|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Industry|
Producer, engineer, musician, composer 1960s - present
It's safe to claim that, in our 'target' period of 1964-75, Pat Aulton was Australia's leading pop producer. Through his association with the Sunshine, Kommotion, Spin and Festival labels, Pat produced many of the most successful and important singles, EPs and albums of the period. In terms of prominence, productivity and chart success, his only serious rival in the period 1967-70 was renowned EMI house producer David Mackay.
After migrating from Ireland as a lad, Pat settled in Adelaide, where he began his career as a musician on the thriving pop scene that gave birth to The Twilights, The Masters Apprentices, Zoot and many other significant local acts. His first major gig was as the lead vocalist of Adelaide band The Clefs, formed by keyboard player Tweed Harris (who later led The Groove). As well as Pat and Tweed, this seminal band, which later evolved into Levi Smiths Clefs, featured several other noted performers including singers Barrie "The Bear" McAskill and Bev Harrell, and bassist Bruce Howe (Fraternity).
Pat then linked up with Adelaide promoter Ivan Dayman, who was in the process of builing up his Sunshine music mini-empire, which included artist management, a chain of venues in several major cities including the fabled Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane, and the Sunshine and Kommotion record labels. Beginning with the first Sunshine releases by Normie Rowe, Pat taught himself how to produce records -- a skill at which he was obviously a natural -- and he produced many of the most successful recordings of the period including Normie's landmark double A-side smash"Shakin' All Over" / "Que Sera Sera", which is believed to be the biggest-selling Australian single of the 1960s. He also produced several singles for the shortlived Kommotion label.
Around the beginning of 1967 Dayman got into serious financial difficulties. Kommotion folded, Sunshine was taken over by Festival and Pat discovered that as a director, he was liable for part of the debts Dayman incurred. As a result he had his car and furniture repossessed and was out of work until Fred Marks of Festival cam,e ot his rescue, offering him the position of staff producer, concentrating on pop artists. Luckily for Pat, this coincided with Festival's move to new premises in Pyrmont and the upgrading of its studio with new 4-track equipment. As it was installed, Pat taught himself engineering and as a result he single-handedly produced, engineered and arranged most of tracks he worked on, as well as contributing uncredited backing vocals and additional instruments.
Pat's amazing CV as a producer-engineer for Festival includes artists such as The Affair, The Executives, classic prog LPs including Kahvas Jute's Wide Open and Jeff St John & Copperwine's Joint Effort and early singles by Sherbet, to name just a few. Pat has also had a very successful career writing and producing advertising jingles and TV themes. Among his famous creations are the theme for the ABC's long-running current affairs show This Day Tonight, TAA's early-70s "Up Up and Away" jingle, the ALP's indelible "It's Time" theme song (probably the most successful political campaign song in Australian political history), and the perennial "Singapore Girl" jingle for Singapore Airlines (created in 1972 and in use ever since).
Pat recently wrote the following potted history of his career for Barrie and Jan McAskill's website:
"... Ivan Dayman whisked me away from the
Clefs and Barrie (McAskill) did a sterling job as my replacement: The
Norwood Ballroom with Neville Dunns Planets, The Hi-Marks plus a couple
of other bands were my day to day work until Ivan decided to invade
Melbourne. So I relocated and worked at Town Hall dances some being
Preston, Canterbury, Ballarat and Bendigo."
"Then Ivan decided to invade Brisbane.So I became the emcee and singer with three bands working Cloudland Ballroom and during the day -- I was also the cleaner. Then, one day Ivan, Nat Kipner and I decided to form Sunshine Records. Normie Rowe was our first artist but we didn't know what a producer was so I did it anyway in Bill Armstrong's Studio which was then at St Kilda later Albert Park."
"Tweed Harris was about to fire me as a rhythm guitar player until I convinced him that I was a better singer than the bass player. So career one was singing, career two was MC and singer at many venues and career three was record producer.
"From there we took Normie on the road where I was back stage announcer and opening act on all the tours, the likes of (Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney and Bobby Rydell etc)."
"Ivan then decided that we should have an office at Festival Records in Sydney. We were on a roll until Ivan faced some financial difficulties and Sunshine was absorbed by Festival. They took my car and furniture and I was out of work until Fred Marks, who ran Festival gave me the job of Artists and Repertoire producer.
"The engineer in my department was a nine to five man so I gave him to Joe Halford -- rebuilt the studio to four-track (so lucky) and taught myself engineering as they built it over a two week period. During this time I was asked by Festival to put all of the vocals on a backing track that was recorded for another vocalist, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", I went to work and this recording was released under the name of The Love Machine. This recording had great success on the charts."
