Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973, with Graeme “Shirley” Strachan becoming lead vocalist in 1974. The lyrics of their songs depicted social life of young Australia in the 1970’s and along with their outrageous costumes, makeup and on-stage activities, shocked the conservative middle class. Songs included Million Dollar Riff, All my friends are getting married, Ego is not a dirty word, You just like me cos I’m good in bed, and Horror Movie. They achieved national success and were especially memorable for me because Shirley Strachan grew up in my hometown. I saw them perform at a local high school gig and also at a blue light disco ( discos run by the local police).
It was a sad day when Shirley Strachan was killed in a helicopter crash in 2001 at the age of 49. He had gone on to become a TV host of a children’s show, Shirl’s Neighbourhood, and later co-hosted a home renovation show. He was an extremely likeable character and many mourned his early demise.
“Macainsh broke down all the barriers… opening the door for Australian rock”n’roll songwriters to write about local places and events. He legitimised Australian songwriting and it meant that Australians became themselves.”
-Billy Pinnell, quoted in Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia.