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:: Spotlight :: The ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME event in Melbourne

By: Carmine Pascuzzi / photos by Matt Deller

The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) has announced the ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME - an inaugural event which will see the Australian music community pay tribute to those artists who have contributed to this country’s music landscape.

The ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME event will take place on Thursday, July 14, 2005 at the Plaza Ballroom at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre. It's a magnificent setting for what should be a nostalgic night.

Those who have followed the annual ARIA Awards would be aware that a number of Australian music icons have been inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of that ceremony. It has been an important part since the awards started in 1987. Some of those already inducted are JOHNNY O'KEEFE, OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, INXS, SLIM DUSTY, AC/DC, PAUL KELLY and LITTLE RIVER BAND.

ARIA will continue to keep a component of the Hall Of Fame for the annual awards ceremony but the ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME will become a stand-alone event to honour the legendary performers, producers, songwriters and others who have had an impact on music culture in Australia.

ARIA Awards Chairman Ed St.John said, "It's been a longstanding ambition of the ARIA Board to create a unique, stand-alone event with the specific purpose of inducting artists into the Hall of Fame. Time constraints meant we were only able to induct one artist per year at the ARIAs and, as a result, we were developing an alarming backlog of truly worthy recipients. So the Hall of Fame event represents a real dream come true for the industry and it's something we're all tremendously excited about.”

ARIA Chairman Dennis Handlin commented, “The music industry now has a long overdue opportunity to show our heritage artists the respect and recognition that they so richly deserve. These acts are truly icons of the Australian contemporary music scene, and they deserve to be honoured in a special event.”

So, who are the first six music artists that will be inducted into the ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME?

They are: SPLIT ENZ, RENEE GEYER, NORMIE ROWE, THE EASYBEATS, SMOKY DAWSON, and HUNTERS & COLLECTORS.

"Australia became our Second Home in 1975.We of the ENZ are proud to accept this honour, and gladly walk the Hall of Fame in memory of every gig we did here,” said Tim Finn on behalf of Split Enz.

“I am truly flattered and honoured on receiving this award. Given my fellow inductees I am incredibly humbled as well. It is also a very important acknowledgement of the path that these artists have laid down for others to follow,” said Renee Geyer.

“The ARIA Hall of Fame is a very important cornerstone of the recording industry one that in fact defines the industry. Being elevated to Hall of Fame status is a very humbling honour for me,” said Normie Rowe.

“It's quite an honour to be inducted into the ARIA HALL OF FAME. Back in 1988 George and I, as Vanda & Young, had the privilege of being acknowledged as musicians and producers. It's now very rewarding to see that The Easybeats as a group are being inducted, as this was the birthplace of our musical careers. There have been many highlights in my long career but nothing surpasses the thrill and excitement of hearing our first song being played on the radio. That's how we all felt when we first heard ‘For My Woman’ blaring over the airwaves,” said Harry Vanda of The Easybeats.

Of his impending HALL OF FAME induction Smoky Dawson said, “I’m overwhelmed. This is one of the greatest things that has happened in my whole career. Magic - like going into another dimension. I used to be an endangered species but now I’ve been recycled. This is an inspiring time for me.”

“The boys and myself are excited to be honoured in this way by the Australian music industry. This is a unique gesture of recognition for the work that Hunters and Collectors did, and it will be a rare opportunity for the band to be re-united under very auspicious circumstances,” said Mark Seymour of Hunters & Collectors.

TV viewers can see this great event exclusively on subscription television. FOXTEL and AUSTAR Digital subscribers will be able to see this special telecast on VH1, Sunday, July 17 at 9.00pm.

Other FOXTEL, AUSTAR, OPTUS subscribers can see it on FOX8, which will provide an encore screening on the ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME on Saturday, July 23 at 8.30pm.

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LATEST NEWS AS AT JULY 10

SPLIT ENZ and HUNTERS & COLLECTORS TO RE-UNITE FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY

In what is sure to be a night of unforgettable musical performances, trailblazing inductees SPLIT ENZ and HUNTERS & COLLECTORS will each reunite for one night only to perform at the inaugural ARIA ICONS: HALL OF FAME event on Thursday July 14 at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom (Regent Theatre). The event will be broadcast exclusively by VH1 on Sunday July 17 at 9.00pm with an encore screening by FOX8 on Sat July 23 at 8.30pm.

The legendary SPLIT ENZ last performed in Australia on February 18, 1990 for the Newcastle earthquake benefit. Their appearance at the ARIA ICONS HALL OF FAME ON VH1 event will see the band (featuring Tim Finn, Neil Finn, Eddie Rayner, Malcolm Green, Nigel Griggs and Noel Crombie) reunite in all their signature glory for an all too rare live performance.

With their intense, muscular live shows HUNTERS & COLLECTORS was one of Australia’s most blistering live acts. The band, who have not performed together since March 1998, will come together for one night only to capture the magic that made them Australian music icons.

Other 2005 ARIA HALL OF FAME inductees will be honoured by an impressive collection of performers who will pay homage to Australia’s musical forbears.

In a fitting musical tribute to 60’s rock n’ roll pioneers THE EASYBEATS, local heroes YOU AM I (along with special guests) will kick out the jams for the band whose sound influenced not only Australian musicians, but so many rock bands around the world.

Australian country music stars ANNE KIRKPATRICK, LEE KERNAGHAN and TROY CASSAR DALEY will honour ARIA’S oldest HALL OF FAME inductee, SMOKY DAWSON, with a special tribute…but don’t be surprised if Smoky himself doesn’t get up to enjoy the moment.

Rockabilly trio THE LIVING END will team up with inductee NORMIE ROWE, the former rock 'n’ roll king of Australia, to perform two of his classic hits ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and ‘Que Sera Sera’.

Young R&B singer on the rise JADE MACRAE will perform a tribute to legendary singing sensation and 2005 inductee RENÉE GEYER. Renee will also perform a version of her classic hit ‘It’s a Man’s World’ with her band.

To kick off proceedings are two men who are already in the ARIA HALL OF FAME - BILLY THORPE (inducted 1991) and JIMMY BARNES (Cold Chisel inducted 1993). They will team up for a duet, which will prove why they are two of the most unique rock n’ roll voices in the business.

The ARIA ICONS HALL OF FAME ON VH1 will also feature special guest inductors:

PETER GARRETT - inducting HUNTERS & COLLECTORS
JACK THOMPSON - inducting SMOKY DAWSON
MICHAEL GUDINSKI - inducting RENÉE GEYER
JOHN CLARKE - inducting SPLIT ENZ
IAN ‘MOLLY’ MELDRUM - inducting NORMIE ROWE
BILLY THORPE - inducting THE EASYBEATS

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**AS AT JULY 15**

Here are pictures from the night. (Photos: Matt Deller)

Billy Thorpe was honoured to be in a photo with Smoky and Dot Dawson
Split Enz member Tim Finn and wife Marie Azcona
Renee Geyer The Living End (performed with Normie Rowe)
Jade Macrae paid tribute to Renee Geyer Jimmy Barnes, his daughter Ellie May, wife Jane Barnes, and Elroy Finn, son of Neil
Guests Kate Ceberano, Ralph Carr, Nicky Whelan
For more information, visit

www.aria.com.au