I must admit that I was a fan of the Little River Band’s music long before I knew who they were. Unlike some bands whose name I knew very early, this was a band I did not really discover until well into my adulthood, long after I had grown up loving their songs. I’m not sure why there was such a disconnect between my early recognition of their music as being great and the fact that I didn’t know the band who had made songs I grew up loving. Likewise, I’m not sure if this is a common phenomenon. One of the first rock groups to break out of their native Australia to become successful for a prolonged period during the mid-70’s through the early 80’s in the United States, the band does not seem to be very well remembered today. I don’t know why. Their music lives on, especially those songs of theirs that caught on with oldies and easy listening stations (more on that later), but as someone who dug into their discography a bit deeper as a result of exploring the best music of the early 1980’s, they have quite a bit of music that deserves to be remembered more than it is. And any band that can create the enduring rock classics that they have deserves to be known by name and not merely by song as well.
The Influence Of Little River Band
Having a wide variety of lead singers and some solid instrumental tracks, the Little River Band certainly helped to pave a way to stardom in the United States for talented Australian acts. If they did nothing else except for demonstrate to talented Australian groups as diverse as Air Supply and Savage Garden, among others, that there was room on the American charts for beautiful music about love and relationships, they would be worthy of induction. One of Australia’s most influential bands of all time, they deserve recognition for their influence on the Australian rock scene. Admittedly, this is not a rock scene that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has paid much attention to in the past, but it is one that deserves to be remembered, not least because the Little River Band had hit after hit during their heyday, many of which are songs that remain important today even where people may not know the band playing the songs on the radio. If ever a band deserved more attention than it gets, that was true for this band.
Why Little River Band Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
Although they are primarily remembered as a radio rock band, especially of a smooth sound influenced by Crosby, Stills, and Nash as well as Little Feat and others, they delivered the goods when it comes to albums as well. They had four gold (Diamantia Cocktail and Time Exposure) and platinum (Sleeper Catcher and First Under The Wire) studio albums between 1977 and 1981 and also had a double platinum compilation of their hits during this period. Among their songs, thirteen of them hit the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, including “Help Is On Its Way” (#14), “Happy Anniversary” (#16), “Reminiscing” (#3), “Lady” (#10), “Lonesome Loser” (#6), “Cool Change” (#10), “The Night Owls” (#6), “Take It Easy On Me”(#10), “Man On Your Mind” (#14), “The Other Guy” (#11), “We Two” (#22), and “You’re Driving Me Out Of My Mind” (#35). With a collection of hits like that, one could spend a long time listening to great music coming out of a jukebox in Cleveland, and when that is the case, why not induct a band? Many bands haven’t released half of the songs that remain beloved songs on radio to this day as Little River Band, and the fact that they are not considered one of the more obvious snubs is a little hard to understand.
Why Little River Band isn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Given the greatness of the band’s music and their influence on the rock & roll music of Australia, it is hard to understand why the band hasn’t been inducted. A few reasons are possible: the nominating committee doesn’t really care about the influence of rock and roll acts in Australia, beyond a few obvious contenders (AC/DC), there is a bias against groups with a softer rock sound that were popular on the radio in the late 70’s and early 80’s, or the band isn’t recognized for the immense collection of influential and important songs that it has. Whatever the answer is, it’s not good enough. This is a band that deserves recognition.
Verdict: Put them in, already.