ATA's original late '60s label design

Pattie Amphlett's's "What's Your Mama's Name"
(1973) with the simplified design of the early 1970s
Andy Gibb's 1978 single "Shadow Dancing" 
featuring "blue sky" design of the late '70s.

Category: Australian independent label

Date: 1966 - present

Location: Glebe, Sydney 
Registered offices: 96 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. N.S.W. 2037

Owners: Col Joye & Kevin Jacobsen

Distributor / manufacturer: Festival Records, Sydney


Although not as well-known as contemporary pop-oriented imprints like Go!! and Spin, Sydney-based ATA Records stands out in one very important respect -- it is one of the longest-lived Australian independent labels, and is still operating today, decades after most of its contemporaries have vanished.

ATA was established by pioneering Australian singer Col Joye (Colin Jacobsen) and his brothers Phil and Kevin. Col had enjoyed great success as one of the top Australian rock'n'roll stars in the late 1950s and early 1960s with Festival, but as the new generation of beat bands took centre stage in the mid-1960s and Col's pop career slowed down, he and Phil began to broaden their business base, establishing their own publishing company, a record label, a recording studio and their renowned promotions company (headed by brother Kevin) which has been one of Australia's most successful concert promoters.

ATA Records was launched in May 1966 with Col Joye's single "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" and it continued through the late '60s and '70s to the present. Not surprisingly, ATA's catalogue featured by recordings from the members of the so-called "Bandstand Family" -- Col, Brian Henderson, The Joy Boys, Judy Stone, Little Patti and Sandy Scott. Although Col was not the first (or last) Australian artist to launch his own label, he was arguably the most successful.

ATA released over 200 singles between 1966 and 1981, averaging about 14 releases per year, although the label's output dropped sharply after 1977. Although much of the repertoire tended towards a "middle of the road" style, ATA's catalogue covers a very wide range of material. ATA had few "rock" releases, although the 1972 single by Friends released on ATA, "B.B. Boogie" / Freedom Train" is widely acknowledged as a landmark Australian progressive rock. 

ATA also released country, 'folk' and jazz recordings, including early singles by singer-songwriters Mike McClellan and Kevin Johnson, two country singles and two LPs by '60s star Laurie Allen (ex Bobby & Laurie), and many singles and albums by veteran country performers The Webb Brothers. There were also instrumental and jazz singles by renowned pianist Warren Carr, Bob Barnard's Jazz Band and the Ray Price Quintet, a one-off single by pioneering Kiwi rockers Johnny Devlin & The Devils. There was the occasional 'novelty' item, like the single by 2SM DJs John Torv and Ian MacRae, and recordings by club and variety performers like actress-singer-TV personality Hazel Phillips, actor-singer Ted Hamilton (of Division 4fame), religious personality Rev. Roger Bush, and former '60s popster and DJ Donnie Sutherland, best remembered as the host of the popular music video show Sounds.

Laurie Allen and Kevin Johnson were significant to the label both as recording artists and writers. Both artists released singles on ATA -- including Laurie's remake of the Bobby & Laurie hit "I Belong With You" -- and Col Joye recorded a number of their songs over the years. It was Col himself who recorded ATA's most successful local release, the national #1 hit "Heaven Is My Woman's Love" (1973), which took him back to the top of the pop charts for the first time since the early 1960s won the Country Music Association of Australia's award for "Top Selling Record" in 1974. One of ATA's discoveries in the country genre was "Cowboy" Bob Purtell, who released several singles on the label, collaborated with Col, Laurie and Jim Cooper on the LP Truck Stop (1976) and won the CMAA "New Talent of the Year" award in 1976 for his 1975 ATA single "Motivatin' Day", and the song also won its writer Laurie Allen a 'Golden Guitar' at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

ATA continued to release around a dozen singles each year until 1978, after which its singles output dropped sharply. From that point on it released only a handful of singles each year -- so far we have identified only four in 1978, three in 1979, five in 1980 and three in 1981 and one in 1982. At present we have no information on ATA releases after 1982; documents on the ARIA website indicate that the company was still operating in 1996, but it is not known if the label still operates today.

