Moving Pictures is a Sydney-based rock/pop group formed in the 1980’s
The group was comprised of Alex Smith (vocals), Garry Frost (guitar), Andrew Thompson (saxophone), Charlie Cole (keyboards), Ian Lees (bass) and Paul Freeland (drums).
The band had several hit singles and albums in their native Australia, including the single “What About Me”, which remained at number one for two months in 1982. Its success led them to America where it also became a hit, reaching #29 on the Billboard singles chart. In fact, “What About Me” stayed in the Hot 100 for such a long time that it managed to make Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 list for 1983, at #88 – a rare feat for a single with such a low peak position.
Despite the song most people remember Moving Pictures for, the stirring Australian classic “What About Me” from 1983, the band formed in Sydney in 1978 as a rock and roll, R & B band. The group included singer Alex Smith, formerly of Bilgola Bop Band and This Side Up, guitarist/keyboardist Garry Frost from The Harps, keyboardist Charlie Cole, saxophonist Andrew Thompson, also of Bilgola Bop Band, another This Side Up former member Ian Lees on bass, and drummer Paul Freeland.
The bands live show was all about their rock leanings but, after signing to super manager Glenn Wheatleys label, they their first album, 1981s “Days Of Innocence”, which featured strong ballads that belied that live act. The albums biggest single “What About Me”. The single had been written by Garry Frost who, at the time, was working with autistic children in his day job. He’d literally gone out to get lunch at his local shop in the Sydney suburb of Annandale and seen a small boy not being noticed waiting at the counter. He was moved by the vision sufficiently to pen the tune. It was rarely played live by the band, when it was it was in a modern country style, and it was destined to never be recorded had their debut albums producer Charles Fisher not heard Frost and Smith tinkling around with the tune on the studio piano during a break in recording. Fisher had Moving Pictures record the song and the rest is history.
“What About Me?” stayed at the top of the Australian music charts for seven weeks & won the Best Single Award at the 1982 Count Down Awards. It also reached #19 in the American Top 20.
from the Harbour Agency
- Alex Smith – Vocals
- Garry Frost – Guitar
- Ian Lees – Bass
- Charlie Cole – Keyboards
- Paul Freeland – Drums
- Andy Thompson – Sax
- Kevin Bennett – Guitar
- Joey Amanta – Guitar
- Craig Foster – Guitar
- Mark Meyer – Drums
- Days of Innocence – 1982
- Matinee – 1983
- Last Picture Show
Moving Pictures were one of my favourite Aussie bands having had the opportunity to see them live at their peek is a very memorable experience. I was working with Mad Gorilla and we did a support with them at The Sundowner Hotel Sydney back in 1982. Not only were the guys great song writers and musos but were great to talk to after the gig i’m sure all the guys from Mad Gorilla will remember this night.
I was fortunate enought to record there concert they performed at The Hordern Pavillion Mothers Day 1982 and was broadcast on Channel 10 and 2MMM FM 105 Sydney soon after. I have re-enhanced the video and audio so it now sounds and looks good. I will split of the songs and post them to youtube over the next week but for now enjoy “This Must Be Love”
Moving Pictures at The Hordern Pavillion Mothers Day 1982 this concert was broadcast on Channel 10 and 2MMM FM 105 Sydney soon after. I have re-enhanced the video and audio so it now looks and sounds much better…. enjoy “Sisters of Mercy”
Moving Pictures at The Hordern Pavillion Mothers Day 1982 this concert was broadcast on Channel 10 and 2MMM FM 105 Sydney soon after. I have re-enhanced the video and audio so it now looks and sounds much better…. enjoy “Nothing To Do
Moving Pictures at The Hordern Pavillion Mothers Day 1982 this concert was broadcast on Channel 10 and 2MMM FM 105 Sydney soon after. I have re-enhanced the video and audio so it now looks and sounds much better. enjoy ” WINGS ”
Yes, they were one of the best ever Aussie groups -saw them many times, incl that concert at Hordern Pav ( with its bad accoustics ). Think they had Mark Meyer with them by that stage – a really top drummer, from Leon Berger’s band.
They were brilliant live but was much regret that the energy wasn’t captured on their first album -D.O.I. – overproduced for the American market. And did they ever record Pay the Piper in the studio ?
That song – largely written by Garry Frost ( genius songwriter and top guitarist ) is actually a rock classic. They opened at the Hordern Pav with it – but unfortunately Alex talked in the intro too much. Anyway…could you please put that one on You-tube ??!! Would be really glad. Email me about it if you like email@example.com
Pay the Piper was so powerful that sometimes an audience would be stunned by it…why they stopped closing with it – because people would get too overwhelmed to clap.
( One of their best songs was Alex’s ‘Chinese Nightlife’ never recorded. )
Hi Bob – just to clarify your memory – the drummer at the Hordern Pavillion concert was actually Paul Freeland. The drummer in the pic in the article is Mark Meyer. Given this is the “Australian Music History’ site, it’s a bit odd they used that pic as Paul was founding drummer and with the band longest.
Heard this on BBC radio 2 17 Feb 2009(yesterday)and brought back so many memories of the eighties. Living in the Uk we were 1st intro to Australian Rock with Men at Work in early 80s but the BBC did a documentary which I thought was entitled Australia Now in 82/83/84 and I videoed it, watched it a thousand times etc. This vid formed part of that doc.which also featured Spilt Endz of course, Australian Crawl, Midnight Oil and Mental as Anything as well as several others – I managed to get a Australian Crawl LP and Midnight Oil CDs but these guys I couldn’t. I lost the video when the betamax machine gave up if only I could get another copy!?!?! Or a complimantion album, Absolutely fantastic. Thank you for posting this.
