By Luke Voogt
Hang on, Geelong, Glenn Shorrock is on his way!
The original Little River Band lead singer will pass the town that inspired the name when he returns to Sphinx Hotel on 22 June.
“I’ve been coming down to Geelong for many, many years,” the rock legend said.
“I’m looking forward to returning.”
Shorrock had been on his way to a gig at the Sphinx, then the Golf View Hotel, in 1975 when he coined the name from the back of the band’s truck.
“We had just formed and on the way down we passed the Little River exit,” he said.
“I said, ’that sounds like a song.’ Had we gone further down the road we could have been called ‘wrong way – go back’ (or) Men at Work.“
At the time they had been going by Mississippi, the name of guitarist Graeham Goble’s previous band.
“I thought, ‘Why the hell should an Australian band have an American name?’” Shorrock said.
The name Little River Band was recognisable and “egalitarian”, he added.
“There’s a Little River anywhere in the world right?”
Shorrock fondly remembered filming a music video clip at Little River station in the ’70s, when a local school band challenged the authenticity of their name.
“Lo and behold we could see 30 or 40 little kids coming towards us with signs saying ‘we are the original Little River Band’,” he laughed.
The band had huge success in the US with songs like Help is on its Way.
“They were good songs, the Americans loved them and bought a lot of records, as they were then,” Shorrock said.
“They’re my kids, as it were. The music is the reason I’m still around.”
But the origins of the band’s name often got lost among fans despite Shorrock explaining it in “hundreds” of interviews.
“Especially in America, where it became LRB,” he said.
Shorrock will also play hits from earlier bands The Twilights and Axiom, including Little Ray of Sunshine, when he returns to the Sphinx.
“I touch on the very early stuff,” he said.
“Most of the show is Little River material and there’s always a Beatles song in there somewhere.”
Shorrock described himself as lucky to have such a large body of hits.
“Thankfully most of my songs – 80 per cent – are well-known,” he said.
“The most common complaint is ‘you didn’t play that song or you didn’t play my favourite.’ I say, ’I did on the last show, you just missed it’.”
The 74-year-old liked his voice better now than during Little River Band’s heyday, he said.
“I can’t really listen to myself as a young man. Most people say my voice hasn’t changed but I can tell the difference – it’s stronger and more relaxed now.
“I’m just amazed at how strong my voice has become and that it has lasted this long.”