ATA and Andy Gibb

ATA played an important part in launching the career of Andy Gibb. The connection with the Gibb family went back many years, and Col and Phil had played a significant role in helping the young Bee Gees establish their career in Australia in the early 1960s. Andy, the youngest Gibb brother, had spent most of his youth in the UK, but on the advice of oldest brother Barry, he returned to Australia in 1974 to launch his own music career. He began writing his own songs, put together a backing band (Melody Fayre), began performing, and signed with the Joye Music publishing company. 

His first recording, "To A Girl" was taped at ATA studios probably in September 1974, apparently while the Bee Gees were touring Australia, since it featured Andy's brother Maurice on organ, and Maurice and John Alderson contributed to the song. Andy made his TV debut soon around this time, performing the song on The Ernie Sigley Show, and Sigley announced that it was from Andy's forthcoming album, but the track was never released as a single (possibly because it was over six minutes long). He also recorded six demo tracks at ATA sometime in late 1974 (possibly November) including the first version of his song "Flowing Rivers", which became the title track of his debut album in 1976. 

At some stage during mid-1975 Andy recorded thirteen songs --  enough for an LP -- produced by Col Joye at ATA Studios; all were originals by Andy, except a cover of Don McLean's "Winter Has Me In Its Grip". His debut single "Words and Music" / "Westfield Mansions" was issued in Australia on ATA in August 1975, and a planned second single "To a Girl" / "Walking Along" was assigned a catalogue number, but was never released. Another recording from these sessions ("Turn Me On") was played once during a radio interview with Andy, but the album (which would have appeared early in 1976) was never released.

Andy’s backing band by this stage was Zenta (Rick Alford, guitar; Paddy Lelliot, bass; Trevor Norton, drums; Glen Greenhalgh, vocals). However, the musicians on Andy's 1975 recordings were all seasoned Aussie session players. The lineup on the album is thought to have included members of renowned Sydney jazz-rock band Crossfire (Mick Kenny, Jim Kelly, Tony Buchanan, Phil Scorgie, Ian Bloxom, and Steve Hopes) and certainly Kelly and Buchanan were among the busiest session players in Sydney at that time. 

Andy relocated to America in 1976 and linked up with his brothers again. Andy recorded his first LP (co-produced by Barry and Alby Galuhten) around October that year. With the help and support of The Bee Gees -- then on the cusp of their greatest fame and success thanks to Saturday Night Fever and other projects -- Andy signed with RSO Records and shot to fame in America in 1977-78, scoring three consecutive US hits -- "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" (US#1, written and produced by Barry), "Shadow Dancing" (US #1, co-written by Barry and Andy) and " An Everlasting Love" (a US Top 5). These also charted and sold extremely well in Australia, and his 1980 single "Desire" was a Top 10 hit in the UK. ATA (through Festival) issued all of Andy's singles in Australia, up to his final single release, "Me (Without You)" (1981). In New Zealand these singles were released on the Interfusion label (distributed by EMI). 

Andy was a major star by 1980 -- in addition to his success as a recording artist, he briefly co-hosted TV pop show Solid Gold and also won the lead in a Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. But within a short time his career began to fall apart in spectacular fashion. He was fired from both Solid Gold and Dreamcoat after repeatedly missing shows, and the press had a field day with the revelations that Andy was in the grip of drug and alcohol addiction and in serious financial trouble, as well as his highly publicised romance with actress Victoria Principal. 

Andy eventually began to rehabilitate himself and sort out his financial problems and (with Barry's help) he was tipped to sign a new contract with Island Records. However he apparently relapsed into heavy drinking soon after arriving in the UK in early 1988 and he was hospitalised on his 30th birthday. Unfortunately the years of wild living had seriously weakened his system and he died a few days later, on 10 March 1988, from an acute viral heart infection.

