Years: 1972 - 1975
Styles: Folk Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock
Russ Johnson - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1973)
John Mower - Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Graeham Goble - Acoustic guitar , Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Colin DeLuca - Bass Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Beeb Birtles - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Kerryn Tolhurst - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals (in band: 1973)
Andre Santos - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1973)
Harvey James - Guitar (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Charlie Tumahai - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Peter Martin - Guitar (in band: 1973 - 1975)
Derek Pellicci - Drums (in band: 1973 - 1975)
The band had started as Allison Gros in Adelaide in 1970 and moved to Melbourne in 1971 where they recorded as Allison Gros, Drummond and, early in 1972, became Mississippi. As Drummond they issued a cover version of "Daddy Cool" (July 1971), which peaked at No. 1 on the Go-Set National Top 40 for eight weeks.
In 1972, Mississippi relocated to Melbourne and recorded a self-titled album for the Bootleg label. Helping out in the studio were the likes of Peter Jones (piano), Geoff Cox (drums), Barry Sullivan (bass) and Graeme Lyall (flute). The album featured a harmony-rich rock sound heavily influenced by Crosby Stills Nash and Young and The Band.
One of the highlights was the lush, orchestrated epic `Save the Land'. Another of the album's standouts, `Kings of the World', was issued as a single backed with `City Sunday'. With `Kings of the World' sitting at #10 on the national charts during October 1972, Goble, Johnson and Mower recruited Beeb Birtles (vocals, guitar; ex-Zoot, Freize), Colin DeLuca (bass; ex-Fugitives) and Derek Pellici (drums; ex-Ash) in order to tour. `Mr Moondog'/`All Through the Day' was issued as a single in December. One of the band's early showcase gigs was at the 1973 Sunbury rock festival backed by a full orchestra.
In February 1973, Johnson left to join Country Radio. Kerryn Tolhurst (guitar, mandolin; ex-Adderley Smith Blues Band, Country Radio) stepped in until March when he left to form The Dingoes. Harvey James (lead guitar; ex-Clydehouse, Sayla) joined as a permanent member and the band supported US visitors The Jackson Five on a national tour. The band issued `Early Morning'/`Sweet World' as a single during July. In October, DeLuca and Mower both left to be replaced by Andre Santos (bass, vocals). Two months later, Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals; ex-Healing Force, Chain, Friends, Alta Mira) replaced Santos and the line-up remained stable for six months. It was during that time that Goble and Birtles developed the tight harmony sound that was to characterise their later work with Little River Band.
`Will I?'/`Where in the World?' took the band back into the national Top 40 (#31). By that stage, the band had travelled to the UK where the Mississippi album had been issued to some interest. The band made little headway, however, and by mid-year had begun to stagnate. James was the first to leave when he returned to Australia during June in order to join Ariel. That same month, `When You're Old'/`Do I?' came out as a single in Australia. Fable also combined the singles cuts `Will I?', `Mr Moondog', `Kings of the World' and `Early Morning' for the Mississippi EP. Tumahai left at the end of 1974 to join British art-rock outfit Be Bop Deluxe. In early 1975, Goble, Birtles and Pellici returned to Australia, having formulated plans for a new band. The aim was to create a textured, harmony-dominant, mass-appeal sound and style. Having recruited frontman Glenn Shorrock (ex-Twilights, Axiom), Little River Band was underway.
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