Martin Erdman started his music career in the mid '50s when he helped his parents set up a retail record and radio store in Sydney's Rose Bay. He built his first recording studio at the back of the shop, using a home-built kit tape recorder and a couple of microphones. It became a popular spot for local bands and songwriters to make demo tapes, which Martin could transferred to lacquer discs which could be played on any 3 speed record player. (Cassette recorders had not yet been invented!) Martin's first commercial recording came from Rose Bay in the early '60s -- four songs by Nev Nicholls' Country Playboys on an 'extended play' 7-inch 45 rpm record, which was released by RCA Records on Martin's own World of Sound label.

In 1963, Martin opened his own record shop at Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate, also naming it World of Sound. He later rebuilt his studio adjoining the store. By this time his equipment had grown to a stereo two track valve Revox and another couple of microphones, and he developed a thriving trade in recording and producing demo tapes for Sydney bands and songwriters like aspiring DJ and sometime pop singer Donnie Sutherland.

By 1969 the World of Sound Record Shop waswell established, and Martin began devoting more time to his recording studio. He set up the Du Monde record label, which became one of the top local labels. Looking for artists to record on his new label and now armed with a 4 track valve recorder, two Revox machines, more mics plus a proper mixing desk, Martin recorded demo tapes for over a hundred and fifty bands via a promotion with Sydney radio station 2UW, the 'New-UW New Sounds of 69.' The best of these tapes were played every Friday afternoon on 2UW by Ward 'Pally' Austin and culminated a year later in an all day concert at Sydney Showground.

Early releases on the Du Monde label were by rising Sydney bands and singers including Flake, King Fox, The Clik (featuring future Sebastian Hardie guitarist Mario Millo), McPhee, Samael Lillith, Clapham Junction, The '69ers, Elm Tree, Harry Young & Sabbath and Galadriel and many, many more. Like his Perth contemporary Martin Clarke, Erdman actively promoted local talent and encouraged groups to recording original songs; World of Sound with great singles -- King Fox 'Unforgotten Dreams', Harry Young & Sabbath's 'The Wheat in the Field' and McPhee's "Sunday Shuffle" -- and several of the most sought-after Australian progressive LPs of the period including Galadriel, Flake, McPhee.

After 10 years in retail at Ramsgate, Martin sold the shop and most of his recording equipment (keeping the names World of Sound & Du Monde Records) and in 1973 took up a position as a staff producer with Festival Records. During his time with Festival, Martin worked with a wide variety of local talent and produced dozens of notable singles and albums. 

His peak career achievement was producing Australia's first ever million-selling single, which went gold in the USA and Australia -- the rock version of "The Lord's Prayer" by Adelaide's Sister Janet Mead. Martin also recorded Peter Allen's original version of '"I Still Call Australia Home" and oversaw the recording of many live albums at the Sydney Opera House, including the Rolf Harris concert in September 1973, which was the first variety concert held in the new Concert Hall.

Martin, with co-writer & director Stewart Smith, produced the children's theatrical event The Adventures of Iskybibble which premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 1975. Martin produced the Gold Award album by John Waters and Jackie Weaver of songs from the show "They're Playing Our Song", and the 1982 Australian Cast record album of The Rocky Horror Show. He won a Golden Guitar with Queensland band Buckskin at the Tamworth Country Music Awards in 1980 by producing their original instrumental "Panning For Gold", and has many other awards to his credit.

Despite health problems in recent years, Martin has bounced back and continues to produce and promote Australian talent. He has set up the Oz Songs website to promote both his earlier productions and new recordings. In 2002 he released a four-CD retrospective of recordings from the Du Monde years, and in 2007 he released the long-lost 1970 LP recorded by Sydney band King Fox.

References / Links

Oz Songs official website

Martin Erdman
Liner notes to The Du Monde Years

Ian McFarlane

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

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