MILESAGO – Industry

Engineer, producer, label owner and recording industry executive, 1956-1990s.

Ron's involvement in the development of the Australian Recording Industry is well recognised throughout Australia and overseas. His staunch advocacy of Australian records, his pioneering of and fight for changes in support of the Australian Recording Industry culminated in him receiving an MBE in 1979 for Services to The Australian Recording Industry.

In 1956 Ron's lifelong dedication to an industry he loves began. He joined W&G as a sales representative, just as they were starting up. For the next fourteen years he worked his way up through promotion, A&R and production. Ron first recorded such people as Diana Trask, Ernie Sigley and The Seekers, whom Ron was instrumental in getting signed to W&G for their first recordings.

After a decade with W&G and 2 years at Astor Records as Promotions Manager, Ron set up his own independent production company June Productions in 1968 and signed such artists as Matt Flinders, Liv Maessen, Anne & Johnny Hawker and The Strangers.

Ron went on to establish his own label, Fable Records in April 1970. Fable was the first independent label to achieve notable success. The first two records released on Fable were "Curly" by Jimmy Hannan and "Boom Sha La La Lo" by Hans Poulsen. Fable was established during the ongoing 1970 record ban, in which record companies would not permit their Australian or English records to be played at radio without a fee (pay to play).

In September 1972 Ron launched the Bootleg label to cater for rock/contemporary Australian acts. To assist with the administration of Bootleg, Brian Cadd took up post of manager, producer, composer as well as performer. The acts signed to Bootleg toured across Australia as a collective and "The Bootleg Family" was born.

At the helm of Fable-Bootleg, Ron launched the careers of many Australian now "household names". In the fourteen years under his direction Fable achieved incredible success and recognition. This included the first all-Australian international hit, The Pushbike Song by The Mixtures.  John Williamson received his first gold record for Old Man Emu. Liv Maessen became the first Australian female recording artist to be awarded a gold record for single sales of Knock Knock Who's There at 50,000 units. Both John Williamson and Liv Maessen were given their recording opportunities as winners from the famous NEW FACES on which Ron was a judge.

The Fable / Bootleg labels won eight of the sixteen awards presented to the Australian Record Industry in 1972 by the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters. Up There Cazaly (1979) which at the time became the biggest-ever selling Australian single, selling in excess of 250,000 units and achieving a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The song itself has now become the most widely recognised theme song in AFL history. At the end of his association with Fable in July 1984, the company had amassed 20 gold and platinum records as well as 32 industry awards.

Ron has battled and won many fights to improve the stature of the Australian Recording Industry. In the late 70's, together with other music industry leaders and key musicians Ron spearheaded the Australian Music Makers Association which lobbied Government, lead rallies and media focus all around the country for an increase in the quota of Australian music on Australian radio. The battle was fought over 3 years, much of that time Ron spent in the Australian Record Industry Tribunal hearings on behalf of the Australian Music Industry. Time and effort paid off for the industry with the quota being increased from 5% to 20% over a number of years.

Ron has continued to lobby internationally and nationally for the Australian Music Industry. Retirement has not diminished his support for the rights of survival for the Australian Music Industry as he joined forces for the reduction in the level of sales tax on recorded product in Australia.

Besides his coveted 1979 MBE for services to the Australian record Industry, Ron's awards include:

  • 1971 - the Go-Set Pop Poll Professional Non-Performers award for the biggest contribution to the Australian Pop Industry by an individual or company

  • 1972 - Australian Record Awards presented by the Commercial Radio Stations of Australia - Special Award of Merit for services to the Australian Record Industry.

  • 1974 First Moomba Music Industry awards - Presented to the person who has contributed significantly to the development of the Australian record and music industries.

  • 1979 Radio 3MP - 3MP Gull Award - Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Music Industry.

  • 1980 Advance Australia Award - Outstanding Contribution to the Recording Industry and Contribution to the Advancement and Enrichment of Australia, its' people and way of life.

  • 1992 Yamaha Award - Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Australian Music and Musicians over the past 35 years!

  • 1996 APRA - The Ted Albert Memorial Award for Significant Contribution to the Australian Music Industry.

Ron sold Fable Records in 1984 with a view to retiring, but like so many workaholics, the decision was made far too early. In October 1985 Ron joined AAV Australia, the company which he co-founded more than a decade earlier with music industry greats Bill Armstrong and Roger Savage, a role from which he has since retired.

It would be difficult for new talent and many music industry executives today to appreciate the climate of the Australian Music Industry some 30 years ago, that performers also had to fight for their rights then. One also has to understand the man whose concept, ambition and unstinting dedication to a cause was a leader in this quest. Armed only with his unshakeable belief in Australia, Australian talent and a dream not only for himself but for all Australians to be able to claim what was their inherent right - local support, airplay and a place in their own market.

Whenever there was an issue within the Australian music and Recording industry which worked against Australians taking equal place, Ron has been there tirelessly crusading, much of it behind the scenes, but he has always been there in the front line offensive.

Ron Tudor was the Australian Music Industry's “favourite son”, and he is now recognised as a "founding father". He was there when the first Australian records were being made. He saw after-hours warehouses turned into recording studios by night, toilets and stairwells converted to echo chambers. He knows more about the history, growth and making of Australian music than most people today.

It was Ron who recognised the potential of The Seekers and gave them their first recording contract and who also released them from that very same contract when they went to England, in order that they could sign their world wide deal. Without his encouragement John Farrar may not have gone on to be Olivia-Newton John's arranger - it was Ron who encouraged Farrar to try his hand at arranging in Australia, giving him his thorough grounding here before Farrar ventured overseas. It was Ron who first saw the potential of local Adelaide band, Mississippi, and encourage the Adelaide trio to augment and start touring with the basis of the band which became The Little River Band.

In his time Ron may have met royalty, mixed with media moguls, celebrities and shaken the hands of legendary music greats from all around the world including the likes of Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. But his greatest moments have been in witnessing the growth and success of our industry and many of Australia's very first recording artists climb their way to recognition at home and overseas.

Ron Tudor, is first and last, an Australian -- and by any measure, exceptionally proud of it. It is this fact that led him to fight so hard for himself and the Australian industry. It is through his vision, drive, enthusiasm and humour that he has gained the love and respect of the leaders at the helm of the Australian Record Industry today.


References / Links

Australian Record Industry Association


Adapted from the ARIA website