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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Stevie Wright, 2003 (printed 2005)

Gregory McBean

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 45.7 cm x 55.9 cm, image: 40.6 cm x 50.8 cm)

Stevie Wright (1947-2015), singer songwriter, joined The Easybeats as lead singer in 1964, aged just 16. With guitarist George Young, ‘Little Stevie’ wrote several of the band’s early hits. They became one of Australia’s top rock acts, supporting the Rolling Stones in Europe and hitting international charts with ‘Friday on my Mind’, voted Best Australian Song of All Time in 2001. After they split in 1969, Wright spent two years in Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1974 he released two solo albums, the first containing the 11-minute hit ‘Evie’, and ended the triumphant year with concerts at the Opera House. By 1975, however, he had vanished. Although friends tried to get him back on stage during the 1980s, and he made an album in 1991, he laid low until the Long Way to the Top TV series and live tours in 2001-2003. A cover of ‘Evie’ by The Wrights, comprising members of leading Australian bands, was released in 2005. Profits went to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and Wright - now a teetotaller, drug-free and an inductee into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Gregory McBean is a freelance Sydney-based editorial and documentary photographer. McBean worked in an advertising agency photographic department in his native New Zealand before moving to Sydney to further his magazine career. In the 1980s he received many awards for automotive and motor cycling photography; he was the first photographer to win both the touring & the race photo awards of the Federation International Motorcycliste (FIM) in the same year. He became the chief photographer for FPC magazines, and was instrumental in establishing its photographic studio, catering for a range of magazine requirements including room sets, automotive and motor cycle photography on large-scale cyclorama, portraiture, food and still-lifes. McBean grew up listening to the Easybeats. Many years later, he saw an enfeebled Wright sing ‘Evie’ at one of the Long Way to the Top concerts. Wright’s plucky rendition of the old hit aroused his admiration and rekindled his interest in the music of his youth. He contacted Wright’s agent and arranged to photograph him at his home at Nowra, NSW. He chose a natural shot rather than a staged one; moved by the tenacity of the man, he hoped he captured something of his character in this shot.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
© Gregory McBean

Accession number: 2005.76

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Gregory McBean (age 53 in 2003)

Stevie Wright (age 56 in 2003)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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

Tribute

Stevie Wright

Magazine article, 2016

Stevie Wright (1947-2015), singer-songwriter, came to Australia from England at the age of nine.

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

Stevie

Magazine article by Gregory McBean, 2005

Gregory McBean writes about photographing recent ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, singer Stevie Wright.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.