Record producer, music publisher

The late Edward 'Ted' Albert is acknowledged as one of the founders of the modern Australian music industry, and through their influential publishing house, J. Albert & Son, the Albert family has played a major role in Australian music for over a century. 

In the 1960s Ted Albert broke new ground, becoming one of Australia's first independent record producers with the Albert Productions company and label. As a producer, Ted's name will always be inextricably linked with his biggest discovery, The Easybeats, whom he signed in 1965. Ted produced all their classic Australian recordings, including the hits "Women", "Come and See Her", "I'll Make You Happy", "Wedding Ring" and "Sorry".

Ted was the great-grandson of Jacques Albert, a Swiss-born music teacher who migrated to Australia in 1884. Jacques and his son Michel Francois (Frank) established established J. Albert & Son in 1890, when they began importing violins from Europe. Within a decade Alberts had become one of the leading sheet music publishers in Australia. They published the Boomerang Songster, containing lyrics of popular Australian songs, bought the Australian rights to songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and other major songwriters of the era and acted as the local agent for many overseas publishers. Until 1995 J. Albert & Son also owned Macquarie Radio, one of Australia's largest radio networks, which included 2UW, Sydney's top pop station in the 1960s.

When Ted entered the family business he was keen to build an Australian catalogue to complement Albert's international repertoire. His opportunity came when the Beat Boom swept the world in 1963-64. Ted and his father decided to establish a new division to allow them to expand into record production. In June 1964 Ted's father Alexis wrote to their New York lawyer (who had looked after Alberts' publishing interests in the USA for many years). The letter said in part:

"... the time is at hand for a real boom in local compositions and recordings and we have therefore entered this field with much more drive than ever before. We have formed an A&R Department and have inaugurated a recording subsidiary we have called 'Albert Productions'."

Ted became the managing director of Albert Productions, which was incorporated in 1963. During this formative period Ted worked closely with EMI's Tony Geary, A&R manager of the Parlophone label, with which Albert Productions signed a deal for the manufacture and distribution of its recordings. 

Ted produced a string of classic Aussie Sixties hits, beginning with his first major pop signing, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, who scored one of the first big local hits of the 'Beat' era with their version of "Poison Ivy" (although it should be noted that this track was in fact produced at Festival Records and released on the Linda Lee label prior to the Aztecs singing with Albert Productions). This was soon followed by the many classic recordings by The Easybeats as well as other  The Throb; Ted also played on some of the Easybeats records, all of which were produced by Ted. Although he began as a novice producer, Ted had an intuitive gift for selecting material, finding the right sound and honing the 'feel' of a song, and his production skills were later highly praised by George Young.

When The Easybeats left for the UK in mid-1966 Ted Albert went with them, and he produced their first UK recordings, but unfortunately these were rejected by the band's American label, United Artists, who replaced Ted with veteran American freelance producer Shel Talmy (The Who, The Kinks). Although Alberts continued to release Easybeats recordings in Australia, they eventually ahd to stop bankrolling The Easybeats' recordings. As a result, an LP of new songs recorded with famed British producer-engineer Glyn Johns was shelved, and it would be more than a decade before this material was finally released by the Raven label.

Albetr Productions was effectively put ont hold in the late 1960s, but Ted reactivated the company in late 1969 with two releases by Sydney band The Marksmen. In 1970 he established the Albert Productions record label. Early releases included recordings produced by visiting British pop svengali Simon Napier-Bell, among them singles by Alison MacCallum and Bobbi Marchini and John Paul Young's first hit "Pasadena". Other significant releases produced by Ted Albert in this period were Ted Mulry's breakthrough 1971 hit "Falling In Love Again" and Ted's 1973 solo album I Won't Look Back.

In early 1973 former Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young returned to Australia, having finally cleared the debts accumulated over the final years of The Easybeats. Together Ted, Harry and George and engineer Bruce Brown set up Albert Studios in central Sydney and over the next ten years they were either producers or executive producers of the entire Alberts roster, which became arguably the most successful Australian label of the late 1970s and early 1980s, releasing a string of classic singles and albums by AC/DC, John Paul Young, William Shakespeare, Stevie Wright, TMG, Cheetah, The Angels, Rose Tattoo and Choirboys.

In 1989 Ted branched out into film, forming M&A Productions and commissioning young theatre director Baz Luhrmann to write and direct the company's first film Strictly Ballroom. Sadly, Ted died suddenly from a heart attack during 1990 just before the movie was finished, but his work was carried on by his wife Antoinette and his colleagues, who completed what became one of the most successful Australian films of all time. Integral to its popularity was the revival of JPY's classic "Love Is In The Air", which had renewed chart success in several countries as a result of its prominent use in the movie.  

Ted Albert was granted a posthumous lifetime achievement award at the 1991 ARIA Awards. The Australiasian Performing Rights Association (APRA), of which J. Albert & Sons was a founding member, also honoured Ted by estalishing the annual Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

Production credits

(under construction)

The Easybeats

All recordings, 1965-67
Ted Albert was the nominal producer of all the Australian recordings by The Easybeats (usually in collaboration with EMI's Tony Geary). He also produced the first Easybeats UK recording, "Baby I'm A-Comin'", which was not released.

The Missing Links

Mar. 1965
"We 2 Should Live" / "Untrue" (Parlophone A-8145)
Produced by Ted Albert / Albert Productions

The Throb

March 1966
"Fortune Teller" / "Believe In Me" (Parlophone A-8191)
Produced by Ted Albert / Albert Productions

July 1966
"Black" / "Turn My Head" (Parlophone A-8212)
Produced by Ted Albert / Albert Productions

The Marksmen

Aug. 1969
"Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You" / "The Way I Like It"  (Parlophone A-8860)
Produced by Ted Albert and Tony Geary

Nov. 1969

"A Day in the Life" / "We Got fun" (Parlophone A-8951)
Produced by Ted Albert and Tony Geary

Ted Mulry (solo)

Feb. 1971 
"Falling in Love Again" / "Louisa" (Albert Productions AP-9338)
Produced by Ted Albert

Feb. 1973
I Won't Look Back (Albert Productions APLP-003) LP
Produced by Ted Albert

Ted Mulry Gang (TMG):

Mar. 1975 (Albert Productions)
"Sunday Evenings" / "Here We Are"
Produced by Ted Albert

Sep. 1975 (Albert Productions AP-10830)
"Jump in My Car" / "I'm On Fire"
Produced by Ted Albert
National #1, 6 weeks / #2 Sydney, #1 Melbourne, #1 Brisbane, #1 Adelaide

Feb. 1976 (Albert Productions AP-11004)
"The Darktown Strutters Ball" / "She's For Me"
Produced by Ted Albert
National #3 / #2 Sydney, #2 Melbourne, #2 Brisbane, #4 Adelaide, #3 Perth

References / Links

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

Noel McGrath
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock (Outback Press, 1978)

Glenn A. Baker (edited by Fifa Riccobono, 2001)
Albert Productions - History

Terry Stacey
The Marksmen and Imagination

APRA website

ARIA website