by Luke Voogt
The Horses still has the power to get 80,000 people singing in unison, crossing generations and football codes since Daryl Braithwaite first belted it out.
“It seems like it has more effect on people now and over the last decade than when it actually came out,” he told the Indy on Tuesday.
“The audience reaction right now is quite staggering. It’s one of those songs that crosses all boundaries.”
Braithwaite sang The Horses to 75,000 people at Waverley Park for the 1991 AFL Grand Final after the song’s debut earlier that year.
He had another 80,000 fans singing along at the NRL Grand Final last month, 28 years later.
But Braithwaite had yet to figure out what made the song so popular.
“I have at times sat down and thought, ‘I wonder what it is that makes it so attractive to people’,” he said.
“I’ve had quite a few people send me letters in regards to having it at their weddings or even at funerals. I guess it’s got a really interesting verse and the chorus just comes in and captures you.”
Now Braithwaite is bringing The Horses back to Gateway Hotel this month along with other solo hits and songs from his time in ’70s Aussie rock band Sherbet.
“We’ve played there quite a few times over the years,” he said, after returning from an Australian Rugby Union World Cup tour in Japan recently.
The music icon was also looking forward to catching up with twin brother Glen, who lives in Geelong West.
“He and his wife have been there for, I reckon, 25 or 30 years now,” he said.
The twins learnt to sing together in a choir and by watching their dad, a professional singer, Braithwaite remembered.
“(Glen) has a band and they play on weekends, like we do,” he said.
“People sometimes ask him if he’s related to ‘that guy who’s got the horses song’ or ‘the guy from Sherbet’. Sometimes he says no and sometimes he says yes.”
Braithwaite rose to fame as front man of Sherbet in the ’70s, recording hits like Howzat, Summer Love and You’ve Got the Gun.
But he had a musical renaissance in 1988 when he recorded As the Days Go By.
Braithwaite credits the song for launching his solo career and describes it as his favourite.
“If that hadn’t have worked back in ’88 we probably wouldn’t be talking now,” he said.
In 1990 he approached original singer Rickie Lee Jones and songwriters to cover The Horses.
“They had no qualms about us recording it and putting it out as single,” he said.
After playing The Horses for crowds of tens of thousands since, Braithwaite still loves the atmosphere of a pub singing the song with him.
“It’s warm and a little bit sweaty but it’s terrific to play in those sorts of places,” he said.
“If I can see and hear people reacting to that first key change… it’s amazing.”
Daryl Braithwaite comes to Gateway Hotel on 29 November and might even bring a couple new songs with him, as he works on a new release for 2020.
“I’m getting a little pressure from the record company,” he said.
“They’ve been very patient – they keep saying, ‘come on… you can do it’.”