Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Friday On My Mind By The Easybeats, Album: Friday On My Mind (1966)
This song was co-written by Easybeats guitarists George Young and Harry Vanda, who were the primary songwriters in the group (Young is the older brother of Malcolm and Angus Young from AC/DC). Vanda described the song as reminiscent of the days where the band members lived in hostels in Sydney as “new Australians.” They would hang out for the end of the week because that’s when the fun began.
Previously, the band’s main songwriting team had been George Young and lead singer Stevie Wright. Vanda and Young produced The Easybeats’ later albums and after the group broke up in 1969, formed their own group, Flash And The Pan, which had a few successes during the late ’70s and early ’80s. They also continued writing and producing hits for other artists like AC/DC and John Paul Young.
This song has quite a buildup. After the opening cymbal crash, its just a staccato guitar for the next 20 seconds underscoring Stevie Wright’s vocal where he runs through the days of the week, explaining why Monday-Thursday don’t excite him. The bass finally comes in as he gets closer to the weekend. Finally, 30 seconds into the song, we hit Friday and the drums come in to play.
This energy carries into the chorus, where we hear about the plans for the weekend. But then it’s back to Monday, and we do the “five-day drag once more.” This time, however, the tempo is faster and he’s even more optimistic, knowing that his time will come. The second chorus is even more energetic and repeats to close out the song. All of this is packed into 2:47, making it one of the more distinctive and energetic hits of the era.
The Easybeats were already huge in their native Australia when they recorded this song, but this was their first hit outside of that country. After scoring several Aussie hits in 1965, they got an international distribution deal in 1966. In the UK, “Come And See Her” was their first single, and in the US, “Make You Feel Alright (Women)” was chosen. Their second single in each territory was “Friday On My Mind,” which was their breakthrough (the song was also a monster in Australia, where it was #1 for eight weeks).
The group was not able to capitalize, falling victim to drug abuse, management struggles, and internal strife. It was six month before their next single, “Who’ll Be The One,” appeared, and listeners were underwhelmed.
They never had another US hit and in the UK managed just one more: “Hello, How are You,” which made #20 in 1968.
The group recorded this song in London with producer Shel Talmy, who had previously worked with The Who and The Kinks. “They approached me via their then-manager,” Talmy said in an interview. “I liked what I’d heard, but I didn’t like the songs. So, I said to them, ‘Guys, go home and write a bunch of songs, come back once a week, and play me what you got.’ This went on for about seven weeks. I kept rejecting stuff until after the seventh week I heard ‘Friday on My Mind,’ and I said, ‘That’s the one we’re doing.'”David Bowie did a popular cover on his 1973 album Pin Ups, and Peter Frampton recorded a version for his 1981 album Breaking All the Rules. The only artist to take it back to the charts is Gary Moore, who reached #26 UK with his 1987 rendition.
“Friday on My Mind” has been on the minds of Australians since 1967, earning the #1 position on APRA’s list of Ten Best Australian Songs.
This was also released as a single by Australian singer Peter Doyle in 1976. He produced an incredibly punchy version, but it was never a hit.
One hit wonders, but man what a hit. That song at the time, was like no other on the radio. To pull that off, you have to be tight as a band. One of my favorites from that period. Check out Youtube and listen to The Mona Lisa Twins version of this. Spot on and great.
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