The Sports were always a difficult band to categorise for me. They were “Indie” enough to have street cred, they were “New Wave” enough to be current and they were “Pop” enough to be on Countdown.
Formed in Melbourne by Stephen Cummings in 1976, they had a brief but very productive life, finishing in 1981. Cummings had seen success with The Pelaco Brothers & when that ended he grabbed Pelaco Brothers bandmates Ed Bates & Robert Glover, Paul Hitchens on drums and Jim Niven from Captain Matchbox on keys.
Andrew Pendlebury joined on guitar soon after and The Sports were on their way.
After a limited release EP, their first album with Mushroom, Reckless, was produced by another ex-Pelaco Brother Joe Camelleri. Not long after the release of Reckless Martin Arminger replaced Ed Bates on guitar. The band had reasonable success with their next few albums and toured supporting acts like Graham Parker both in Australia and England.
The band eventually started leaking members and just sort of faded away without fanfare in 1981. Stephen Cummings went on to have a successful solo carreer & Martin Arminger has had success as a TV/Film soundtrack composer.
- Martin Armiger — Guitar (1978–1981)
- Ed Bates — Guitar (1976–1978)
- Stephen Cummings — Vocals (1976–1981)
- Robert Glover — Bass (1976–1981)
- Paul Hitchins — Drums (1976–1980)
- Iain McLennan — Drums (1980)
- Jim Niven — Keyboards, Vocals (1976–1980)
- Andrew Pendlebury — Guitar, Vocals (1976–1981)
- Freddie Strauks — Drums (1980–1981)
- Red Symons — Keyboards (1980)
Albums & EPs
- Fair Game (EP) – Zac Records (1977) (limited to 500 copies)
- Reckless – Mushroom Records (1978) #43 AUS
- Don’t Throw Stones – Mushroom/Arista/Sire (February, 1979) #9 AUS
- So Obvious (EP) – Stiff (1979)
- O.K., U.K.! (EP) – Mushroom (August, 1979) #40 AUS
- Suddenly – Mushroom/Arista (1980) #13 AUS
- Sondra – Mushroom (May, 1981) #20 AUS
- The Sports play Dylan (and Donovan) (EP) – Mushroom (1981) #70 AUS
- All Sports – Mushroom (1982) #35 AUS
- Missin’ Your Kissin’ – Raven (1987)
- This Is Really Something – Mushroom (1997)
- Definitive Collection – Festival (August, 2004)
There is no gigs listed for The Sports.
I saw them at a few places, including the Royal Antler at Narrabeen around 1978-79. There was a big fight on stage by a couple of the band members – I don’t remember who was involved – too long ago.
I saw them on 28th March 1979, at Derby Assembly Rooms in the UK.
They were supporting Graham Parker and the Rumour, and they were very good indeed.