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Stevie Wright

24 March 2016

Stevie Wright, 1975 (printed 2011) by Gary Ede
Stevie Wright, 1975 (printed 2011) by Gary Ede

Stevie Wright (1947-2015), singer-songwriter, came to Australia from England at the age of nine. He sang with a couple of small bands before joining The Easybeats as lead singer in 1964, when he was just sixteen, after meeting the other band members at Villawood Migrant Hostel. With guitarist George Young ‘Little Stevie’ wrote several of the band’s early hits, including 'She’s so fine’ and ‘Women (make you feel all right)’. However, it was the songwriting team of Young and fellow guitarist Harry Vanda that made The Easybeats into one of Australia’s top 1960s rock bands, sparking hysteria at home, supporting the Rolling Stones in Europe and achieving international chart success, with ‘Friday on my Mind’ voted Best Australian Song of All Time in 2001. When The Easybeats split in 1969, Wright drifted around before spending two years performing in Jesus Christ Superstar. His annus mirabilis was 1974, when he released his first solo album Hard Road, containing the Vanda and Young song for which he is best known, the eleven-minute three-part ‘Evie’. A tour and a second solo album followed; Wright ended the year with three concerts at the Opera House. By 1975, however, he had disappeared from public life, drastically diminished by drug addiction and ‘treatment’ for it at the dreadful Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney. Although various attempts were made to get him back on stage during the 1980s, and he issued a new album in 1991, he stayed out of the limelight until the Long Way to the Top series and live tours of the same name in 2001-03.

Stevie Wright, 2003, printed 2005 by Gregory McBean

A cover of ‘Evie’ by The Wrights, a band formed for the purpose by members of Jet, Powderfinger, Spiderbait and other leading contemporary Australian bands, was released in February 2005. Wright lasted another decade before dying in hospital in Moruya on the south coast of New South Wales, where he had lived for some years.

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