Happy Happy 80th Birthday Molly Meldrum

countdown Molly Meldrum

It’s many happy returns to Aussie music legend and Countdown star Molly Meldrum who turns 80 today. It’s his party and he’ll moon if he wants to, moon if he wants to…

The music critic, journalist, record producer and musical entrepreneur is best known for his thirteen years on TV pop music show Countdown. Ian Meldrum began his career writing articles for Go-Set, a weekly pop music newspaper.

Lip sync assassin

However, Molly Meldrum’s television career began when he scored a job lip syncing hit records on the teen pop music show Kommotion. Back before video clips became common, the show employed performers like Molly and Denise Drysdale to mime to the latest overseas hits.

Do yourself a favour

During his years on Countdown, Molly Meldrum exerted a huge influence on the Australian music industry. Critics hated Humdrum, his weekly rock report. According to one musicologist: “a riot of non-sequiturs and unjustified hyperbole. In between all the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’, occasionally Molly managed to tell the viewers about a good album he had just heard.”

But the public lapped up Molly’s recommendations and a ‘do yourself a favour’ from the umming and aahing man in the Stetson could drive record sales though the roof. Molly Meldrum introduced Aussie audiences to performers like ABBA, Meat Loaf, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Michael Jackson sometimes years before they became international stars.

Bisexual anthem

Molly also promoted homegrown Aussie musicians and singers. He produced the debut album of local band Supernaut and their hit single, the bisexual anthem ‘I Like It Both Ways’.

King Charles III and ‘Mummy’

Molly’s 1977 interview with the future King Charles III became one of the most memorable moments on Aussie TV. Outakes released years later showed the exasperated host forgetting his script, sweating — in his own words — like a pig, and asking for a glass of water while the bemused prince watched on. Finally, Charles left his seat, allowing Molly to regain his composure and deliver his lines, though not without the occasional frustrated ‘F_ck!’.

The footage also included Molly referring to Elizabeth II as ‘your mum’ only to have the prim prince correct him: “Are you referring to Her Majesty the Queen?”

Yet decades later, Charles stole the line himself, referring to his mother in speeches as ‘Mummy’ and then waiting with a shit-eating smug grin for the audience response to his scripted ‘witticism’.

No Pants Moll

In the lead-up to his 80th birthday, Molly Meldrum proved he still has what it takes to generate headlines, flashing his bum at friend Elton John’s next-to-last farewell Melbourne concert. The resultant furore showed up much of Australia’s media for the hateful, humourless, muckraking scandal-mongers they are. Not fit to lick his bum shoes, as my granny used to say.

Anyway, um… do yourself a favour and check out the great Molly Meldrum in his heyday on Countdown.

Happy Birthday Molly.

Also: Molly Meldrum joins chorus of protest, calling for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed.

Supernaut: ‘I Like it Both Ways’ Australia’s great bisexual anthem, produced by Molly.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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