Darryl Sambell
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Darryl Sambell

Darryl Sambell
Darryl Lloyd Sambell
Born(1945-11-26)26 November 1945
Gawler, South Australia, Australia
Died19 September 2001(2001-09-19) (aged 55)
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
GenresPop
1965-2000

Darryl Lloyd Sambell (26 November 1945 – 19 September 2001) was an Australian talent manager and music promoter from the mid-1960s. He managed teen pop idol, Johnny Farnham, for the early part of his career (1967-76), and for the Masters Apprentices (1968-69). In 1967 Sambell established the Australian Musicians Booking Organisation (AMBO), with fellow talent managers, Gary Spry and Jeff Joseph, to act as music promoters for their artists. He was a heavy smoker and was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2001 and died of the disease, aged 55.

Biography

Sambell was born in 26 November, 1945 to Ivy Irene (née Haynes) and Donald George Sambell (1918-1984).[1] He has an older brother and two younger sisters and grew up in Gawler, South Australia.[1] By the early 1960s he was an accountant for a concreting business in Adelaide.[2]

In 1965 Sambell started dating Bev Harrell, a pop singer, who briefly joined Adelaide-based pop-rockers, the Clefs, in 1966 as co-lead vocalist.[3] She started her solo career, with Sambell as her manager, with a single, "What Am I Doing Here with You?" (late 1966), it is a cover version of Johnny Rivers' album track from In Action (1964).[3][4] Her version peaked at No. 13 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in 1967.[5] According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, she is "one of the most popular female solo singers on the mid-1960s pop scene. She was a regular on television shows like Bandstand and Kommotion, and issued eight singles for record company EMI."[6]

In April 1967 Sambell was in Cohuna, Victoria to see Harrell perform at a dance when they heard her support act Melbourne band "Strings Unlimited"[3] Sambell was impressed by their lead singer, Johnny Farnham, and arranged to become his manager a month later.[2][3][7] Farnham's early solo performances were in Adelaide, Sambell relocated to Melbourne.[7] Late in 1967 Sambell established the Australian Musicians Booking Organisation (AMBO), with fellow talent managers, Gary Spry and Jeff Joseph, to act as music promoters for their artists.[2] In September of that year Sambell organised Farnham's signing to EMI Records.[8][9]

Farnham's first commercially successful recording was a cover of British novelty song, "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)", Sambell later recalled, "I just thought, 'you've got to be joking'. I could not get the words out of my mind."[7] EMI's in house producer, David Mackay, insisted on recording it and it was released in November 1967.[9] By arrangement with Sambell, Melbourne radio DJ Stan Rofe pretended that he disliked "Sadie" before playing it.[7][10] In January of the following year it peaked at No. 1 on Go-Set National Top 40 for five weeks.[11][12]

In Go-Set in January 1968, Farnham described Sambell, "My manager is pretty good to me. He irons my clothes, washes them, too. Packs all my casses and carries all 27 of them."[7] According to a newspaper report, in June 1969, Farnham was suing Sambell for monies owed, amounting to $30,000.[13] Farnham's father had initiated legal proceedings when his accountant had checked his son's financial records.[7][13] After returning from their current tour, Sambell provided the missing receipts, the case never went to court and Farnham told media, "There's no ill feeling at all. It is unfortunate that this happened, and I stress that there are absolutely no plans for changing my management."[7]

In mid-1968 Sambell had taken over the management of pop, rock band, the Masters Apprentices, which had formed in Adelaide but were based in Melbourne.[14][15] According to Duncan Kimball of Milesago website, "it turned out to be a mixed blessing. He was a master networker and great at getting publicity... He was also a partner in the newly-formed AMBO booking agency... this proved very helpful for concert bookings. But in the long run Sambell was more interested in promoting Farnham's career... Sambell's pop tastes were also were at odds with the developing progressive direction of the Masters' music."[15]

Late in 1968 he took over management of another Adelaide-formed pop, rock band, Zoot.[16] Sambell had already worked with Zoot back in Adelaide when they were known as Down the Line in 1965 and had used them as a backing band for Harrell's early performances.[16] He also used them in mid-1967 to back Farnham on his demo recordings prior to signing with EMI.[16] The Masters Apprentices and Zoot had been rivals in Adelaide, further animosity occurred as both groups competed at the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, "when Zoot refused to let the Masters use some of their equipment."[16] The Masters Apprentices' bass guitarist, Glenn Wheatley, took over their management and promotion, early in 1970, before they relocated to England in mid-year.[15]

Sambell worked with Farnham into the 1970s where the artist branched out into TV series and stage musicals.[10][9] Sambell was Farnham's best man at his wedding to Jillian Billman, a former musical theatre dancer, in April 1973.[17] Sambell disapproved of the wedding: Australian music critic, Ed Nimmervoll, opined, "it's a symbol of just how out of touch Sambell had become with Farnham's needs personally as well as professionally."[9] He had denied news reports of the imminent wedding and disrupted Farnham's plan to have a double wedding ceremony alongside his sister, Judith, who was due to marry her fiancé on their originally scheduled date in March.[7] Sambell explained in 1999, "With John, and with everything I've ever done, I wanted everything to be sensational and done correctly."[9]

In January 1976 Sambell and Farnham parted ways with the former manager travelling to New Zealand a few days later.[7] Sambell later managed cricketer, Martin Crowe, and became involved in the race horse industry including an interest in Bonecrusher.[7] He remained in New Zealand for 12 years and returned to live in Australia in the Gold Coast region.[7] Sambell was diagnosed with lung cancer, early in 2001, and died of the disease in September of that year, aged 55.[1][2]

Further reading

  • Gazzo, Jane, "John Farnham: The Untold Story", North Sydney, N.S.W. : Penguin Random House Australia, 2 November 2015. 336pp. ISBN 9780857986573.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Donald Sambell". Herriman. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Obituaries: Darryl Sambell 1945-2001". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Groups & Solo Artists - Bev Harrell". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Nuttall, Lyn. "'What Am I Doing Here with You' - Bev Harrell (1967)". Where Did They Get That Song?. PopArchives. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed (8 March 1967). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Bev Harrell'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 25 July 2004.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing. pp. 38, 66-73. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1.
  8. ^ McFarlane, 'John Farnham'entry. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e Nimmervoll, Ed. "John Farnham". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 2018. Note: Nimmervoll incorrectly spells Sambell's first name as "Darrell"
  10. ^ a b "Groups & Solo Artists - John Farnham". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975. Ice Productions. 2003. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed (31 January 1968). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Number One Singles in Australia 1966-1974". Go-Set. PopArchives. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Farnham Sues Manager". The Canberra Times. 43 (12, 336). 12 June 1969. p. 12. Retrieved 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ McFarlane, 'The Masters Apprentices'entry. Archived from the original on 18 June 2004. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Groups & Solo Artists - The Masters Apprentices". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975. Ice Productions. 2003. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d "Groups & Solo Artists - The Masters Apprentices". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975. Ice Productions. 2003. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Johnny Farnham's Wedding". The Australian Women's Weekly. 40 (47). 25 April 1973. p. 8. Retrieved 2018 – via National Library of Australia.

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