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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, 1975 (printed 2011)

Gary Ede

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 36.2 cm x 44.0 cm, image: 30.2 cm x 40.5 cm)

Stevie Wright (1947-2015), singer songwriter, joined The Easybeats as lead singer in 1964, aged just sixteen. 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’, which was 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 a triumphant year with concerts at the Opera House. By 1975, however, he had vanished, to undergo permanently damaging ‘treatment’ for drug addiction at the dreadful Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney. 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 to Wright himself, who though very frail, was by then a long-term teetotaller, drug-free and an inductee into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Biographies of Wright include Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright (1999) and Hard Road: The life and times of Stevie Wright (2004).

Gary Ede, born in California but a resident of Sydney since 1980, took this photograph early in his career, when he was in London photographing authors and celebrities for book publishers. Ede’s photograph of Wright working the jeanjacket/jean combination now known – and deplored - as ‘double denim’ is the definitive happy image of the pint-sized performer.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011
© Gary Ede

Accession number: 2011.61

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Gary Ede (age 29 in 1975)

Stevie Wright (age 28 in 1975)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.