It’s the first day back after the Christmas and New Year break for most Brits. And it’s only Tuesday, but I wonder how many of us are already thinking about the end of the week and another opportunity to leave work behind again for the weekend.
Back in 1966 The Easybeats asked themselves pretty much the same question.
In their case, they were thinking about a week of drudgery at work and looking forward to going out and having a good time when work finished on Friday.
After countless parties with friends, dinners with families and nights out over the Christmas holidays, only the hardest of hard-core party animals will be looking forward to doing that all over again this coming Friday night.
Looking forward to the end of the working week, though…that’s much more likely to be what people are feeling inside as they step through the front door of their offices this morning.
The Easybeats were described as an Australian group, although strictly speaking the band was formed out of immigrants to Australia from Holland and the UK.
Certainly they had their early successes in Australia and used their time there to work on their craft. To this day, they’re seen as an iconic band of the 1960s in Australia and have been given many awards over the years to reflect that status.
Outside Australia, they only had one massive hit, “Friday On My Mind”, which was a Top 10 UK and a Top 20 US hit. Various troubles with management, drugs and alcohol blunted the careers they might otherwise have had.
Although it did lead directly to the management style of one of the most tightly-managed groups of the last 30 years or so — AC/DC.
Founding member of The Easybeats, and co-chief songwriter was George Young, the elder brother of Malcolm and Angus Young, who would later form AC/DC.
In fact, George Young and Harry Vanda, his fellow chief songwriter for The Easybeats, would go on to produce all of AC/DC’s early classic albums — including “TNT”, “Let There Be Rock” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his experiences in The Easybeats, big brother George helped his younger siblings form a legendarily tight family unit at the heart of AC/DC which only just about tolerated outsiders and took a lot of persuading to regard them as anything other than hired hands.
They kept their hands on the cash and controlled everything to make sure they weren’t ripped off the way George had been in The Easybeats. That’s why, 40 years on from their first release, AC/DC are still packing out stadiums and powering their way around the world with the help of the thundering chords from the Young brothers’ guitars.
George Young passed away in October 2017 and his brother Malcolm passed away not long after, leaving Angus Young the sole family member still involved with Australian rock gods AC/DC.
Time will tell whether AC/DC as we know them will hang up the towel now. But for one Scottish immigrant family — the Youngs — to have spawned not one, but two, of Australia’s most iconic rock bands…The Easybeats in the 1960s and AC/DC from the mid-1970s onwards…is quite an achievement.
But AC/DC wasn’t even a twinkle in anybody’s eye when George Young put pen to paper back in 1966 and, with bandmate Harry Vanda, came up with “Friday On My Mind”.
The song has a nice structure to it. There’s a stark contrast between the minor-key verses as Stevie Wright on lead vocals bemoans the drudgery of his working week, before exploding into major-key joy at the prospect of the weekend ahead of him.
Do the five day grind once more
I know of nothin’ else that bugs me
More than workin’ for the rich man
Hey! I’ll change that scene one day
Today I might be sad, tomorrow I’ll be glad
’Cause I’ve got Friday on my mind
I guess George Young did “change that scene one day”. As part of the family unit that ran one of the highest-grossing rock acts on the planet, I’m sure a fair bit of change fell into his pockets along the way.
And maybe, as we start the new year, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that we have within us the capability to “change that scene one day”. If we don’t like our life, we can start to build a new one. It might not happen overnight. There might be a few twists and turns along the way. But today we can take a step in the right direction, at least, and move towards making sure we get what we want out of life.
Which isn’t a bad way to start a new year.
I hope 2018 is good to you. But in the meantime, you can console yourself with this being a short week…and if you start every working week with Friday on your mind, the good news is that, this week at least, it isn’t too far away.
Here’s The Easybeats with “Friday On My Mind”…
The video is below, but if you prefer to listen to this track on Spotify, you can find it here…https://open.spotify.com/track/2CT08rpgdut8qQs7IAzMGi