Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973 by mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Imants “Freddie” Strauks on drums. They were soon joined by Bob “Bongo” Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, and Red Symons on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Graeme “Shirley” Strachanbecame lead vocalist in March 1974.
Described as a glam rock band, because of flamboyant costumes and make-up, Skyhooks addressed teenage issues including buying drugs “Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)”, suburban sex “Balwyn Calling”, the gay scene “Toorak Cowboy” and loss of girlfriends “Somewhere in Sydney” by namecheckingAustralian locales. According to music historian, Ian McFarlane “[Skyhooks] made an enormous impact on Australian social life”.
Symons left Skyhooks in 1977 and became a radio and television personality. Strachan had solo releases since 1976 and finally left the band in 1978 and was also a radio and television presenter. With altered line-ups, Skyhooks continued until they disbanded on 8 June 1980; they briefly reformed in 1983, 1984, 1990 and 1994. In 1992, Skyhooks were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. Lead singer, Strachan died on 29 August 2001, aged 49, in a helicopter crash while solo piloting. Their original lead singer, Steve Hill, died in October 2005, aged 52, of liver cancer.
In 2011, the Skyhooks album Living in the 70s was added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Sounds of Australia registry.