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Ross D. Wyllie
Ross D. Wyllie
(1944-11-21) 21 November 1944 (age 74) Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Ross D. Wyllie (born 21 November 1944) is an Australian pop music singer, television presenter and producer from the 1960s and 1970s. Wyllie had a top 20 hit with his cover of Ray Stevens' song "Funny Man" and an Australian No. 1 with "The Star", both in 1969. Originally from Brisbane, he hosted, Uptight, a weekly four-hour music series, on Channel 0 in Melbourne from 1967 to 1969. In 1970 he followed with a similar show, Happening '70, and from 1978 to 1980, he presented films on a late-night time slot.
Ross D. Wyllie was born in Ashgrove, Queensland on 21 November, 1944, to Harold John Wyllie (1913-), an army sergeant serving during world war 2, and Jean nee Jennings (c. 1920-2002). He was raised in Brisbane with two siblings. As a child he contracted poliomyelitis and for most of his adult life he had a limp. In 1964 he joined a pop band, the Kodiaks, as lead singer. By 1967, as a solo artist, he signed with the Ivan Dayman's label, Sunshine Records, and released his debut single, "Short Skirts". He was backed by label-mates, the Escorts. His next single, "A Bit of Love", followed later that year, using only studio musicians.
Wyllie relocated to Melbourne and, on 28 October 1967, became the host of a new pop music TV show, Uptight, for local Channel 0. He signed with Festival Records and released a non-charting single, "Smile", in April 1968.Uptight ran as a weekly three-hour series until 1969. By that time it was being produced by Bob Fraser and the presenter's wife, Eileen Wyllie, for Jardine Productions.Molly Meldrum was a regular member of the on-air team. Uptight - Party Time, by Ross D. Wyllie and the Uptight Party Team, was issued via Calendar/Festival Records in 1968. The record was produced by Roger Savage. It contains two side-long medleys of then-current songs including, "Midnight Hour", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Day Tripper".
In 1970 Uptight was replaced on Channel 0 by a one-hour pop music series, Happening '70, with Wyllie retained as host and Eileen as producer. In April he released a double-A-sided single, "Free Born Man" / "My Little Girl", but its sales were affected by the radio ban, during which commercial stations refused to play recordings by Festival Records (among others) from May to October. The singer, presenter left Melbourne to return to Brisbane late in 1970 and was replaced on Happening '71, in April 1971, by Jeff Phillips.
In 1971 Wyllie signed with the Fable label and released a single, "He Gives Us All His Love", in April. He followed with "It Takes Time" in August and "Sweet White Dove" in May 1972. He then turned to the pub and club circuit. Later he formed a production company with fellow pop singer, Ronnie Burns, and talent manager, Jeff Joseph. With Tony Healy he created a public relations company. In the late 1970s he presented a late-night movie show on Melbourne's Channel 0-10. During the mid-1970s Wyllie opened and operated a record retail store in Bayswater, Arch Rivals.
In May 1988 Festival Records released, Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten, a compilation album of Wyllie's singles, as a part of their Festival File series. In a review of the collection for The Canberra Times, Stuart Coupe observed, "Star of Uptight, Wyllie's run of hits ended in the early '70s. This is probably the least interesting of the albums in this series, but at worst is a curio item." In August 2003 Wyllie performed an Uptight-themed variety show at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, reuniting with other 1960s performers.
Aztec Records released another compilation, Ross D. Wyllie: the Complete Collection, in August 2014.Paul Cashmere of Noise11 described it as "the first definitive career overview of 60s pop star."Toorak Times Gary Turner observed, "[it features] all the classic hits including 'Funny Man', 'The Star', 'My Little Girl', 'Smile', 'Uptight Party Medley', 'Short Skirts' and many more tracks including tracks live from Festival Hall Melbourne in 1994." Wyllie and Eileen were still living in Melbourne as from September 2014. During November 2016 Wyllie used a crowd funding site to attempt to raise money for a motorised wheelchair.
Uptight - Party Time (by Ross D. Wyllie and the Uptight Party Team) (1969) (Calendar / Festival Records) (R66-522)
TV Week Presents: Super Sounds of Happening '71 (1971) Festival Records (SR66-9812)
Smile: The Festival Files Volume Ten (May 1988) Festival Records
Ross D. Wyllie: the Complete Collection (14 August 2014) Aztec Records (AVSCD071)
^ abcdefgMcFarlane (1999). Encyclopedia entry for "'Ross D. Wyllie'". Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 2016.. Retrieved 20 November 2010. Note: McFarlane gives birth year as 1948.