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Battle Of The Sounds

The Battle of the Sounds became an annual band competition held across Australia from 1966 to 1972. Over this period a large number of New England groups took part in the Armidale heats promoted by 2AD.

The Battle of the Sounds started in 1964 as a talent quest for new unsigned bands in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with some 80-90 entrants from around Australia asked to submit tapes of themselves from which the judges picked the finalists. Only the 13 finalists were required to perform – The first winners were The Green Hill Singers from Melbourne (Prize money of $400 and an appearance on promoter Harry M Millers next Stadium Show, a radio interview and a single record release). These early events were promoted by Everybody’s Magazine. In 1967 Go-Set magazine took over the co-ordination role of the event.

The Battle of the Sounds became a National event from 1966 through to 1972. Hoadley’s, makers of Australia's famous Violet Crumble Bar, became sponsors in 1966 and the event became known as the "Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds".  

The contest was held nationally by having local heats organised by 80-90 radio stations across the country. 2AD staged the first Armidale heats in 1966 (which raised $202 for local charities), the winners were a Glen Innes band “The Boomerangs”.  2AD Announcer at the time Terry Gordon.

Bands worked their way up through the area finals to regional finals, state finals and then to the grand-final held in either Melbourne or Sydney.  


There was no entry fee, bands simply filled in a form - practiced - turned up on the day and played.

The rules only allowed five band members. Every band was given three minutes on stage, with judges awarding a maximum of 360 points for sound, arrangement, originality, presentation / stage presence, movement, appearance.

Winners of the 2AD heats then went on to Regional Heats in Newcastle. Another three minutes to show their wares, another set of judges. The Newcastle winners then went to Sydney for the state finals.

From the start there were great prizes to be won. In 1968 all State winners competed for first prize of a return passage to England on the Sitmar cruise line, two booked concerts in London and $1000 prize money.  Later the prize money increased to $2000, then $3000 and return flights to Los Angeles (early winners did not get the concerts).


Local Armidale Winners were:

Year
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
Winner
Boomerangs
Finx
Shades of Blue
Finx
Mantra
Mantra
Bogislav
From
Glen Innes
Armidale
Coffs Harbour
Armidale
Armidale
Armidale
Armidale

Local musician Brian Moore remembers.

The 1969 Battle of the Sounds was the peak year of the event with over 1000 bands entering and two Grand Finals, one for full bands and one for groups and singing groups that specialised in harmony vocals.

Battle of the Sound National Winners:

Year
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969

1969

1970
1971
1972
Winner
The Green Hill Singers
The Crickets
The Twilights
The Groop
The Groove
Main Grand Final...
Doug Parkinson in Focus
Vocal Group Grand Final…
The Affair   
The Flying Circus
Fraternity
Sherbet
Region
Melbourne
Melbourne
Adelaide
Melbourne
Melbourne

Melbourne

Sydney
Sydney
Adelaide
Sydney
Runners Up


The Loose Ends (Vic)
The Questions (NSW)
Masters Apprentices (SA)

Aesop’s Fables (NSW)

Mark VI (Qld)
Zoot (Vic)
Sherbet (NSW)
Jeff St John / Copperwine (NSW)

 

Pictured below, the Armidale band "The Finx", winners of the 1969 Armidale heats, many other prominent groups would go on to greater success having competed in the Battle of the Sounds until its conclusion in 1972.  But even today, get a couple of old musos together talking about the days of the Battle of the Sounds - their eyes light up and they’re away... re-telling the stories of old - Rock On!