ATA Studios

For many years the label's offices and recording studio were co-located at 96 Glebe Pt Rd in Glebe, in Sydney's inner west. One of the longest-running independent recording studios in Sydney, they were originally known as ATA studios and then Studio 96, and finally Glebe Studios. It is known that leading engineer Bruce Brown worked there for some time and in 1970 he and Ron Patton did the final mixing and editing at ATA for the debut album Song To Raymondo by Sydney pop-rock band Autumn

The Glebe studio evolved over a long period of time. According to a recent ABC interview with Col, ATA built its own 4-track, 8-track and later 16-track facilities. Engineer and studio historian Colin Abrahams records that the original studio had a special reverb chamber built under the control room with a speaker and microphone mounted on tracks to adjust the delay. They built their own mixing console and also built Australia's first 16-track recorder out of an old Univac computer deck. The tape had to be wound with the oxide facing out to work with this machine, and an assistant had to stand next to the machine and help turn the spools when it got close to the end of the reel! Many hit records were recorded on this machine, including Kevin Johnston's much-covered "Rock and Roll (I Gave You The Best Years of My Life)".

By 1990 the studio was fitted with an MCI 24-track recorder, plus 8-track and 16-track Tascam recorders. As well as enabling the studio to run up to 48 tracks, the 8-track and 16-track machines allowed the studio to accept tapes from other studios in virtually any format. Glebe Studios was still in operation when this article was revised in late 2007.


ATA's first two single releases were catalogued ATA-001 and ATA-002, but the second single (by Bandstand host Brian Henderson) was simultaneously issued with a new "ATAK" prefix and a four-digit catalogue number, to fit in with the cataloguing system of the distributor, Festival (Festival's own singles were prefixed "FK" and singles from its subsidiary Infinity were prefixed "INK"). As a result, subsequent ATA releases did not run follow a strict numerical sequence. The ATAK prefix remained in use until 1973, and the last single with this prefix was Col's hit "Heaven is my woman's love". With the next single -- Pattie Amphlett's "What's Your Mama's Name" (Aug. 1973) -- the numbering changed again to conform to Festival's new "K" series, which took place around the same time that Festival's signed a distribution deal with the newly-established Mushroom label.


ATA-001 May 1966 Col Joye "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine"
"They Feel In Love"
ATA-002 May 1966 Brian Henderson
with Bob Young & His Orchestra
"What Is A Square?"
"Mama Sang A Song"
ATAK-1342 May 1966 Brian Henderson with
Bob Young & His Orchestra
"What Is A Square?"
"Mama Sang A Song"
ATAK-1362 June 1966 The Joy Boys "Cara Mia"
Kinky Kangaroo"
ATAK-1458 Aug. 1966 Judy Stone "Born A Woman"
"I Need You"
ATAK-1459 Aug. 1966 Sandy Scott A: "Wallpaper Roses" (Spina-Robertson)
B: "Moonlight Will Come" (Kevin Johnson)
ATAK-1509 Sep. 1966 Col Joye "Mary Anne"
"Long Long Time"
ATAK-1639 Jan. 1967 Kevin Johnson "Hayman Island"
"Heartache Man"
ATAK-1645 Jan. 1967 Col Joye "There goes My Everything"
"You Know How I Feel" 
ATAK-1659 Feb. 1967 Judy Stone "Don't Touch Me"
"So Softly"
ATAK-1666 Feb. 1967 Sandy Scott "In The Arms of Love"
"Such A Lovely Night"
ATAK-1755 May 1967 Judy Stone "And The Trouble With Me Is You"
"Lost Without You"
ATAK-1861 June 1967 Norm Irwin "Sugar & Spice"
"I Love You Like At Seventeen"
ATAK-1881 July 1967 The Joy Boys "San Juan"
ATAK-2129 Jan. 1968 Sandy Scott A: "Temptation" (Brown-Freed)
B: "Red Roses For A Blue Lady" (Tepper-Brodsky)
ATAK-2270 Apr. 1968 Judy Stone ""I May As Well Get Used To It"
"Love Will Always Find A Way"
ATAK-2280 Apr. 1968 Kevin Johnson "Woman You Took My Love"
"You've Lost The Power"
ATAK-2766 Dec. 1968 The Joy Boys "Sabre Dance"
ATAK-2931 Apr. 1969 Sharon Black "Some Day Soon"
"I Need You"
ATAK-2932 Apr. 1969 Col Joye "It's Too Late Now"
"Moonlight Will Come"
ATAK-2934 Apr. 1969 Ides of Mann "Groovy Thang"
ATAK-2981 May 1969 Michael Scott Group "60 Minutes of Your Love"
"Little Red Car"
ATAK-3100 1969 Sandy Scott "I'm Glad I Lost My Heart In Sydney"
"Spanish Eyes"
ATAK-3196 1969 Sandy Scott "Look Around"
ATAK-3235 Aug. 1969 Cascades "Field of Yellow Roses"
"Cool Water"
ATAK-3270 Sep. 1969 Rev. Roger Bush "Justinian"
"The Three Boys"
ATAK-3560 Mar. 1970 Col Joye "Come Into My Life"
"You Brought The Best Out In Me"
ATAK-3700 June 1970 Robin Sinclair "Hello Baby"
"Who Am I"
ATAK-4023 Nov. 1970 John Torv
Ian MacRae
"What Have They Done To My Song"
"Mac Mac Mac MacRae"
ATAK-4050 Dec. 1970 Col Joye
"That's Where I Went Wrong"
"Opal Man"
ATAK-4159 Mar. 1971 Swamp Salad "Johnny Guitar"
"Ballad of Creepy Creek"
ATAK-4176 Mar. 1971 Sandy Scott "Why"
ATAK-4188 Apr. 1971 Little Pattie "April Fool"
"Seen It All Before"
ATAK-4190 Apr. 1971 Ted Bull "Pathetic way of getting over you"
"Reposession Man"
ATAK-4287 Jul. 1971 Hazel Phillips "Hot Pants"
"What's a nice girl like me doing working in a place like this"
ATAK-4347 Aug. 1971 Col Joye "Girl on the Billboard"
"Beautiful Dreamer"
ATAK-4373 Sep. 1971 Ray Price "You, you're driving me crazy"
"That's A Plenty"
ATAK-4460 Nov. 1971 Moondoggs "Felicity"
"Turning Point"
ATAK-4612 May 1972 Pattie "Save Me"
"So Softly"
ATAK-4622 May(?) 1972 3rd Union Band "Johnny don't sing in the rock'n'roll band no more"
"Movin' on"
ATAK-4666 May 1972 Sandy Scott "Now"
"This day of days"
ATAK-4677 May 1972 Warren Carr "Life is what you make it" (Theme from Katch)
ATAK-4734 Jul. 1972 Laurie Allen "Sunshine of your face"
"(High) On A Ferris Wheel"
ATAK-4762 Jul. 1972 Mike McClellan "Some other sunrise"
"Nursery Rhyme"
ATAK-4763 Jul. 1972 Friends "B.B. Boogie"
"Freedom Train"
ATAK-4764 Aug. 1972 3rd Union Band "Hyway Ryder"
"Movin' On"
ATAK-4793 Sep. 1972 Wendy Wayne "You're the only one to love me"
"The summer is over"
ATAK-4860 Oct. 1972 The Webb Brothers "Call of the Bellbird"
"The melody of the rain"
ATAK-4887 Nov. 1972 Wayne Holstein "Little rado and stone to roll"
"Baby Blue"
ATAK-4915 Dec. 1972 Pattie "Carolina"
"Two Different Things"
ATAK-4934 Dec. 1972 Mike McClellan "Susie Get Off This Train"
"The Fiddler"
ATAK-4987 Feb. 1973 The Ray Price Quintet "Bad Penny Blues"
ATAK-5047 Apr. 1973 Fielding & Dyer "The Ghost"
"Big White Horse"
ATAK-5094 Apr. 1973 The Webb Brothers "The Goondiwindi Grey"
"If Only"
ATAK-5106 Apr. 1973 Col Joye "Heaven Is My Woman's Love"
"Happy Days"
K-5250 Aug. 1973 Pattie "What's Your Mama's Name" (E.Montgomery-D.Frazer)
"Since You're Not Around"
Produced by Kevin Jacobsen
K-5463 Apr. 1974 Ted Hamilton "Dandenong Grass"
"You can never go home"
K-5522 Jun. 1974 Col Joye "Sunshine in your face"
"If it feels good, do it"
K-5656 Aug. 1974 Col Joye "My wife's house"
K-5658 Aug. 1974 Pattie "Kentucky Blues"
"Without You"
K-5664 Nov. 1974 Sandy Scott "Day with Maria"
"Why did your heart"
K-5701 Nov. 1974 The Webb Brothers "June Rose Waltz"
"Sally Anne"
K-5758 Dec. 1974 The Joy Boys "Xmas Guitar"
"The little boy that Santa Claus forgot"
K-5791 Jan. 1975 Mike McClellan "Country Morning"
"Playing it by ear"
K-5851 Mar. 1975 David Gray "Maria"
"This day of days"
K-5852 Mar. 1975 Bob Barnard's Jazz Band "Blues my naughty sweetie gives to me"
"Play it cool"
K-5863 Mar 1975 Grand Junction Country Band "Walk All Over Georgie"
"Devil Whiskey"
K-5978 Jun. 1975 Pat Alexander "Bluey Mackenzie Galah"
"Thanks to Bob"
K-5991 Jul. 1975 Laurie Allen "I Belong With You"
"Little Country Church"
K-6038 Jul. 1975 Jim Cooper "Zachery Dodge"
"Mississippi Green Finger"
K-6039 Jul. 1975 Bob Purtell "Motivatin' Day" (Laurie Allen)
"Trucker's Lullaby"
K-6040 Jul. 1975 Wally Morrison "Doesn't anybody write old loves songs anymore"
"The Glen"
K-6077 Aug. 1975 Andy Gibb "Words, Music"
"Westfield Mansion"
K-6130 Oct. 1975 Col Joye "Woman you took my life"
"Simple words and music"
K-6308 Mar. 1976 The Joy Boys "No other love"
"The Breeze and I"
K-6484 Jul. 1976 Col Joye, Bob Purtell,
Jim Cooper and Laurie Allen
"Movin On"
"Big Wheel Cannonball"
K-6493 Aug. 1976 Laurie Allen "Musical Chairs"
"Me and Jack Daniels"
K-6519 Sep. 1976 The Joy Boys "Slow dancin'"
"Resurrection Shuffle"
K-6530 Sep. 1976 Little Pattie "Only If You Want To"
"It's All For You"
K-6594 Nov. 1976 Col Joye "Love In My Woman's Eyes"
K-6632 Dec. 1976 Johnny Devlin & The Devils "Heartbreak Hotel"
"I Can't Go, I Can't Stay"
K-6638 Jan. 1977 Benny & The Jets "J.O.K."
"Tobacco Road"
K-6677 Jan. 1977 Wal Morrison "Hawaiian Surf (Legend of the Bronzed Aussie)"
K-6742 May 1977 Jim Cooper "Silver Eagle"
"Dirty Picture Frame"
K-6763 Apr. 1977 Donnie Sutherland "Dancing Man"
"Dancing Man" (disco version)
K-6770 May 1977 Col Joye "A Mother As Lovely As You"
"Thru Children's Eyes" (Laurie Allen)
K-6791 Aug. 1977 Andy Gibb "I Just Want To Be Your Everything"
"In The End"
K-6839 Jul. 1977 Little Pattie "You'll Never Know"
"It's Such A Dream"
K-6887 Oct. 1977 Dave Mills "Let The Heartaches Begin"
"I Love You More"
K-6888 Oct. 1977 Wal Morrison "Nightmare"
"Yellow Man"
K-6993 Dec. 1977 Little Pattie "What Am I Gonna Do?"
"Blue Jean Baby"
K-6994 Dec. 1977 Benny & The Jets "I Can Do It"
"Rock Won't Never Die"
K-7008 Jan. 1978 Bob Purtell "The Beer Song"
"The Gear Jammers Ball"
K-7091 May 1978 Andy Gibb "Shadow Dancing"
"Too Many Looks In Your Eyes"
K-7157 Jul. 1978 Bob Purtell "I Gave Up Good Morning, Darling"
"Basin Street Blues"
K-7224 Sep. 1978 Andy Gibb "An Ever Lasting Love"
"Flowing Rivers"
K-7437 Jun. 1979 Col Joye "Hey There Girl"
"Nobody Wins"
K-7569 Sep. 1979 Kevin Sommerville "After Loving You"
"When You Love Me"
K-7585 Sep. 1979 Jim Cooper "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
"Let's Do It Again"
K-7796 May 1980 The Eyes "Riding In My Favourite Car"
"Bluegrass Radio"
K-7803 Mar. 1980 Andy Gibb "Desire"
"Waiting For You"
K-7825 Apr. 1980 Col Joye "Raining In My Heart"
"The End"
K-7845 May 1980 Guy Angier "Shark"
K-7851 May 1980 A:Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton-John
B: Andy Gibb
"I Can't Help It"
"Somebody I Ain't"
K-8163 Feb. 1981 Andy Gibb "Time Is Time"
"I Go For You"
K-8194 Mar. 1981 The Eyes "Black & White"
K-8279 Apr. 1981 Andy Gibb "Me (Without You)"
K-8734 1982 Col Joye "Unbreakable Hearts"
"Where Have All The Seasons Gone"


ATAX-11189 ? Donald Philip Wall A Day To Remember
ATAX-11217 ? Judy Stone Judy Stone Sings "Born A Woman"
ATAX-11228 ? Sandy Scott Wallpaper Roses
ATAX-11449 ? Sandy Scott Red Roses For A Blue Lady


SATAL-934537 1972 Mike McClellan Mike McClellan
ATAL-35261 1974 The Webb Brothers I'm Gonna Be A Country Boy Again
? ? The Webb Brothers Big Country
ATAL-25114 ? The Joy Boys On Top Of The World
ATAL-25128 Aug. 1972 Laurie Allen Once Upon A Song
ATAL-25185 1974 David Gray Showtime with David Gray
ATAL-25194 1975 Laurie Allen Any Other Man
ATAL-31369 ? Father Kevin O'Connor
(The Singing Priest of The Outback)
Introducing Father O'Connor
ATAL-32111 ? Sandy Scott Great Scott - It's Sandy
ATAL-32119 ? Salvation Army Band and Choir Spectacular Brass and Voices
ATAL-32256 ? Judy Stone 12 Good Reasons!
ATAL-33638 Sandy Scott Sandy Scott ... Live!
ATAL-35489 1975 Col Joye For You
ATAL-35943 1976 Laurie Allen, Col Joye, Bob Purtell, Jim Cooper Truck Stop
ATA D-93420 1995 Col Joye Oh Yeah (CD)

References / Links

Hank B. Facer
ATA label discography
Discography No. 23, November 1981 (Museum of Indigenous Recording Labels, Auburn NSW)

Ian McFarlane
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)

Colin Abrahams
Studio Connections website

The Webb Brothers

Joseph Brennan
Gibb Songs - 1974

Bonnie's Laurie Allen Tribute Site

Country Music Association of Australia

Special thanks to Andy from globaldog productions for additional discographical information.