Waiting For A Train (Flash And The Pan)

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In the 50s in America there was Sinatra Fever, in the UK in the 60s we had Beatlemania, in Australia there was Easyfever based around The Easybeats.

The group were formed in 1964 in Sydney and comprised five European migrants namely; English-born lead singer Stevie Wright, Dutch-born guitarist Harry Vanda (b: Johannes Vandanberg), Dutch-born Dick Diamonde (b: Dingeman Ariaan Henry van der Sluijs), English-born drummer Gordon ‘Snowy’ Fleet and Glasgow-born guitarist George Young.

George was from a big musical family and his older brother George Alexander was a member of British beat combo’s The Big Six and Grapefruit. George’s two younger brothers Malcolm and Angus formed and still lead the multi-million selling rock outfit AC/DC. Both George and Harry Vanda produced many of AC/DC’s early tracks.

The Easybeats released the Australian-only hits For My Woman, She’s So Fine, Woman (Make You Feel Alright), Come And See Her and Sorry. By the time they’d arrived on the scene in the UK in 1966 they had released three albums under their belt and the exciting single Friday On My Mind which reached number six. The follow-up, Hello, How Are You was their only other UK hit which peaked at number 20.

By 1969 the band had split, Wright remained in Australia whilst Vanda & Young returned to the UK. They worked as freelance songwriters and producers until 1973 when they returned to Oz and began working with John Paul Young by writing and producing his biggest hit Love Is In The Air. In 1977 the pair chose to use the alter ego Flash & The Pan, a project they intended as an engaging diversion from the real job of production, but found themselves with a hit on their hands after their debut, Hey! St. Peter reached number three in the Australian chart. It didn’t chart in the UK but was the first single issued on the newly formed Ensign records. Their next single And The Band Played On (Down Among The Dead Men) reached number 54, but then five years later they brought in Stevie Wright, their former Easybeat band member to sing lead on their latest single Waiting For A Train which reached number seven in the UK.

With their new-found success they brought in studio musicians Leszek on bass, Warren Morgan on piano and Ray Arnott on drums. They even added Lyndsay Hammond on backing vocals. Waiting for a Train sounded like it was sung through a megaphone and lyrically didn’t make much sense. The accompanying album, Pan-Orama was only released in the UK but stalled at a lowly number 69. The next two singles, Midnight Man and Early Morning Wake Up Call failed to make any impact and by 1987 they had reverted to a duo. Everything went quiet for a few years and by 1992 they were back with two new singles Burning Up The Night and Living On Dreams both of which failed to light.

In 1988, the pair were inducted into the Australian Hall Of Fame. In 1998 they both retired from the music industry with Harry remaining in Australia and George moving to Portugal with his family. However, in 2005, Harry started Flashpoint Music with his producer/engineer son, Daniel Vandenberg and they set up one of Australia’s premier private recording studios.

Waiting For A Train was used in the 2008 in the Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla. In 1989 a new version of the song, which was remixed by Harry Schulz and Kaplan Kaye and retitled Waiting for a Train ’89 (The Harrymeetskaplan Mix).

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