"Career number four!! One day, having arranged and sung for The Executives a call came from the agency that handled Qantas, Asking, if I would write and sing a commercial for them.I wrote it and Carol King and I sang it -- I believe I did twelve parts. A new door opens!! I finally resigned, very amicably from Festival and set up my jingle business in about 1970-71. Eight years of Coca Cola did not do my reputation any harm apart from the many others that I wrote ... Weetbix ... Mitsubishi I also had the pleasure of engaging Barrie to perform a couple of jingles I wrote and sang harmonies with him ... Jim Beam ... Maxwell House."
"Career Number 5: So life went on until 1976 when I got a phone call from New York: "Hey man we love your stuff." To cut a long story short, I finished up working as a composer/writer and serious session singer in New York for two years. Very profitable but very wearing I was bringing two children up on my own and to be fair to them I came home in 1978 and returned to jingles, which with my added kudos from New York gave me a good living. Being over 60 has now slowed down the work. So with out any further ramblings, here I am beautifully ensconced in Noosa and have been for 11 years. "
My career number six is that I am now the flavour of the month as a vocal coach. The last five yards for all those who aspire to become an entertainer, I teach singing and stage presentation. Career number seven is in my computer which is a book -- not about me but a carefully crafted Mills & Boone with a twist."
Known production credits 1964-75
|date||The Black Diamonds||"See The Way"||labelcatno|
|date||The Black Diamonds||"I Want, Need, Love You"||labelcatno|
|1966||Pat Aulton Mob||"March of the Mods" (Kommotion Theme) / "What did the Seagull Say"||Kommotion KK 1358|
|1968||The Affair||"Shoeshine Boy" / "What Became Of Mary"||Festival FK 2450|
|1966||The Lost Souls||This Life Of Mine"||Sunshine QK-1469|
|Apr. 1965||Normie Rowe||"It Ain't Necessarily So" / "Gonna Leave This Town"||Sunshine|
|6/65||Normie Rowe||"I (Who Have Nothing)" / "I Just Don't Understand"||Sunshine|
|9/65||Normie Rowe||I Confess / Everything's Alright||label|
|9/65||Normie Rowe||Que Sera Sera / Shakin' All Over||label|
|11/65||Normie Rowe||Tell Him I'm Not Home / Call On Me||label|
|3/66||Normie Rowe||The Breaking Point / Ya Ya||label|
|6/66||Normie Rowe||Pride & Joy / The Stones That I Throw||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||It Ain't Necessarily So (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||Normie Rowe Sings (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||Que Sera Sera (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||Shakin' All Over (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||Tell Him I'm Not Home (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||Call On Me (EP)||label|
|date||Normie Rowe||The Stones That I Throw (EP)||label|
|1968||The Love Machine||"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" / "Love At First Sight"||Festival FK 4613|
|1967||The Dave Miller Set||"Why, Why Why" / "Hard Hard Year"||Spin|
|1968||The Dave Miller Set||"Hope" (Arr: Sven Libaek / Pat Aulton)||Spin|
|1968||The Dave Miller Set||"Get Together" / "Bread and Butter Day"||Spin|
|1969||The Dave Miller Set||"Mr Guy Fawkes"||Spin|
|1970||The Dave Miller Set||"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" / "No Need To Cry"||Spin|
|Mar. 1971||Sherbet||"Can You Feel It Baby" / "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)"||Infinity / Festival INK 4147|
|Oct. 1971||artist||"Free The People" / "All Our Yesterdays"||Infinity / Festival INK 4405|
|7/65||Normie Rowe||It Ain't Necessarily So, But It Is Normie Rowe|
|?/65||Normie Rowe||Normie Rowe A Go Go|
|?/66||Normie Rowe||So Much Love From Normie Rowe|
|1970||Jeff St John & Copperwine||Joint Effort|
|1971||Kahvas Jute||Wide Open|
TV and advertising
ABC Television (1967)
|This Day Tonight (TDT) theme|
|1972||Allison McCallum & others (1972)||"It's Time" (Pat Aulton-Paul Jones) ALP campaign theme|
|1972||Singapore Airlines (1972-present)||"Singapore Girl" advertising jingle (producer / composer)|
|1975||"ABC Colour Theme" (Pat Aulton and John Wood)||ABC Television|
References / Links
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock (Outback Press, 1978)
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1995)
Barrie and Jan McAskill website