The Valentines


​Throughout the late 1960s, Perth pop band The Valentines was one of the most popular bands in Australia. Although they started out as an energetic soul / R&B band, their best-known image was associated with the “bubble gum pop” phenomenon. But there was a wild side to the band which was evident in their live performances (and their off-stage carousing), towards the end of the band’s life it would embrace a more serious image.Vince Lovegrove (lead singer), Bon Scott (lead singer), Wyn Milsom (lead guitar), Ted Ward (rhythm guitar), Jon Cooksey (bass) and Doug Lavery (drums)​The Valentines formed in Perth in mid-1966, bringing together members of three leading local beat groups: Bon Scott and Wyn Milsom were from The Spektors, Vince Lovegrove, Ted Ward and John Cooksey were from The Winstons, and Warwick Findlay was from top Western Australian band Ray Hoff & The Off Beats.Playing a mixture of soul, R&B and mod covers, by the start of 1967, The Valentines (affectionately known as ‘The Vallies’) were already Perth’s top group. A major drawcard was the double-vocal attack of dynamic front-men Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove, and within a few weeks of their live debut they were drawing large crowds.​The Spektors – Left to right: Brian Gannon, Bon Scott, Wyn Milsom, John Colins and Murray Gracie – 1966 Fremantle​The Spektors, was formed in 1965 with friends John Collins (vocals, drums), Wyn Milsom (guitar) and Brian Gannon (bass). Scott was co-drummer and co-lead singer; he and Collins would play half a set each in their respective roles. Although The Spektors did not release any records, three tracks were recorded in October 1965 for Perth television show Club 17. The tracks were covers of Them’s Gloria, Chuck Berry’s On My Mind and The Beatles’ Yesterday.​Left to right: Bon Scott, John Lockery, Wyn Milsom, Vince Lovegrove and Warwick Findlay​In mid-1966, Scott and Milsom joined forces with members of rival band The Winstons to form The Valentines. Like Adelaide’s Twilights, The Valentines were fronted by two lead singers, Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove. The Valentines wore matching suits, and their early repertoire comprised soul covers by Sam and Dave and Wilson Pickett, plus mod staples by the likes of The Who, The Spencer Davis Group and The Small Faces. By 1967, The Valentines were Perth’s top pop band. The Clarion label issued the band’s debut single, Arthur Alexander’s Every Day I Have to Cry / I Can’t Dance Without You (May 1967), followed by Vanda and Young’s She Said/To Know You is to Love You (August).​The Valentines: Bon Scott (centre) Vince Lovegrove (reaching into crowd) with drummer Warwick Findlay lead guitar Wyn Milson and guitarist Ted Ward (Ted Junko) playing at Hoadley’s ‘Battle of the Sounds’ at Ambassadors Theatre 1966​The singles charted locally and The Valentines won the Western Australian state final of the Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds. The band flew to Melbourne to compete in the national finals, only to be beaten by The Groop. After visiting the east coast, The Valentines decided they needed to move to Melbourne permanently in October 1967. Clarion continued to issue The Valentines’ singles into 1968: I Can Hear the Raindrops / Why Me? (February) and Harry Vanda and George Young’s Peculiar Hole in the Sky / Love Makes Sweet Music (July). Peculiar Hole in the Sky, with its psychedelic overtones, was the band’s most adventurous single to date. Love Makes Sweet Music on the flip was originally by UK psychedelic band Soft Machine. Doug Lavery (ex-Andy James Asylum, Running Jumping Standing Still, Doug Parkinson In Focus) replaced original drummer Warwick Findlay as the single appeared.At the end of 1968, The Valentines signed a deal with Ron Tudor’s June Productions, which then leased the band’s next three singles to Philips. Vanda and Young’s My Old Man’s a Groovy Old Man / Ebeneezer (issued on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 1969) took the band into the Top 40 for the first time when it peaked at #12 in Sydney and #23 in Melbourne.​The Valentines c. 1969, left to right: Wyn Milsom, Bon Scott, Vince Lovegrove, Paddy Beach and Ted Ward​The Valentines donned matching frilly orange shirts, flares and beads, worked out a choreographed stage act and began to rival Zoot (with their `Think Pink’ campaign) and New Dream as the most popular bubble gum act of the day.In May 1969, Doug Lavery left The Valentines to join Axiom. New Zealander Paddy Beach (ex-Compulsion) took his place on drums. In July, The Valentines lost out to Doug Parkinson In Focus in their second Battle of the Sounds appearance. The band’s next single, Nick Nack Paddy Wack / Getting Better, came out in September. That same month, the band embarked on the ambitious Operation Starlift national tour with the cream of Australian pop of the day: Russell Morris, Johnny Farnham, Ronnie Burns, Johnny Young, Doug Parkinson In Focus, The Zoot and The Masters Apprentices. John Cooksey then left the band, and Ted Ward took over on bass.​Left to right: Ted Ward, Bon Scott, Paddy Beach, Wyn Milsom and Vince Lovegrove​At the end of September, The Valentines became the first Australian band to be arrested for the possession of marijuana. The band members each received a fine of $150 and a good behaviour bond. Although The Valentines had started to make an impact on the discotheque circuit, and were in the process of toughening up their sound and image, swapping the matching orange suits for jeans and T-shirts, the band was on the verge of breaking up. The band’s seventh single, Juliette / Hoochie Coochie Billy (March 1970), managed to reach #28 in Melbourne during April. The Valentines struggled on until August 1970, with Bon Scott immediately joining Fraternity in Sydney. Fraternity soon moved to Adelaide working for Hamish Henry and The Grape Organisation.Of the other Valentines, Wyn Milsom became a live sound engineer and helped pioneer the use of huge P.A. systems on stage in Australia. Vince Lovegrove moved to Adelaide working for music entrepreneur Hamish Henry (The Grape Organisation) and as a writer for Go-Set Magazine, on air talent at radio 5KA and compered a television show called Move. He also issued a solo single on the independent Pepper label in 1971, Livestock / Rented Room Blues, and one on Raven, Get Myself Out of This Place / That’s Alright Mama (1972).Livestock had been written by Fraternity’s Mick Jurd and John Bisset. Lovegrove also worked as an Adelaide booking agent, where he was instrumental in Bon Scott joining AC/DC during 1974. Lovegrove and Scott also both took part in Peter Head’s The Mount Lofty Rangers project.​Bon Scott and Vince Lovegrove GAS Magazine Poster 1969​In the late 1970s, Vince worked as a youth affairs reporter on the Nine Network’s A Current Affair program and produced The Don Lane Show. Vince also presented a documentary on Australian music called Australian Music to the World. He also managed Divinyls for many years. In the late 1980s, he produced a documentary, Susie’s Story, which chronicled the AIDS-related death of his second wife. He also produced A Kid Called Troy (about his son) along similar lines. The documentaries served to heighten community awareness of the disease and the problems faced by AIDS sufferers.Sadly, Vince Lovegrove passed away in 2012 and Bon Scott in 1980.This website is dedicated to the memory of Vince and Bon. valentines
The Valentines
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