Maybe not many of you will remember the famous words sung by Australian Crawl “Oh Errol, I will give anything just to be like him!” (lyrics from Errol by Australian Crawl, written by James Reyne and Guy McDonough). The boys from the great Australian surf rock band were singing about the life of their idol Australian born Errol Flynn. Guy McDonough was singing the song co-written with James Reyne.
Australian Crawl’s admiration of Errol Flynn would come from the great life that he led. At the height of his career Errol was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood and was well-known to have the choice of any women that he wanted from Hollywood’s best. A big wish, but James Reyne had quite a life himself, and it seemed like he at least tried to live the dream.
Rock journalist and commentator, Glenn A. Baker compared Australian Crawl with various fellow Australian bands:Australian Crawl seemed to step out of a tourism poster… Spruce, lean, tanned and young… They swam, they surfed, they radiated a healthy, wholly Australian aura… If Skyhooks has personified the bodgie larrikin and Cold Chisel the hard drinking working class man, Australian Crawl turned the bronzed lifesaver into a pop idol… Crawl songs seemed to eulogise hedonism, adventure and the great outdoors for an audience that couldn’t be bothered with Midnight Oil’s politics.—Glenn A. Baker, 1983
And that’s the way the guys from Australian Crawl were. And like another lead singer from a band that sprang up out of the same era, at the time James Reyne was far more popular than INXS then part-time front man Michael Hutchence who also lead quite a life. Australian Crawl’s popularity just sprang up out of nowhere. Once they hit the scene, they had hit after hit. James Reyne was the poster boy of the band, who wrote songs about women and the surfing lifestyle. The sound and the lyrics ring true for the surf generation of the time.
“Andreas been giving me a towel down
Standing on a palm beach shore
If n’those girls keep doing that thing
I can’t wait for next year
I’m gonna come back for more
Daughters of the northern coast
Sons of beaches don’t deliver the post” (Daughters of the Northern Coast by Australian Crawl, written by James Reyne and Guy McDonough)
James also turned his hand briefly to acting, playing the part of playboy type tennis coach, for which he won an award as best new talent. But he didn’t think much of his acting skills, so to this day he has never accepted another acting role. In his day James was a popular name on women’s lips. Even after he split with the band James was still writing hits that sold more than the biggest hits with the band. He wrote great music that brought up images of a lifestyle of surf, sand and women, that many others didn’t, and he had a great life doing it.
So, “James I will give anything just to be like you”
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