[Stevie Wright astride a bronze lion in Trafalgar Sq., London, 1975. Photo entitled “Portrait of Stevie Wright, London, 1975” by Gary Ede, originally published here.]
One of the most significant non-Bon discoveries I made while working on the Bon Scott Blog was the music of Stevie Wright. By chance, I found Stevie’s album Hard Road at a flea market. I had a vague notion that Stevie had something to do with Bon, so I bought it for a mere seven bucks. Since then (my girlfriend gave me a record player for my birthday) and Hard Road has been on high rotation. It is brilliant.
Stevie really shines on this album – the writing, the voice, the guitar work, the production values (rough enough but still polished). Vanda and Young did really well here.
When I first heard the album, the similarity between Stevie and Bon stood out. Stevie’s infectious trick of inserting little asides at the end of verses “My mum and pop they told me, son, you know you’re just a fool (yes they did) / when I told them I was leaving home, I was leaving school (yes I was)” is something Bon picked up on. And even in the narrative of the album – about being on a hard road with just my dog and my guitar and so on, there is something pretty similar to Bon’s later “Long way to the top” and “showbusiness” line of song writing about the struggles of being an aspiring rock star.
Stevie was mooted by some to take over as singer in AC/DC when Bon died, but it never happened. Apparently Alberts (the record company) and the Youngs were pretty hardline in their no drugs policy, which ruled out Stevie. In fact, it seems he went off the rails not long after Hard Road. In 2004, he released an autobiography, which I am yet to discover (details here); and in 1999 Jack Marx wrote a book about him called Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright, which is pretty rare – there’s a good review of that book here, although it seems that Stevie does not endorse Marx’s version of events, which have been described as “one of the most morally clouded rock’n’roll biographies you will read anywhere“.
[poster image from here]
I note that wikipedia says he put out an album called Black-eyed Bruiser in 1975 (and the above image would support that idea!), but when I searched for Black-eyed Bruiser, I mostly found reference to an album by Rose Tattoo. Does anyone have any more info on that album?
Anyway, the point of this blog entry is to say I’m excited to discover that Stevie is headlining the Legends of Rock day at Byron Bay and Perth very soon. If anyone goes along, I’d love to hear how Stevie performs. Here’s his feature page on the concert website. And the concert will also feature Dave Tice and Mark Evans, who I saw performing their excellent blues at the Sando in Sydney a few months back.
oh, I just stumbled across some very thorough Wright-ology here.