|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Record Labels|
Category: Australian independent label
Location: Sydney, NSW
Operation: 1966-1974; reactivated by Festival Mushroom Records ca. 2000-2002
Distribution: Festival Records
Ownership: Spin Productions Pty Ltd
directors / staff:
Company liquidated 1974, catalogue purchased by Festival Records.
Acquired by Warner Music Australia, October 2005, following the liquidation of Festival Mushroom Records.
Spin Records was one of the most important and successful Australian record labels of the 1960s, and it recorded and released some of the most vibrant and enduring pop artefacts of the period. Historian Bill Casey has recently published a comprehensive history and discography of the label and in particular its relationship with The Bee Gees, and we are indebted to Bill for his invaluable research into this important company.
The origin of the Spin label was the shortlived "Everybody's" imprint, which was set up in late 1965 by the Packer-owned Australian Consolidated Press as a cross-promotional vehicle for its teen magazine Everybody's. The founding company principals were Frank Packer's elder son Clyde and four directors of Everybody's. Around the time the label was being set up, the directors were approached by TV producer, songwriter and entrepreneur Nat Kipner. Kipner had until recently been a partner in Ivan Dayman's Sunshine label and had managed Dayman's Sydney venue, The Bowl, in Castlereagh St .
The Everybody's management appointed Nat as the label's A&R manager and he quickly signed up four local acts. One was his son Steve's new band, Steve & The Board, for whom Nat wrote a novelty song, "Giggle-eyed Goo". The other three were ex-Aztec guitarist Tony Barber, a young female singer called Toni McCann, who had recorded for Sunshine, for another single release, and big-voiced Sydney singer Big Norm Miller.
Everybody's released only four singles in its brief life. The first two releases were the Steve & The Board's "Giggle-Eyed Goo" b/w "Rosalyn" (produced by Nat Kipner) and Tony Barber's "Someday" b/w "Is It Raining?" (produced by Bill Shepherd) and simultaneously issued in either October or November 1965. They sold moderately well, and "Giggle-Eyed Goo" even made the charts in Sydney, but record buyers were apparently confused by Everybody's association with the label, with many thinking that the records came free with the magazine. According to Hank Facer, the singles also encountered resistance from radio stations problems because of the Consolidated Press connection and Bil Casey reports that Sydney DJs were unwilling to name the label on air because of the cross-promotion for the magazine.
The last two Everybody's singles, issued either in December 1965 or January 1966, were Big Norm Miller's version of the Everly Brothers' "All I have to do is dream" b/w "Blue Horizons For Me" and Toni McCann's scorching "Saturday Date" b/w "If You Don't Come Back". Two of the four Everybody's singles were re-issued in February 1966. McCann's "Saturday date" on Sunshine (which folded soon after) the other three on Spin. The four original Everybody's releases are now highly prized by collectors.
By January 1966 Everybody's had been renamed and re-launched as Spin Records and the parent company, Spin Records Production Pty Ltd now included two new partners -- Sydney entertainment entrepreneur, Harry M. Miller, and Nat Kipner, who was retained as A&R manager, but now had a financial interest in the label. After abortive negotiations with EMI, Spin Productions signed an exlusive ten-year distribution agreement with Festival Records and the first three Spin singles, released to coincide with the rebranding, were Ray Columbus' "We Want A Beat", Jeff St John & The Id's debut "Lindy Lou", and Marty Rhone's "Nature Boy".
Kipner produced or co-produced (with Ossie Byrne) many of the early Spin releases, as did noted producer-arranger Bill Shepherd (who subsequently accompanied the Bee Gees to the UK as their musical director). From 1967 onwards, after the collapse of Dayman's Sunshine label, its aquisition by Festival and his subsequent appointment as a Festival house producer, Pat Aulton played a central role in Spin and he produced a large proportion of the label's output in the late '60s and early '70s.
In 1966 Spin played a pivotal role in the Bee Gees story, issuing the group's final batch of Australian singles, including their first major Australian hit, "Spicks and Specks", released in September that year. It was one of Spin's most successful singles, spending 19 weeks in the Sydney charts, where it peaked at #3, and it went to #1 in other cities including Melbourne, made #1 on the newly-established national Top 40 in Go-Set magazine, who also named it their 'Best Record of the Year'.
However this success had an ironic edge to it. The Bee Gees had originally signed to Leedon imprint, the former independent label established by Lee Gordon, which was acquired by Festival after Gordon's death. According to Bee Gees historian Joseph Brennan, Festival were on the verge of dropping the group after eleven successive chart failures. But the band and their manager father Hugh felt that much of the blame lay with Festival itself, and that the company evidently had little interest in promoting their career.
Hugh Gibb raised questions about the legality of the boys' contract -- presumably because they were all under 18 when they signed it -- but Festival managing director Fred Marks came up with a compromise deal, agreeing to release the boys from their Leedon contract on condition that they transfer to the Spin label. At this point Kipner took over from Hugh Gibb and managed the trio until they moved back to the UK at the start of 1967, where they signed with Robert Stigwood and the NEMS organisation.
Once signed to Spin, Nat Kipner's support and guidance proved invaluable to The Bee Gees' career, as were the production skills and tutelage of independent producer and studio owner Ossie Byrne. Over several months during 1966 Byrne gave the Gibb boys virtually unlimited time in his home-made St Clair Studio at Hurstville and they have acknowledged that Ossie's contributions were crucial in enabling them to come to find their feet as studio performers.
Despite Festival's earlier misgivings about the band, the Spin deal proved to be a lucrative one for both Spin and Festival. After they arrived in Britain, The Bee signed with Stigwood's RSO Records (distrbuted by Polydor) for the UK and Atlantic Records in the USA, but Spin (and therefore Festival) retained the exclusive rights to distribute The Bee Gees' recordings in Australia for the better part of a decade. The first Bee Gees single released under this arrangement was their international breakthrough hit "New York Mining Disaster 1941" (1967).
Spin released some of the best local and international singles of the late Sixties, including all of The Bee Gees late '60s UK recordings. Other prominent artists on the Spin roster included former Aztec Tony Barber, Steve & The Board, Toni McCann, Ray Columbus, Jeff St John, Marty Rhone, Tony Summers, Chris Hall & The Torquays, Ronnie Burns, The Sunsets (later renamed Tamam Shud), The Ram Jam Big Band, Janice Slater, The Dave Miller Set and expatriate Hungarian fusion group Syrius. Harry M. Miller's interest in the label also led to Spin releasing the highly successful Australian cast recording of Hair in 1970, which was the first Australian cast recording LP to be awarded a Gold Record.
The label was very productive, with 116 singles, 35 EPs and 38 albums issued over the eight years between May 1966 and May 1974. Spin typically released 2-3 singles per month during its peak years. All its recordings were manufactured and distributed by Festival Records. Up to 1973, all singles distributed by Festival were catalogued in a consecutive four-figure series, with the different labels identified by prefixes. Festival's own releases (and some of its licenced overseas recordings) were identified with a "FK" prefix (e.g. FK-1340). Spin singles were identified by the prefix "EK", an artefact of its original incarnation as "Everybody's". The final Spin single release, one of only two in Festaival's new "K" series (1973-74), was The Bee Gees' "Mr Natural".
Spin's EP and LP releases were similarly catalogued; Festival catalogued all EPs in its consecutive '11000' series, prefixed with a two-letter ID prefix (Spin's was "EX"). Spin LPs were initially catalogued in Festival's '30000' series and identified with an "EL" prefix"; this series changed to Festival's '930000' series ca. 1967. Early Spin LPs were released in mono; Jeff St John & The Id's Big Time Operators was Spin's first stereo LP and one of the first stereo pop albums by an Australian group. The original Australian cast recording of The Boyfriend (Sep. 1968) was the last Spin LP in mono and all subsequent albums were issued in stereo. Spin's last two LPs -- The Bee Gees' Double Gold and Mr Natural (1974) were issued under Festival's new L series catalogue.
Spin Productions went into liquidation in mid-1974 and the catalogue was subsequently purchased by Festival. The Spin name was revived briefly ca. 2000 for Fesival's superb series of CD reissues, but this project was cancelled soon after the company's 50th anniversary as the company was subjected to cost-cutting 'restructures'. Regrettably Festival Mushroom went into liquidation in mid-2005 and the recording archive -- including the Spin catalogue -- was purchased by the Warner Music group for AU$10 million in October 2005.
|EK-1215||Jan .1966||Ray Columbus||"We Want A Beat"
"I've Been There Baby"
|EK-1220||Jan. 1966||Jeff St John & The Id||"Lindy Lou"
"Somebody To Love"
|EK-1221||Jan. 1966||Marty Rhone||"Nature Boy" (Eden Ahbez)
"Every Minute of You" (Kipner-Keats)
|Produced by Nat Kipner|
|EK-1155*||Mar. 1966||Tony Barber||"Someday"
"Is It Raining"
|*reissue of Everybody's EK-1155|
|EK-1156*||Mar. 1966||Steve & The Board||"The
Giggle-Eyed Goo!" (N. Kipner-C.Grossman)
|Produced by Nat Kipner
*reissue of Everybody's EK-1156
|EK-1270||Mar. 1966||Tony Summers & The Echoes||"I'm On The Right Side"
"I only have myself to blame"
|EK-1271||Mar. 1966||Steve & The Board||"Margot"
"I've Just Realised"
|EK-1272||May 1966||Chris Hall & The Torquays||"Don't Ask Me Why"
"I Can't Go On"
|EK-1280||Jun. 1966||Geoff "tangle-Tongue" Mack||"I've Had Everything"
"Give It A Go, Joe"
|EK-1294||Mar. 1966||Marty Rhone||"Thirteen Women"
"I Can Tell"
|EK-1321||Apr. 1966||Tony Barber||"Wait By The Water"
|EK-1328||May 1966||Jeff St John & The Id||"The Jerk"
"Take This Hurt Off Me"
|EK-1345||May 1966||The Bee Gees|| "Monday's Rain"
|EK-1346||May 1966||Ronnie Burns||"Very Last Day"
"Let It Be Me"
|EK-1381||June 1966||Steve & The Board||"I Call My Woman Hinges" (Kipner-Keats)
"I Want" (Keats)
|Produced by Nat Kipner|
|EK-1383||June 1966||Marty Rhone & The Soul Agents||"I Want You Back"
"What More Can I Do"
|EK-1384||June 1966||The Bee Gees||"Monday's Rain"
"All My Life"
|EK-1401||June 1966||Tony Barber||"Wondrous Place"
"No No No"
|EK-1446||Aug. 1966||Jeff St John & The Id||"Black Girl"
|EK-1447||Aug. 1966||Ronnie Burns||"True Ture Love"
"Too Many People"
|EK-1463||Aug. 1966||Steve & The Board||"Now I'm Older"
"So Why Pretend"
|Produced by Nat Kipner|
|EK-1474||Sep. 1966||The Bee Gees||"Spicks and Specks"
"I Am The World"
|EK-1570||Nov. 1966||Steve & The Board||"Good for nothing Sue" (Alex Hill)
"Sally Was A Good Girl" (H. Cochran)
|Produced by Nat Kipner|
|EK-1571||Dec. 1966||Marty Rhone||"Village Tapestry" (Rhone)
