You’re With” (4:54)
B2. “Movie Star” (3:06)
B3. “Can You Feel It, Baby?” (3:35)
B4. “Free The People” (2:43)
B5. “You’re All Woman” (2:55)

Sessions for the album originals took place in September 1972 at TCS Studios in Melbourne with Kiwi producer Howard Gable, a soundman on 1971–72 titles by Blackfeather, Carson, Russell Morris, and Gable’s wife, Allison Durbin. TCA engineer John French worked on Time Change in sequence with albums by NZ rockers Ticket and Hungarian-expat jazz-rockers Syrius.

Time Change first appeared in Australia and New Zealand with a vertical gatefold sleeve that presents the name and title with exotic maze-shaped letters. In 1975, infinity reissued the album in a conventional single-sleeve with a green-tinted shirtless group photo in sky blue framework.

“You’ve Got the Gun” appeared weeks ahead as Sherbet’s fifth single and first self-penned a-side (b/w “Do It”).

In June 1973, Sherbet released the non-album single “Hound Dog,” an Elvis Presley cover backed with “Can I Drive You Home,” a Braithwaite–Porter–Shakespeare original.


On With the Show

Sherbet released their second album, On With the Show, in November 1973 on Infinity. It features the hit ballad “Cassandra” and marks Clive Shakespeare’s emergence as their dominant songwriter. The album contains original

Shakespeare lone-wrote three songs (“Summertime Satisfaction,” “Roll Me Over,” “Sweet Valentine”) and partnered with Garth Porter on the remaining originals, including “Cassandra” and the deep-cuts “Jubilee Morning”, “Jungle Jiver,” and “Au Revoir.”

On With the Show consists of originals apart from “Chicago,” a ten-minute version of a recent Graham Nash solo single.

The album features multiple textures from Shakespeare (electric, acoustic, slide) and Porter (organ, piano, Mellotron, harpsichord). Musical guests include alto saxophonist Ken Schroader (“Roll Me Over”) and ABC Showband percussionist Gary Hyde (“Chicago”).

A1. “We Can Make It Right” (4:48)
A2. “Summertime Satisfaction” (2:49)
A3. “Jubilee Morning” (5:44)
A4. “Cassandra” (3:19)
A5. “Roll Me Over” (2:55)

B1. “Chicago” (10:38)
B2. “Jungle Jiver” (4:43)
B3. “Sweet Valentine” (3:23)
B4. “Au Revoir” (2:38)

Sessions took place between July and October at Armstrong Studios in Melbourne with Mississippi engineer Ern Rose and producer Tweed Harris, a beat-era keyboardist (The Clefs, The Groove) who produced the recent solo debuts of Olivia Newton-John and former Manfred Mann drummer Mike Hugg.

“Cassandra” appeared weeks earlier as the seventh Sherbet single, backed with the prior album’s “Time Change.” It reached No. 5 on Australia’s Go-Set chart and No. 9 on the Kent Music Report (soon-to-be the nation’s official chart).

On With the Show peaked at No. 6 during its twelve-week stay on the Go-Set album chart.


Slipstream

Sherbet released their third album, Slipstream, in September 1974 on Infinity.

Slipstream features eleven originals co-written by Garth Porter and Clive Shakespeare, including the pre-released a-sides “So Glad You’re Mine,” “Silvery Moon,” and the title track.

Esteemed deep-cuts include “Endless Place,” “Another Hustler,” and the lucid “Handy Mandy.” Manager Roger Davies has a co-writing credit on “Wild Love.”

Porter plays piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Wurlitzer, and makes select use of harpsichord (“Handy Mandy”), vibraphone (“Endless Place,” “When the Sunshine Turns to Grey”), and the ARP 2600 synthesizer (“Slipstream”).

A1. “Slipstream” (2:53)
A2. “Endless Place” (3:38)
A3. “Wild Love” (3:21) features Mitchell on phased fuzz bass.
A4. “Another Hustler” (3:36)
A5. “What Is It All About?” (2:21) features Clive on Hawaiian slide.
A6. “Freedom” (3:48)

B1. “Silvery Moon” (3:25)
B2. “Handy Mandy” (4:47)
B3. “When the Sunshine Turns to Grey” (4:05)
B4. “Earthquake in My Head” (3:37)
B5. “So Glad You’re Mine” (3:01)

Sessions took place at Festival’s Studio 24 in Sydney, where Sherbet co-produced Slipstream with engineer Richard Batchens, a soundman on recent titles by Johnny O’Keefe, Normie Rowe, Richard Clapton, and Norwegian composer Sven Libaek.

Slipstream appeared in a gray gatefold with “Sherbet” in orange Deco font and photos of the group around a piano (front) and outdoors (inner-gate) in glam-rock attire.

