Australian-owned independent label


Buddy England ...

unknown (Tempo?)


The Melbourne-based Air label fared remarkably well despite its short life, scoring four charting records -- including three Top 40 placings -- out of only eight known single releases during 1970-71. The main figure behind the label was Go!! Show veteran and latter-day Seeker Buddy England, who set it up, produced all the singles and also wrote several of the songs --  "Every Time You Touch Me" for Tony Pantano, "I Can't Let Go Of Your Love" for The Vibrants and "Sunday Child" which Buddy recorded himself on the label's debut single.

The success of the label can be attributed in part to the window of opportunity that opened when Australian record companies imposed the 1970 Radio Ban, which lasted from May to November that year. The Radio Ban was the climax of a simmering dispute between the commercial radio sector and major record labels, who wanted to impose a new "pay for play" royalty on commercial radio stations. When talks broke down in May 1970 this group of labels -- Festival, EMI CBS, Warner and Polygram -- imposed a ban on the supply of free records to commercial radio stations, so radio responded by boycotting records from the labels involved and refusing to list their products on their Top 40 charts. With competition from the (mainly British and Australian) labels thus drastically reduced, and radio stations clamouring for new material, smaller Australian companies like Fable, Sparmac and Air were able to step into the breach, and for a brief period they achieved significant chart and sales success.

As well as writing songs under his own name and pseudonyms like Richard Jeremy and Temple Douglas, Buddy was behind the studio groups that released singles on Air -- Love Story and Tadpole. Tadpole was Buddy and Ian "Turps" Turpie, Love Story was an all-star trio comprising Buddy and Turps on guitars and vocals, with and Richard Wright (ex The Groop) on drums. As Love Story recorded a cover of "Neanderthal Man", a song written and recorded by Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and Eric Stewart, three quarters of what soon became 10CC. Released under the name Hotlegs, it was a huge success for them, reaching #2 in mid-1970, it also charted in several other countries (including Australia) and sold more than two million copies. Love Story's version co-charted with Hotlegs locally, peaking at #15 on the Go-Set Top 60 and charting for 12 weeks. The Love Story single is now a something of a collector's item, and a copy was recently listed for sale on the Ashwood's website at AU$30.

Air's best-known act was Melbourne band The Vibrants, who are probably best remembered for their terrific 1967 cover of The Four Tops' "Something About You, Baby". They released two singles on Air, although only the first charted, peaking at #55; lead singer Mick Hamilton also released a solo single, but this also didn't chart.

Buddy England relates that the Air label folded during 1971 in unfortunate circumstances:

" ... the accountant ran off with the loot and all the paperwork during a long weekend. The powers that be caught up with him some time later, but by that time it was all over bar the paying back of debts ... quite an enlightening experience really!"

"I then took over as lead for the Mixtures and was with them for a couple of years until Idris Jones returned from a long illness. Then I searched for a girl to take Judith Durham's role for the Seekers, scored and helped produce the first album, which was completed in England. Bruce Woodley left the group again a year or so later and I took his place and remained with them for around five or six years recording and touring here in Australia and internationally..including a couple of command performances. There were a couple of different girls with the group during that period."

"I then went back to my solo work around 1982 and pottered about writing and recording and so on. I am still doing it and am in the middle of recording a trio of CDs ... standards and some Eightes material ... one big band, one a kind of Funky Jazz, and the third a piano, trio, quartet and quintet mix ... they are coming along nicely and we will see what happens when I finish them ... if all else fails I will carry on my breeding and racing thoroughbreds ... can't seem to get away from shonky industries ... I suppose that's life!"


Cat.# Date Artist Title
AA-0001 1970 Buddy England "Josephine" / "Sunday Child" (England)
Produced by Buddy England
AA-0002 1970 The Vibrants "I Can't Let Go Of Your Love" (England) / "Looking For Someone"
Produced by Buddy England (Go-Set #41, 13 wks)
AA-0003 Sep. 1970 Love Story
"Neanderthal Man" (Gouldman-Stewart) / "But Not For Me"
Produced by Buddy England (Aust. #21, 12 wks)
AA-0005 1970 Tadpole "Throw a Little Love My Way" / "Tweedly Dum, Tweedly Dee"
Produced by Buddy England (Aust. #37, 12 wks)
AA-0004 1970 Mick Hamilton "Express Train To Hell" / "The Way I Love You"
Produced by Buddy England
AA-0006 1971 The Vibrants "Give Me Just A Little More Time" / "Gonna Be A Man Again"
Produced by Buddy England
AA-0007 1971 The Tangerine Balloon "If You Wait" /"It Rained in New York City"
Produced by Buddy England
AA-0008 1971 Tony Pantano "Every Time You Touch Me" (England) / "Quando Non Ci Sono Mi Cerchi"
Produced by Buddy England (Aust. #34, 14 wks)

References / Links

Thanks to Buddy England, Mick Robbins and Chris Spencer for information and images

Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara and Paul McHenry
Who's Who of Australian Rock (Five Mile Press, 2002)