From its birth in clubs and pubs to its first international steps, Australian music was really coming of age. Against this backdrop of increased confidence and global aspiration came GANGgajang. Formed when The Riptides singer Mark ‘Cal’ Callaghan joined with The Angels rhythm section of Chris Bailey and Graham ‘Buzz’ Bidstrup, The Aliens’ Geoff Stapleton, percussionist and backing singer Kayellen Bee and guitarist Robbie James. The name reflected a new attitude: music was all about ‘the song’; that any good song could be played solely on an acoustic guitar (‘gajang’: the sound of a guitar being strummed) and that they were a GANG (‘an informal body of friends’ – to quote the dictionary), rather than a capital ‘B’ Band.
So named, GANGgajang released their self-titled debut album in 1985, with the singles, Gimme Some Lovin’, Giver of Life and House of Cards quickly climbing the charts to become part of the music revolution reinventing the Australian sound: a sound based on our stories; our places. To The North, Ambulance Men and the perennial Sounds Of Then (This Is Australia) all echoed this new ethos, this new sense of place. GANGgajang is now regarded as one of the all-time classic Australian albums, while Sounds Of Then has reached near mythical status and continues to connect with new generations of Australian music fans to this day.
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