|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Groups & Solo Artists|
Ronnie Charles (vocals)
Les Gough (bass)
Terry Slade (drums, percussion)
Glen Turner (guitar)
Atlas was formed in 1972 by vocalist extraordinare Ronnie Charles, best known as the lead singer of The Groop, whose story is told elsewhere in MILESAGO.
After The Groop split in early 1969, Ronnie formed Captain Australia & The Honky Tonk. Its membegsubip classic illustration of the incestuous relationships between so many bands of that period. Besides Ronnie, the lineup was Brian Holloway (guitar; ex-The Dream, Image, Aesop's Fables), Graham Jones (bass; ex-Iguana), Ronnie's old Groop bandmate Richard Wright (drums) and Steve Yates (keyboards; ex-Rush, Expression). In August 1970, Eric Cairns (Somebody's Image, Image, Heart'n'Soul, Company Caine) replaced Wright, Les Gough (bass; Somebody's Image, Image, Heart'n'Soul) replaced Jones, and Gary Moberley (ex-Aesop's Fables) replaced Yates, who then joined King Harvest.
Captain Australia recorded one single, "Excerpts from Muses" / "Everybody I Love You", released on the Havoc label in early 1971, but just as the single came out, the group took off for the UK.
By 1972, Captain Australia had fizzled out and Ronnie formed Atlas with Les Gough plus English musicians Terry Slade (drums; ex-Sunshine) and ace guitarist Glen Turner (guitar), who had been an early (pre-recording) member of leading UK band Wishbone Ash. Captain Australia recorded the single "Excerpts from Muses" / "Everybody I Love You", released on the newly-formed Havoc in early 1971, but just as the single came out, the group took off for the UK, where they broke up not long after.
Holloway went on to join the UK-based multinational supergroup Esperanto with Glenn Shorrock and Janice Slater. Moberley went on to work with English singer/ songwriter John Miles, who had a UK hit single in 1976 with Music and racked up string of notable group and session credits in the 1980s including work with The Bee Gees and ABC.
According to Ian McFarlane, Atlas was "a hard rock/boogie outfit, fitting in with contemporary English bands like Wishbone Ash, Free, Status Quo". Vernon Joyson describes their repertoire as "high powered rock with a cutting edge courtesy of guitar ace Glen Turner" and notes that that "their material was sufficiently varied to highlight their ability and diversity."
Like Tamam Shud and Band of Light, Atlas were early signings to the newly established Australian division of the Warner corporation. With no local imprint yet established -- the company later set up its own WEA and East-West labels -- all three groups were signed to the Reprise label.
Warner issued Atlas' well-regarded debut album in 1973 and lifted two fine hard rock Singles "Rock 'n'Roll Wizards" / "Military Rag", followed by "They Don't Know" / "The Knowing" before the group broke up during 1974. Needless to say, these are all now collectors' items and probably quite rare and Warner is yet to reissue any of its Australian recordings from this period (although Tamam Shud) have self-released their Warner LP Goolutionites and The Real People.
"Rock 'n' Roll Wizards" / "Military Rag" (Warner Reprise R 3616)
"They Don't Know" / "The Knowing" (Warner Reprise RPA 14017)
Atlas (Warner Reprise MS 2152) LP
(no track listing available)
References / Links
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock (Outback Press, 1978)
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1999)
Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara and Paul McHenry
Who's Who of Australian Rock (Five Mile Press, 2002)