"She Is Mine" (Kenny Lynch)
|Produced by Nat Kipner|
|EK-1578||Dec. 1966||Ronnie Burns||"Coalman"
"All The King's Horses"
|EK-1579||Nov. 1966||Tony Barber||"Looking For A Better Day"
"I Don't Want You Like That"
|EK-1606||Dec. 1966||Jeff St John & The Id||"Big Time Operator"
"Sister's Got A Boyfriend"
|Produced by Pat Aulton|
|EK-1634||Jan. 1967||The Bee Gees||"Born A Man"
|EK-1681||Feb. 1967||Will Rushton & Arlene Dorgan||"Madam Butterfly"
"Say That You Want Me"
|EK-1690||Mar. 1967||Will Rushton & Arlene Dorgan||"St Vitus Dance"
"I Want To Ring Bells"
|EK-1715||Apr. 1967||Jeanine||"So Long Boy"
"Don't say No"
|EK-1730||Apr. 1967||Jeff St John & The Id||"You Got Me hummin' "
|EK-1737||Apr. 1967||Tony Barber||"Birds Eye View"
"Woman of Stone"
|EK-1771||May 1967||Barrington Davis||"As Fast As I Can"
"Raining Teardrops" (Maurice Gibb-Nat Kipner)
|EK-1789||May 1967||Ronnie Burns||"Exit Stage Right"
"In The Morning"
|EK-1790||May 1967||Marty Rhone||"No No No No No"
"Tell Me Love"
|EK-1798||May 1967||The Bee Gees||"New York Mining Disaster 1941"
"I Can't See Nobody"
|EK-1818||June 1967||The Sunsets||"The Hot Generation"
"This Is What It's All About"
|EK-1845||July 1967||The Kids||"How Many Birds"
|EK-1891||July 1967||The Bee Gees||"To Love Somebody" / Close Another Door"|
|EK-1941||Aug. 1967||The Ram Jam Big Band||"My Girl"
"I Didn't Know"
|EK-1942||Aug. 1967||Ronnie Burns||"We've Got A Good Thing Going"
"Can't You Feel"
|EK-1958||Oct. 1967||The Bee Gees||"Massachusetts"
"Baker of the UFO"
|EK-1984||Sep. 1967||Janice Slater||"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
"Let The Love Come Through"
|EK-1988||Sep. 1967||Freddy Hampton||"Felino Malone"
"Guess I Know"
|EK-1989||Oct. 1967||Fia Karen||"You Don't Know Here Your Interests Lie"
"I'm Making The Same Mistakes Again"
|EK-1990||Oct. 1967||Dianne Horder||"Here Come the Morning"
"Don't Bother Me"
|EK-2016||Oct. 1967||Jeff St John & Yama||"Everybody's Gone"
"Nothing Comes Easy"
|EK-2053||Nov. 1967||Marty Rhone||"Lonely Too Long"
|EK-2064||Nov. 1967||The Dave Miller Set||"Why Why Why"
"Hard Hard Year"
|EK-2092||Dec. 1967||The Bee Gees||"World"
"Sir Geoffrey Saved The World"
|EK-2125||Jan. 1968||The Ram Jam Big Band||"Sunshine And I Feel Fine"
|EK-2149||Jan. 1968||Ronnie Burns||"When I Was Six Years Old"
"So good Together"
|EK-2181||Feb. 1968||The Bee Gees||"Words"
|EK-2276||Apr. 1968||The Ram Jam Big Band||"I Can't Let Go Of This Feeling"
"Funny How Time Slips Away"
