The Valentines were an Australian rock ‘n’ roll band active from 1966-1970, chiefly noted for their lead singers, Bon Scott, who later went on to great success as lead vocalist with AC/DC, and Vince Lovegrove, who subsequently became a successful music journalist and manager of Divinyls.
The band was formed in late 1966 with the amalgamation of Perth groups The Spektors and The Winstons. They capitalised on the success of both the former bands, plus the interest created by having two lead singers in Scott and Lovegrove. Inspired by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and local stars The Easybeats, they enjoyed considerable local success and released a few singles.
Alongside their Adelaide contemporaries Zoot, Perth pop group The Valentines was, for a brief period, one of the most popular bands in the country. Although they started out a energetic soul/R&B band, their best known image was associated with the so-called “bubblegum pop” phenomenon of 1968-70. But there was a wild side to the band which was evident in their live performances (and their off-stage carousing). These days, of course, they’re best known by reference to the fact that one of the singers ended up in a little band called AC/DC — although the enormous interest in them has resulted in many previously unreleased tracks becoming available in recent years.
The Valentines formed in Perth in mid-1966, bringing together members of three leading local beat groups: Scott and Milson were from The Spektors, Lovegrove, Ward and Cooksey from The Winztons, and Findlay from top WA band Ray Hoff & The Off Beats. Playing a mixture of soul, R&B and mod covers, by the start of 1967 they were already Perth’s top group. A major drawcard was the double-vocal attack of dynamic frontmen Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove, and within a few weeks of their live debut they were packing in crowds at their shows at venues like Canterbury Court and the Swanbourne Surf Livesaving Club (known locally as the Swanbourne Stomp).
It wasn’t long before their local popularity came to the attention of Martin Clarke, who operated Perth’s only record label in the 1960’s, Clarion. The Valentines signed to Clarion in March 1967 and released their first single in May. The single was a good indication of where their early influences lay – the A-side was a cover of Arthur Alexander’s “Every Day I Have To Cry”, and backed by a cover of “I Can’t Dance With You”, an early track by British mod icons The Small Faces. It was a strong beginning, sellling well locally and peaking at #5 on the Perth charts.
- Bon Scott – vocals
- Vince Lovegrove – vocals
- Wyn Milsom – guitar
- Ted Ward – guitar (1967-69), bass guitar (1969-70)
- Bruce Abbott – bass guitar (1967-68)
- John Cooksey – bass guitar (1968-69)
- Warwick Findlay – drums (1967-68)
- Doug Lavery – drums (1968-69)
- Paddy Beach – drums (1969-70)
While the Valentines produced many hit singles, unfortunately they never recorded an album.