Richard Gower from hit 1970s group Racey, is touring Australia in November with the Seventies Hitmakers show.
Richard Gower from hit 1970s group Racey, is touring Australia in November with the Seventies Hitmakers show. Nick Wilcox-Brown

Racey fever to be revived on tour

SHINY, happy people, Racey's cheerful sounds revived a genre at the unlikeliest of times.

Whether the emergence of a musical movement built on extreme expression helped or hindered them, the four piece popsters were the antithesis of British groups driving an exploding punk movement in the late 1970s.

Seen as possessing a sound no longer in-vogue, one could be forgiven for thinking the Lay Your Love On Me hitmakers were destined for a false dawn.

But vocalist, keyboarder and songwriter Richard Gower believes Racey hit the airwaves at just the right time to offer an alternative to sounds emanating from London's sub-culture.

"When punk first came out, there were a lot of people that thought it was rubbish," Gower said.

"There was a massive reaction in Europe to it, where they were saying 'we're not going to buy it (punk records)'. That's when the Europeans started to develop their own acts which hurt the British industry; they didn't like the records being released."

A clean-cut, happy-go-lucky band armed with choreographed dance moves and void of leather jackets and nose rings, Gower said the group was a timely "anomaly".

"We were an ultra no frills pop group. Everyone thought it was the end of innocent pop when punk came in, but we just had good songs to sing and record," he said.

"Fortunately, it took off in a big way, which was a shock to record companies. They were great pop songs that became ultra successful world-wide,"

 

Richard Gower is also a world-renowned songwriter
Richard Gower is also a world-renowned songwriter Nick Wilcox-Brown

With the release of Smash and Grab in 1979, Racey's golden run of hits included Boy Oh Boy, Some Girls and Runaway Sue. Joining the likes of Abba, Smokey and Blondie in the mainstream, the group looked destined for a long-run at the top.

However, a few more singles released during the early 1980s failed to capture the success of their predecessors, and a follow-up album failed to materialise.

"In the record industry, it's relatively easy to get that first hit record, but its damn hard to sustain," Gower said.

"It was a tremendous period. A producer said 'enjoy success as it doesn't go on forever', you don't think about it at the time, you think it's going to go on, but it doesn't and that's life."

Parting ways with Racey in 1985, Gower turned his focus to song writing. Signing with R.A.K publishing, Gower penned over 30 songs for artists such as Smokey, Suzi Quatro and Hot Chocolate.

"When I started writing for others, I was quite happy being on the other side of the desk. I still am," Gower said. While Gower has launched his own Australian-based record label, Jam Mountain Music, he's in no rush to release material, as he searches for the right artists to sign.

In the meantime, Gower will join fellow seventies popsters, the Rubettes and Paper Lace, on the 11-date Seventies Hitmakers' tour in November.

"It's about going out having fun, and getting up and dancing," Gower said.

"If people remember our music or not, come enjoy the night with us and have a great time."

Seventies Hitmakers

Where: Twin Towns

When: Saturday, November 18

Tickets: From $55. twintowns.com.au



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