“So Glad You’re Mine” first appeared in January 1974 as an advance single backed with “For Your Love,” a Shakespeare exclusive.

In May, Sherbet dropped “Slipstream” as a second advance single, backed with the prior album’s “Jungle Jiver.” It reached No. 5 on the Kent Music Report and No. 7 on the (soon discontinued) Go-Set chart.

“Silvery Moon” appeared weeks ahead of Slipstream, backed with the earlier “Summertime Satisfaction.” This too reached No. 5 on Kent.

Slipstream reached No. 3 on the Kent album chart.

While Slipstream rode the charts, Daryl Braithwaite dropped a solo single: “You’re My World,” a remake of the Cilla Black ballad backed with “Princess.” Daryl performed it on the first episode of the Australian Broadcast Corp’s new pop series Countdown (aired November 8, 1974). “You’re My World” spent the first three weeks of 1975 at No. 1 on the Kent Music Report.


“Summer Love”

On March 3, 1975, Sherbet released a non-album single: “Summer Love,” an urgent Porter–Shakespeare rocker backed with “I’ll Go Mine,” Tony Mitchell’s first lone-written contribution.

A. “Summer Love” (3:33)
B. “I’ll Go Mine” (3:12)

Sherbet appeared on Countdown to perform the single, which went straight to No. 1 on the Kent Music Report.

Also in March, Sherbet released In Concert, a document of their spring ’74 shows at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Festival Hall. It features medleys of Time Change material and numbers from On With the Show (“Cassandra,” “Jungle Jiver”) and Slipstream (“Another Hustler,” “Freedom”), plus the Free cover “Wishing Well.” Infinity paired “Freedom” and “Wishing Well” onto a double-a-sided single. 

In July, Infinity issued Greatest Hits 1970–75, which gathers the a-sides and select b-sides of the Braithwaite era (including his solo single), starting with “Can You Feel It, Baby?”

Greatest Hits appeared in a gatefold sleeve with Deco lettering and mirror-image graphics. The inner-gates have a massive collage of monochrome portrait shots and live pics. The back cover features liner notes on each song.

On the week of October 6, Greatest Hits reached No. one on the Australian Albums Chart, where it ended the eleven-week reign of Ego Is Not a Dirty Word, the second album by Skyhooks. Sherbet bowed the following week to Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.


Life Is for Living

Sherbet released their fourth studio album, Life Is for Living, in November 1975 on Infinity.

Life Is for Living features nine songs co-written by Clive Shakespeare and Garth Porter, including “Survival,” “I Wanna Live,” “I’ve Been In It Too Long,” and the singles “Life” and “Only One You.” Clive lone-wrote the Side B numbers “Bluesong” and “Where Do We Go?”

This is their last of four studio albums with the first steady lineup of Braithwaite, Mitchell, Porter, Sandow, and Shakespeare.

A1. “Arrival” (1:56)
A2. “Survival” (2:03)
A3. “Life” (3:28)
A4. “I Wanna Live” (4:12)
A5. “Only One You” (3:46)
A6. “Matter of Time” (3:00)

B1. “Just Being You” (3:50)
B2. “Bluesong” (2:46)
B3. “I’ve Been in It Too Long” (2:55)
B4. “Where Do We Go?” (4:15)
B5. “Survival (Reprise)” (4:32)

Sessions occurred in the Australian winter of 1975 at studios in Melbourne (Armstrong), Sydney (Festival), and Annandale (Trafalgar). Porter and Shakespeare co-produced the album with John Sayers, a longtime Brian Cadd soundman with recent credits on titles by Marcia Hines, Pantha, and Jackie Orszaczky. Sayers is one of five producers listed on Life Is for Living along with Ian McKenzie (Jim Keays, Kush), Armstrong’s Graham Owens (Ayers Rock, Madder Lake), and Sherbet’s early soundman Richard Batchens.

“Life” appeared in August as an advance single (b/w “Survival’) and reached No. 4 on the Kent Music Report. In October, “Only One You” and “Matter of Time” appeared on a double-a-sided single, which peaked at No. 5.

Life Is for Living reached No. 3 on the Australian Albums Chart.


Lineup Change

In January 1976, Sherbet founder, guitarist, and chief co-songwriter Clive Shakespeare left the band.

On February 12, Infinity issued Clive’s final single with the band: “Child’s Play,” a Porter–Shakespeare ditty backed with “Just Being You,” which they joint-wrote with Mitchell. It reached No. 4 on the Kent Report.

A. “Child’s Play”
B. “Just Being You”

Shakespeare cut a 1977 Infinity solo single, “I Realize” (b/w “There’s a Way”), and later went into production.

