Melbourne, 1965-1972

Andy Agtoft (vocals) 1967-69
Mark Demajo (bass)
Sam Dunnin (guitar)
Chris Easterby (drums)
George Kurtiss (keyboards) 1967 - May 1968
John Taylor (keyboards) 1968-69
Barry Smith (vocals) 1968-69

Popular Melbourne band The Town Criers formed around 1965. Their first single, a cover of The Kinks' "The World Keeps Going Round", was released on the Melbourne independent label Trend but didn't make any impression on the local charts. The B-side, a great 'garage-punk' number called "Big Deal", was included on the bootleg Oz '60s compilation CD It's A Kave-In, which also features another Criers rarity from this period, a version of the blues standard "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut".

The Criers gigged consistently around Melbourne over the next two years, and in late 1967 they were signed to the Astor label by A&R manager Ron Tudor. Their second single, released in February 1968 and nominally produced by Geoffrey Edelsten, was a strong version of "Everlasting Love", the much-covered hit originally recorded by American singer Robert Knight in 1967 and also released in 1968 in the UK by The Love Affair. The song was penned by pop songwriters Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, who also wrote "Hayride" and "La La" (both hits for The Flying Circus) and "Groupie" (covered by The New Dream). It was an immediate success and became a big hit in Melbourne, reaching #2 and also charted in Sydney (#16) and Adelaide (#33) in April-May 1968, and this success proplelled it into thethe Go-Set Top 20; it peaked at #18 and consistently out-charted the Love Affair version. The song has been covered many times since then, including a 1990s version by U2.

George Kurtiss left the band in May 1968 and was replaced by John Taylor (ex Strings Unlimited). Their second Astor single, "Unexpectedly" / "It's Hurting Badly" was released in September, but failed to chart. Astor also compiled the two Town Criers singles for an EP, Everlasting Love, released during 1968.

During the latter half of 1968 the Town Criers travelled to South East Asia where they entertained Australian and American troops stationed in Vietnam. This was followed by a trip to the USA, where they appeared on the Bob Hope Christmas Special. In early 1969 founding vocalist Andy Agtoft and John Taylor both left the group. Agtoft was replaced by singer Barry Smith from Adelaide; this raised the band's profile in Adelaide, but it may also have led some fans to think that the band itself was from Adelaide. It's also possible there was some confusion with The London Criers, a well-known late-60s Adelaide show band. Taylor subsequently joined the Sydney band Daisy Clover, who released two singles on Festival.

Now a four-piece, The Town Criers signed with Festival and released three more singles over the next year, "Any Old Time" / "Rene" (March 1969), "Love Me Again" / "Hey Girl" (Oct. 1969) and  "Living In A World Of Love" / "Roundabout" (May 1970), which just missed out on the Top 40. The next single "Love Me Again" (Oct. 1969) managed to get into the lower end of the Melbourne Top 40 (#35). In October 1970 the group moved to EMI's HMV label, for whom they recorded their last two singles.  "Laughing Man" / "Living In A Dream World" was issued in May 1971 and  "Love, Love, Love" / "Chorus Girl" came out in November, but neither release made any impression on the charts and the group had split up by the end of 1971.

In the late 1970s Andy Agtoft joined Scandinavian band Soames Electric, singing with them and writing English lyrics for their songs. After he left that group he joined another Scandinavian band, Churchill, before returning to Australia. Andy and Barry Smith have collaborated on a history of The Town Criers called Everlasting Pop, published by Chris Spencer's Moonlight Publications.


Notes:' "Living In A World Of Love" was included on the 1971 Various Artists compilation Super Sounds Of Happening '71, along with "Love Me Again", which also appeared on both 20 Golden Greats Of The 60s and Sound Of The 70s. Their version of "Everlasting Love" can also be found on Australian Rock Heritage, Kicks, Oz Rock Classics and Sixties Down Under, Vol. 1 (which is available on vinyl and CD). "Big Deal" from an early 45 on Trend, and "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" were both included on the bootleg compilation CD It's A Kave In!.


1965 (Trend TT-101)
"The world keeps going round" (R.D. Davies) / "Big Deal"

Feb. 1968 (Astor A-7095)
"Everlasting Love" (Cason-Gayden) / "I Can't Help Myself" 
#18 Go-Set, #16 Sydney #2 Melbourne #33 Adelaide

Sep. 1968 (Astor A-7115)
"Unexpectedly" / "It's Hurting Badly" 

Mar. 1969 (Festival FK-2857)
"Any Old Time" / "Rene" (Marriott-Lane)
Oct. 1969 (Festival FK-3217)
"Love Me Again" / "Hey Girl" 
Melbourne #35

May 1970 (Festival FK-3561)
"Living In A World Of Love" / "Roundabout" 
May 1971 (HMV EA-9527)
"Laughing Man" / "Living In A Dream World" 

November 1971 (HMV EA-9720)
"Love, Love, Love" / "Chorus Girl" 


Everlasting Love (Astor AEP-4057)

Hey Girl (Festival FX-11655)

References / Links

Ian McFarlane
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)

Noel McGrath
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock (Outback Press, 1978)

Vernon Joyson
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1999)

"Everlasting Love" - mimed performance on Uptight, 1969

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The Town Criers