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Anyone heard of Mark Gillespie?

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You sure? Here is the info from Bazooka's first link and his name is Mark Gillespie, the lyricist from Australia :) Perhaps you could provide more search criteria for us like the name of a song or some lyrics?


The subject of this week's Where Are They Now? may be unfamiliar to many of our younger readers, which is a shame as he produced some of the finest recordings in the short history of Australian popular music. The artists that have played with Mark Gillespie over the years reads like a "who's who" of Australian musicians. The most highly regarded and respected musicians have played and/or recorded with this quiet genius over the years. Combine those musicians with the brilliance of Gillespie's songwriting and performance and it's no small wonder his albums are regarded as classics amongst those who know Australian music. Thanks to Neil for requesting this week's Where Are They Now? Neil is a valued bmusic.com.au customer who could have found the answer to where Mark Gillespie is with a phone call to one of his many old friends in the Oz music industry, but I guess he'd rather see how well we could tell the story.

If you've never heard of Mark Gillespie, you owe it to yourself to hunt down an album of his and experience what contemporary musical genius is all about. Gillespie's story is remarkable, we hope you enjoy it.

Melbournites may best remember Mark Gillespie as the singer/songwriter/guitarist who enjoyed a cult following in the Victorian capital throughout the late 1970's. It was his emotive roots-rock style, incorporating soul, rhythm and blues, funk, and a dash of reggae that endeared him to fans of the Melbourne scene at the time.

Gillespie's first recordings appeared on a various artist's compilation called 'The Debutantes', released by the Oz label. The compilation featured two of his tracks, 'I'm A Kite (Won't You Be My Hurricane)' and 'The Joke's On You'. Around the same time Gillespie published a collection of prose and poetry through the small publishing company Outback Press.

In 1978 Mark Gillespie and the Victims released 'Savanorola', his first single. The Victims included Mick 'The Reverend' O'Connor on keyboards, Peter Reed on drums, and Bruno DeStanisio on bass.

Gillespie's big break was just around the corner. He signed to the Festival label and released the single 'Coming Back For More' in 1979. It was this release and his new label that scored Mark support slots for Tom Waits, Rodriguez and Maria Muldaur on their respective national tours of Australia. Gillespie and his touring band, Broderick Smith, Stephen Cooney, Clive Harrison, Trevor Courtney, Stewart Watson, and Pat and Gay L'Nane showed the rest of the nation the heart-felt performances Melbourne fans had been enjoying for the past few years.

The stage was set and Mark Gillespie, now signed to EMI, went into the studio with Joe Creighton, Mark Meyer, Ross Hannaford, Rex Bullen, Lisa Bade and a swag of other guest artists (some of whom went on to enjoy national stardom) to record his debut long player 'Only Human'. Four singles and countless performances to his expanding appreciative audience, Gillespie needed a break.

He traveled throughout Asia for a year or so before heading back to record the follow-up to 'Only Human'. In 1982 his second album 'Sweet Nothing' was released on the Glenn Wheatley's label through EMI. The album featured friends from his debut, Ross Hannaford, Mark Meyer and Lisa Bade, with the addition of saxophonist Andrew Thompson, bassist Tim Partridge, and Gary Lyon (not the ex-AFL player) and Nikki Nicholls on backing vocals.

The album produced three singles, 'Nothing Special', 'Traveller in the Night', and 'Night and Day'. On the Melbourne charts Gillespie's second album reached Number 9, but more importantly, it peaked at Number 32 on the national charts, the first time a Mark Gillespie release had featured in the national Top 40. Fans and critics alike lauded his releases and Gillespie was fast becoming recognised as Australia's premier songwriter. He followed up the success of 'Sweet Nothing' with his third album, a self-titled effort in 1983 that soon became more widely known as 'Ring of Truth' after the lead single. 'You' and 'Letting Go' were the other singles from the album that featured ex-Bee Gees and Groove drummer, Geoff Bridgeford and vocalist Renee Geyer.

Mark Gillespie, for whatever reason, had had enough. He returned to Asia where he set up an orphanage in Bangladesh, a gesture that was indicative of the heart and soul of Mark Gillespie. In the mean time Glenn Wheatley and EMI made the most of their signing when they released 'Best of Mark Gillespie (Small Mercies)' in 1985. It appeared Gillespie's contribution to Australian music was done when nothing was heard from him until 1992 when he returned to Australia to record and release 'Flame' in 1992 Gudinski's Mushroom label tied up with Festival, the label who had given Gillespie his first big break 13 years earlier. At this time he also released the CD single 'Long Time' and EP 'Don't Wait'. Old friends and musicians who'd long admired Gillespie's work gathered to record these comeback efforts. The artists involved included Joe Creighton and Ross Hannaford, along with ex-Mondo Rock keys man James Black, John Farnham band drummer Angus Burchill, ex-Aussie Crawl and Kevin Borich Express drummer John Watson, former Stephen Cummings Band guitarist Shane O'Mara, and Deborah Conway Band bassist Bill McDonald, among others.

But, so far, that's all she wrote as far as Mark Gillespie's contribution to Australian music is concerned. Since '92 Gillespie has had no further involvement. According to another Australian music legend, Broderick Smith, Mark is happy living with his wife north of Benalla in Victoria. Brod told us this week that Mark is "staying away from the scene and enjoys spending more time with farm animals than people".

Mark Gillespie's story truly is a humbling one for all us musicians. He seems to be a man who cares more about humanity, happiness, and music for music's sake than swimming through the sharks to "make it" in the business of music.

I found this on another website, maybe it is the right person?

I am searching for an artist by the name of Mark Gillespie who had two albums, one by the name of 'Only Human' released in1978 the other 'Sweet Nothing' released in 1981. They were on EMI, maybe produced by Glenn Wheatley. I would like to purchase them if possible. Thanks for your assistance. (From: John)

Mark in fact had four albums, the two you mention which are absolute classics of Australian music, roots rock mixed with r&b, soul, and a touch of reggae, a third less album which never made an impression, 'Mark Gillespie/Ring of Truth' released in 1985 and then a return to form after returning to Australia after living in Tibet, 1992's 'Flame'. The first three were released through EMI on Glenn Wheatley's Wheatley Brothers label. Because Glenn fell into financial troubles these albums are all but lost. 'Flame' was released through Festival/Mushroom on their Aurora label and you may have more luck securing that. It's well worth the effort.

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