Skyhooks, a legend of Australian rock

First Skyhooks page on the Net - Created 16/10/96

Skyhooks were one of the great Australian rock music bands of the 70's, even lingering into the 80's and 90's. They are one of the earliest rock bands I can remember listening to, in the mid 70's when Suzi Quatro was also really popular and young girls with no taste mobbed the Bay City Rollers!

One of the more amazing things to me about Skyhooks is that not only has the band's music managed to survive for decades, but the best known players, Shirley (I don't think anyone calls him Graeme, do they?) Strachan and Red (occasionally called Redmond) Symons are still well known. Shirl has been hosting Tattslotto draws and lifestyle programmes on TV in recent years. He made the news on Wed, 19/3/97, when, while getting into his car to drive into work as brekky announcer at MMM Brisbane, someone wearing a balaclava and wielding a truncheon jumped him. He was hit on the back, arms and legs before he managed to drive off. Shirl said in an interview: "I know what it's like to have a close encounter of the masked kind."

Red is a long-term regular on Hey Hey It's Saturday, being the resident "Red Faces" judge who gongs the most excruciatingly awful acts off when the guest judges have totally lost their senses and are too mortified to act.

I don't know much about what the others are doing now, but the net is a wonderful way of finding these things out, and as more info comes to me, it'll appear here. Greg Macainsh (who wrote most of the lyrics) has an account on the net and I hear he's currently studying law. Freddy "Kaboodleschnitzer" Strauks, I've heard nothing about in years.

I discovered that Bob "Bongo" Starkie opened a bar in Adelaide after his Skyhooks days and was apparently mates with Ronnie Biggs (of Great Train Robbery fame) and bought an island retreat with him. More details on this page by David Keats.

For a period, Bob Spencer was on guitar in place of Red. A friendly reader of the Web tells me Bob is currently living in Katoomba in Blue Mountains and is in the process of setting up a state of the art recording studio, The Freezer. He is also involved in a blues band. The Freezer will have a Web page soon, so I am told, so there'll be a link to it here as soon as it's up and known to me.

Their last hit, Jukebox in Siberia, made it to number 1 in the Australian charts.

Back in the early 70's, here are some things that the media said about Skyhooks:
"They succeed in looking slick, ahuman, nervy ... It's not simple rock 'n' roll, but it isn't genocide either..." - Rolling Stone
"Drag kings..." - The Australian
"Oh dear, aren't they stunning..." - Molly Meldrum

There is lots of useful information on their early years in the book "Skyhooks Million Dollar Riff", by Jenny Brown. (ISBN: 0 909109 01 X)

Only one band that I've found on the net, Girl Monstar, acknowledges having played support to the 'Hooks, and they have a good page that's really easy to read with Lynx too!

Somehow, Skyhooks don't even seem to exist in the major lyrics pages on the net, so here's an excerpt from one of their earlier songs, Women In Uniform:

"Khaki, navy blue and brass buttons, bring me to my knees
A peak cap and a badge or two, oooh, they're such a tease
So, girls, if a man you need just won't come across
Put on a uniform, show him who's the boss

(have a listen ...)
Women in uniform, sometimes they look so cold
Women in uniform, but, oooh, they feel so warm
Women in uniform, khaki, white and blue
Women in uniform, coming after you"

Around 1980, Iron Maiden did a cover version of Women In Uniform, but those lyrics don't include the portion I listed above! A number of the Iron Maiden lyrics are different, too. Either that or the guy who put them on the Web got them wrong. Can you spot the changes? One obvious one is that "She leaned over said; Give it to me" in the Iron Maiden version was "She leaned over and said 'coffee, tea or me'" in the Skyhooks version. I should get around to putting the 'Hooks one here in full, shouldn't I?

Another Skyhooks song that is definitely available overseas is Horror Movie, which appears on the Elvira Presents Haunted Hits CD! Two of their early favourites were You Just Like Me Cos I'm Good In Bed and All My Friends Are Getting Married.

If anyone has any more lyrics lists or useful info online or that they would like to , please do so!

There isn't much information about Skyhooks on the web. An official Skyhooks page was finally started up during 1997. Despite them not being all that well known outside Australia, they still have a small number of devotees in other countries. I know of one Skyhooks page outside Australia, done by a Swedish guy.

... to visit a guide to everything related to Australian Music, visit the Australian Music Monolith.