Sherbet continued with guitarist Harvey James (b. September 20, 1952), a prior member of Mississippi (post-album, 1973) and the Spectrum off-shoot Ariel.


Howzat

Sherbet released their fifth studio album, Howzat!, in June 1976 on Infinity.

Howzat marks the songwriting emergence of Tony Mitchell, who co-wrote nine songs with Garth Porter, including “Gimme’ Love,” “Dancer,” and “Howzat,” Sherbet’s breakthrough hit in the Northern Hemisphere.

Alan Sandow helped the Porter–Mitchell team on three Side B numbers: “Blueswalkin’,” “Motor of Love,” and “Can’t Find True Love.” The pair also joint-wrote songs with Daryl Braithwaite (“Lady of the Night”) and new guitarist Harney James (“The Swap”). Porter himself rounds out Side A with two lone-writes: “If I Had My Way” and “Hollywood Dreaming.”

A1. “Howzat” (3:46)
A2. “Lady of the Night” (4:04)
A3. “Gimme’ Love” (4:01)
A4. “If I Had My Way” (4:09)
A5. “Hollywood Dreaming” (4:03)

B1. “Dancer” (3:22)
B2. “Blueswalkin'” (3:56) features Porter on saxophone.
B3. “Motor of Love” (3:24)
B4. “The Swap (You Can Get the Lot)” (4:16)
B5. “Can’t Find True Love” (2:57)
B6. “I’ll Be Coming Home” (2:15) features Mitchell on ukulele and vocals by all five members.

Sessions took place between March and May 1976 at EMI Studios, Sydney, where Sherbet co-produced Howzat! with English-born soundman Richard Lush, a late-period Beatles associate who moved to Australia, where he produced recent albums by Sebastian Hardie and Shona Laing. The orchestral arranger, US-born William Motzing, also conducted strings on the 1975 Infinity release Million Dollar Bill by Billy Thorpe.

“Howzat” preceded its parent album as a May single (b/w “Motor of Love”). On the week of July 11, 1976, “Howzat” became Sherbet’s second No. 1 on the Kent Music Report, where it ended the fourteen-week reign of “Fernando” by ABBA. Sherbet held the summit for four weeks and bowed down to “S-S-S-Single Bed” by Fox.> “Howzat” also reached No. 1 in New Zealand and South Africa and went Top 10 in the UK (No. 4), Netherlands (No. 6), and Norway (No. 8).

“Hollywood Dreaming” and “Gimme Love” followed as a mid-winter double a-sided single. In the UK, US, and Europe, MCA–Epic issued “If I Had My Way” as a single (b/w “Lady of the Night”).

Howzat! reached No. 1 on the Kent Music Report. 


“You’ve Got The Gun”

In October 1976, Sherbet released a new version of “You’ve Got the Gun” as a double a-side with “Rock Me Gently,” a laidback rocker joint-credited to the entire band and Ronnie Peel, a veteran bassist of NZ bands (The Pleazers, The La De Da’s) who recently signed with Infinity as a solo artist under the name Rockwell T. James.

A. “You’ve Got The Gun (1976 Version)”
B. “Rock Me Gently”

This version of “You’ve Got The Gun” reached No. 6 in Australia (twenty-three spots higher than its 1972 predecessor). Both sides appear as new tracks on the November 1976 Infinity release The Sherbet Collection, their second compilation in two years. Collection also contains the unearthed rarities “Old Sid,” and “Cavalry.”


Photoplay [aka Magazine]

Sherbet released their sixth studio album, Photoplay, in June 1977 on Razzle (Oceania) and Epic (Europe).

Tony Mitchell dominates Photoplay with four lone-written songs: “What Do You Do,” “Love Is Fine,” and the two singles, “High Rollin'” and the mega-hit “Magazine Madonna.”

Mitchell co-wrote “I Got Love” with Alan Sandow and two songs (“Let Me Flow,” “It’s a Game”) with Garth Porter. Harvey James helped the Mitchell–Porter team on “Midsummer Madness” and “The Way I Am.”

Daryl Braithwaite entered the ballad “Still in Love With You,” his first solo contribution.

A1. “High Rollin'” (3:42)
A2. “Magazine Madonna” (4:07)
A3. “Midsummer Madness” (3:26)
A4. “What Do You Do” (3:35)
A5. “I Got Love” (3:46)

B1. “Still in Love With You” (3:42)
B2. “Love Is Fine” (4:10)
B3. “Let Me Flow” (4:35)
B4. “The Way I Am” (2:39)
B5. “It’s a Game” (3:35)

Photoplay is their second consecutive album recorded at Sydney’s EMI Studios with Richard Lush, who also worked on 1977 albums by the Ted Mulry Gang and U-Turn. Arranger William Motzing also returns after orchestrating Sunshine, the breakthrough third album by Kiwi rockers Dragon.

