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Eagle Ross (Ross Wilson)
, 2005

by Tessa Jones

oil on canvas (support: 180.0 cm x 177.5 cm)

Ross Wilson (b. 1947), musician and producer, started playing in bands as a schoolboy, fronting the Pink Finks and the Party Machine in the late 1960s. In early 1970 he and Ross Hannaford formed Sons of the Vegetal Mother, which evolved into Daddy Cool. Daddy Cool played 1950s rock & roll songs with a 1970s attitude, and the mix electrified live audiences. 'Eagle Rock', released in June 1971, sat at number 1 for 11 weeks. Soon after, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool broke all previous sales records for an Australian album. Wilson split from the group in 1972 to form Mighty Kong; when they disbanded, he produced the first three albums for Skyhooks, while rejoining Daddy Cool in 1974-1975. Later, he produced albums for Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, The Sports, The Dynamic Hepnotics and his own very successful band, Mondo Rock. As a musician, Wilson has toured almost incessantly from the 1970s to the present. In early 2001 'Eagle Rock' was voted the second-best Australian song ever (behind the Easybeats' 'Friday on My Mind'). Rock historian Ian McFarlane wrote that over his career of some four decades, Wilson 'has given more to the institution of Australian rock and pop than can ever possibly be repaid'.

Tessa Jones incorporated lyrics from 'Eagle Rock' and a more recent song of Wilson's, 'Xmas Card', in this work, leaving a space, she says, 'for songs yet to be created'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2005
Accession number: 2005.99