|EK-2277||May 1968||The Dave Miller Set||"Hope"
"Havin' A Party"
|EK-2278||Apr. 1968||Marty Rhone||"She's Coming Home"
"Hurry Poor Working Man"
|EK-2279||Apr. 1968||The Swingin' Times||"Sue For Two"
|EK-2291||May 1968||The Bee Gees||"Jumbo" / The Singer Sang His Song"|
|EK-2362||June 1968||Dianne Horder||"The Golden Days"
"Here At The Stage Door"
|EK-2438||July 1968||Mike Preston||"Wonderful Wonderful World"
|EK-2482||Aug. 1968||The Bee Gees||"I Just Gotta Get A Message To You"
|EK-2550||Sep. 1968||The Dave Miller Set||"Let's Get Together"
"A Bread and Butter Day"
|EK-2615||Nov. 1968||1863 Establishment||"Picture of a Girl"
"Gained for a Fall"
|EK-2627||Oct. 1968||Ronnie Burns||"Age of Consent"
|EK-2655||Dec. 1968||Mike Preston|| "Christmas Alphabet"
|EK-2725||Feb. 1969||The Bee Gees||"I Started A Joke"
|EK-2728||Jan. 1969||The Trojans||"Even Dolls Can Cry"
"Look At Granny Run Run"
|EK-2820||Mar.1969||The Bee Gees||"First of May"
|EK-2877||Mar. 1969||Ronnie Burns||"How'd We Ever Get This Way"
"Harry The Happy Hooligan"
|EK-2879||Mar. 1969||Mike Preston||"Buena Sera Mrs Campbell"
"Another Go Round"
|EK-3020||May 1969||Steve Carey||"Give Your Best"
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
|EK-3025||May 1969||GTV-9 Orchestra & Chorus||"God Bless Australia" (vocal)
"God Bless Australia" (instrumental)
|EK-3035||June 1969||The Ram Jam Big Band||"Lost and Found"
|EK-3065||June 1969||The Bee Gees||"Tomorrow Tomorrow"
"Sun in my Morning"
|EK-3158||July 1969||Marty Rhone||"Ruby with the red hair"
|EK-3160||July 1969||The Dave Miller Set||"Mr Guy Fawkes"
"Someone Is Sure To"
|EK-3184||Sep. 1969||Robin Gibb||"Saved By The Bell"
"Mother and Jack"
|EK-3236||Sep. 1969||The Bee Gees||"Don't Forget To Remember"
|EK-3305||Oct. 1969||The Mark IV||"Groove with What You've Got"
"It's For You"
|EK-3318||Sep. 1969||Sharon Redd and Keith Glass||"Easy To Be Bad"
|EK-3379||Nov. 1969||Don Lane||"You're Everything"
"The Small Exception of Me"
|EK-3380||Nov. 1969||Ronnie Burns||"Smiley"
|EK-3381||Oct. 1969||The Wheelbarrow||"Dame Zara"
"Trying So Hard"
|EK-3435||Dec. 1969||Robin Gibb||"One Million Years"
|EK-3497||Feb. 1970||Robin Gibb||"August October"
"Give Me A Smile"
|EK-3562||Feb. 1970||Mike Preston||"Cellophane Disguise"
"The Honey Wind Blows"
|EK-3571||Mar. 1970||The Dave Miller Set||"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is"
"No Need To Cry"
|EK-3576||Mar. 1970||Jeff St John & Copperwine||"Could Nine"
"Days To Come"
|EK-3579||Mar. 1970||The Bee Gees||"I.O.I.O."