The album appeared in a gatefold sleeve that shows a lady’s hands around a magazine named Photoplay with a woman on the cover (the “Magazine Madonna”) pictured with another issue of Photoplay with Sherbet on the cover. Razzle copies contain a twelve-page booklet with lyrics and stylized photographs of the model and each band member by Graeme Webber, a renown Australian rock photographer who also took the inner-gate shots in Mental Notes, the 1975 debut album by Split Enz.

“Magazine Madonna” appeared in May as the first single (b/w “Still In Love With You”). It reached No. 2 on the Kent Music Report.

In August, Sherbet lifted “High Rollin'” became the second single (b/w “Midsummer Madness”). The song appears thematically in High Rolling (aka High Rolling in a Hot Corvette), a 1977 Australian buddy comedy co-starring Judy Davis.

Photoplay reached No. 4 on the Australian Albums Chart.

In October 1977, MCA re-titled the album Magazine for the North American market. This version replaces “What Do You Do,” “Let Me Flow,” and “It’s a Game” with the earlier non-album Festival sides “Summer Love,” “Rock Me Gently,” and the 1976 remake of “You’ve Got the Gun.”


Caught in the Act…Live (1977)


Sherbet [aka Highway 1]

Sherbet released their self-titled seventh studio album in August 1978 on Sherbet Record Productions. They recorded the album in the US, where it appeared on RSO as Highway 1 under the group name Highway.

Sherbet features ten originals; most joint-written by Garth Porter with three or more participants, including Tony Mitchell and Alan Sandow (“Take My Heart,” “Cheatin’ Eyes”) and Harvey James, a contributor to “Skyline,” “Winnipeg Sidestep,” “Don’t Wait Too Long,” and “Beg, Steal or Borrow.”

The album also has writing input by LA sessionist Tom Seufert and Flash and the Pan keyboardist Warren Morgan. Seufert (ex-La Seine) co-wrote “You Made a Fool” and contributed to the Porter–Mitchell number “(If I) Breakdown.” Morgan (ex-Aztecs, Coloured Balls) co-wrote the opener, “(Feels Like It’s) Slippin’ Away.” Manager Roger Davies and associate Jon Wood have partial credit on the Porter–Mitchell “Another Night on the Road.”

Musical guests include keyboardists David Foster (“Breakdown”) and synthesist–string arranger Bill Cuomo. Percussionist Steve Forman plays on “You Made a Fool” (with Wrecking Crew saxophonist Bill Horn) and “Skyline” (with Horn and ex-Morning guitarist–sitarist Jay Lewis).

A1. “(Feels Like It’s) Slippin’ Away” (3:29)
A2. “Skyline” (3:58)
A3. “Another Night on the Road” (3:59)
A4. “Don’t Wait Too Long” (3:36)
A5. “Winnipeg Sidestep” (3:38)

B1. “Take My Heart” (3:28)
B2. “Cheatin’ Eyes” (4:09)
B3. “You Made a Fool” (3:46)
B4. “(If I) Breakdown” (4:09)
B5. “Beg, Steal or Borrow” (3:55)

Jay Lewis produced Sherbet amid a busy late-Seventies schedule that included albums by Gary Wright (The Light of Smiles), Gary’s sister Lorna Wright, David Foster’s Attitudes, and Kiwi rockers Citizen Band (a Split Enz offshoot).

Sherbet appeared in a gatefold sleeve with a boomerang logo. The front shows each member in a separate black sedan on a triple-deck freeway. On the back cover (and the front cover of Highway 1), they group outside their parked vehicles and head for the camera (). The inner-gate has a sunlit photo-spread of the band posed in leisurely attire (Daryl bearded) on a grassy roadside. The inner-sleeve shows them at a distance on a parking lot under a night sky (used on the back cover of Highway 1).

“(Feels Like It’s) Slipping Away” preceded Sherbet as a February 1978 advance single, backed with the non-album “Safe Water,”

“Another Night on the Road” appeared in July (b/w “Winnipeg Sidestep”) and reached No. 10 on the Kent Music Report.

In October, Razzle lifted “Beg Steal or Borrow” as a double-a-side with “You Made a Fool.”

Sherbet reached No. 6 on the Kent Music Report.


Discography:

  • Time Change – A Natural Progression (1972)
  • On With the Show (1973)
  • Slipstream (1974)
  • Life Is for Living (1975)
  • In Concert (1975)
  • Howzat (1976)
  • Photoplay [aka Magazine] (1977)
  • Caught in the Act…Live (1977)
  • Sherbet (1978)

Sources:

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