I was the resident DJ at the Ambassoador Night Club in Newcastle NSW when Alex and the”Moving Picture Show” were braining it. Many the nights spent downing bourbons and talking …. with the boys after their concerts at the ‘Bass’. The band were influenced by Bruce Springsteen, Hall and Oates and harmonies by The Supremes and would ask me to play songs from these artists to vibe them before performing. I have worked with Chisel, The Oils, Misex etc and have to say, Moving Pictures were the best of the best. Miss them on stage but their music remains.. Rock On.
Moving Pictures were not the best of the best…they didn’t even come close to the performances of Cold Chisel or the Angels which were universally regarded as the best Australian rock acts of that period…Alex was a cocky little shit, and I dont know a lot of people that knew him that liked him.
Hi . Its your first wife here. Have had a little trouble finding you please email. Thanks Marisa
I was at that gig at the Hordern – there were 2 on the one day I think and I went to both. I still have the ticket stub. It was a weird line-up: Moving Pictures, The Church and Matt Finish…
I grew up across the road from Mark Meyer and his family I can always remember hearing Mark (before he joined Moving Pictures) and the guys playing in his parents back yard it gave me my love of aussie music and music in general which I still have to this day.Mark’s Dad & Mum were great neighbours and the boys never distured anybody in the neighbourhood with there playing and I can remember his his dad being so proud of him and how he loved to tell me how Mark was doing when he joined Moving Pictures. Ahh great memories 🙂
Managed to get hold of a live Cold Chisel album and inc this and others on i pod. Just great.
G’day, does anyone know where i could get in touch with Paul Freeland ? If so could you give him my email please. Or get in touch with me on: 0421851142 It’s a long story but not heavy or sad.
i would like to get in touch with paul freeland.
paul is an old friend of mine, we played togeather in a jazz fusion group many years ago.
could you please pass my email address on to him if possible,
best wishes to all the blokes from moving pictures.
Anyone remember New Years Eve 1980 at Bryants at Manly Vale. Moving Partd, Moving Pictures and INXS. What a top night!
A ‘live’ version of Pay the Piper,from the Pavlova gig,was the b-side of a single (the name of which escapes me) so it was released. I saw Moving Pictures play several times (incl. one memorable gig at The Trade Union Club) when they used to play Wavelength & also that slower song from DOI with the wonderful bass riff (Streethearts) which they also played on Double Jay’s ‘Live at the Wireless’. They’re doing a reunion gig in Melbourne later in the year with Mark Meyer on drums. I also saw Alex Smith & The Volunteers play at a pub in Gladesville where they did a great version of ‘Be My Baby’. Thanks for the meories guys!
I lived across the road from the Freelands in Como. Paul was 5 years older and i remember him not so much drumming but making very intersting wooden furniture – so i just found out that he was in such a famous band. I hung out with his younger brother David. His dad played in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – he was a fluitist. So he has music in his genes! What has been going on with them since the 1980’s?
Hi Susan, you may be able to help me. I am researching an old guitar that was owned by a friend of the Freelands that lived in Como pde. Would really appreciate it if you would contact me. I have been trying to put this jigsaw together for a long time and only need a few more pieces. Would really like to talk to Paul also or anyone from the Freeland family.
Hi Steve…i really wouldn’t know…as i don’t live in Como since i was 14 and now live in Holland for 35 years. In the mean time Pauls parents have passed away. Como Public School where we all went is on facebook – you could try that. Como Parade is a different street that Central Avenue where we all lived.(who is the friend?) success Susan
Hi Susan, s’pose you won’t be calling in for a cuppa then. The story i’ve pieced together will be put up here soon (hopefully). The house it came from was in the northern end of Como pde not far from Central Ave. Sutherland historical society told me to go see Ted the butcher at Como ( Yes he’s still there) He told me that he knew the Freelands well and when they were building the house in Central Ave they lived at a friends place in that part of Como pde, he thinks his name was Marsh. He was a pro muso as well and used to work with John Freeland (Pauls dad) This guitar had a pickup put in back in ’46 & only a pro muso would have even thought of it then. It’s a real piece of Aus music history and post war innovation. Unfortunately the musos’ of that era are very thin on the ground now and that’s making the research difficult. Thanks anyway, and keep your eye on this site as Gibbo will be putting up the photos & story.
was lucky enuf to see these guys recently. they still have it in spades. They are so amazing with their time after the show, as they were all those years ago.looking forward to the next tour
Did Moving Pictures ever support Australian Crawl? I have a vague memory that they did at the Palais Theatre back on 22 August 1981. Can anyone please shed some light on this. Thanks
Way back when I was doing sound for a great little band who called themselves Breakfast In Bed and they played regularly at a hole in the wall called Shadows in North Sydney. Andrew Thompson used to come in quite a lot and would sit in on sax. He was and probably still is a great player. It was the only good thing about the gig other than I met my wonderful wife of going on for 34 years there.
Wow! I remember Breakfast in Bed. They used to play at the Local Inn at West Ryde. Check this out, might bring back a few memories: http://vinylgoldmine.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/breakfast-in-bed-sorry-babe-going-home.html