|EK-3637||Mar. 1970||Marty Rhone||"So You Want To Be A Pop Singer"
"As The Sun Goes Down"
|EK-3643||Apr. 1970||Maurice Gibb||"railroad"
"Ive Come Back"
|EK-3660||May 1970||The Paul McKay Sound||"Melanie"
"Do Your Own Thing"
|EK-3735||July 1970||Barry Gibb||"I'll Kiss Your Memory"
|EK-4002||Nov. 1970||Dave Miller, Leith Corbett & Friends||"Reflections of a Pioneer"
|EK-4051||Dec. 1970||The Bee Gees||"Lonely Days"
"Man For All Seasons"
|EK-4112||Jan. 1971||Ronnie Burns||"Prophet"
|EKZ-4206||? 1971||The Bee Gees||"If I Only Had My Mind On Something Else"
|EK-4253||June 1971||The Bee Gees||"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"
|EK-4459||1971||The Bee Gees||"Don't Want To Live Inside Myself"
"Walking Back To Waterloo"
|EK-4463||1972||Syrius||"I've Been Down This Before"
"Concerto Part 2"
|EK-4522||Jan. 1972||Ronnie Burns||"If I Die"
"Such A Girl"
|EK-4533||1972||The Bee Gees||"My World"
|EK-4572||Mar. 1972||Fielding & Dyer||"The Whale"
"Bay St, Coventry"
|EK-4575||May 1972||The Paul McKay Sound||"Do You Really Have A Heart"
"Hard To Keep Up With You"
|EK-4657||May 1972||Factory||"Live Until You Die"
|EK-4735||July 1972||The Bee Gees||"Run To Me"
"Road To Alaska"
|EK-4750||July 1972||Carrl & Janie Myriad||"Back To The Wildwoods Again"
"The Ballad of Rachelene"
|EK-4895||undated||The Bee Gees||"Alive"
"Paper Mache Cabbages and Kings"
|EK-5086||Apr. 1973||The Bee Gees||"Saw A New Morning"
"My Life Has Been A Song"
|K-5221||Nov. 1973||The Bee Gees||"Wouldn't I Be Someone"
|K-5492||May 1972||The Bee Gees||"Mr Natural"
"It Doesn't Matter Much To Me"
|EX-11134||1966||Steve & The Board||Steve & The Board|
|EX-11179||1966||Tony Barber||Waiting By The Water|
|EX-11194||1967||Steve & The Board||I Call My Woman Hinges|
|EX 11201||1966||Ronnie Burns||This is Ronnie Burns|
|EK-11220||1966||The Bee Gees||Spicks and Specks|
|EX-11247||1967||Jeff St John & The Id||Big Time Operator|
|EX-11248||1966||Tony Barber||Lookin' For A Better Day|
|EX-11285||1967||Jeff St John & The Id||Watch Out - You Got Me Hummin'|
|EX-11319||1967||Ronnie Burns||Exit Stage Right|
|EX-11383||1967||Ronnie Burns||We Had Good Thing Going|
|EX-11454||1968||Ronnie Burns||When I Was Six Years Old|
|EX-11461||1968||The Ram Jam Big Band||The Ram Jam Big Band|
|EK-11530||1968||The Dave Miler Set||The Dave Miller Set|
|EX-11594||1969||Ronnie Burns||Age of Consent|
|EK-11608||1969||The Dave Miller Set||Mr Guy Fawkes|
|EX-11735||1970||Jeff St John & Copperwine||Sing A Simple Song|
|EX-11780||1971||Ronnie Burns||The Prophet|
|EL-31882||1966||Tony Barber||Someday ... Now|
|EL-31997||1966||Steve & The Board||Giggle-Eyed Goo|
|1967||Jeff St John & The Id||Big Time Operators|
|SEL-933742||1970||Jeff St John & Copperwine||Joint Effort|
|SEL-934008||1970||Dave Miller, Leith Corbett & Friends||Reflections Of A Pioneer|
|?||1971||Ronnie Burns||The Best Of Ronnie Burns|
|SEL-934500||1972||Jeff St John||The Best of Jeff St John|
|SEL-933544||1970||Various artists||Hair (original Australian cast soundtrack)|
References / Links
Spin Dried: a complete annotated discography of Australia's Spin record label 1966-1974 (Moonlight Publishing, 2007)
Nat Kipner and The Bee Gees
Ossie Byrne and The Bee Gees
Spinning Around: the Festival Records story (Powerhouse Publishing, 2001)
Hank B. Facer
Spin label discography
MIRL Discography No. 24, February 1982 (Museum of Indigenous Recording Labels, 1982)
Harry M. Miller
My Story (Macmillan, 1983)