Australia’s iconic music show Countdown turned 40 on November 8.
The very first Countdown was hosted by John Farnham (Johnny Farnham at the time) who also sang the now forgotten ‘One Minute Every Hour’.
Initially Countdown ran for 30-minutes. Show one featured an all-Australian line-up with performances by Skyhooks ‘Living In The 70s’, Sherbet ‘Silvery Moon’, Daryl Braithwaite solo with ‘You’re My World’ and Linda George ‘Mama’s Little Girl’.
The Skyhooks performance did not include the band’s songwriter and guitarist Greg Macainsh. In his book ‘The Never, Um, Ending Story’ Ian Molly Meldrum explains, ”he had hepatitis and was in the infectious diseases ward at Fairfield Hospital. Greg never got to see the ‘Hooks performance – there were no VCRs back in 1974.
‘Greg’s place on the first Countdown was taken by Red Symons girlfriend, Jenny Keath, who dressed up like Greg. No-one seemed to notice’.
Sadly, the original Countdown shows no longer exist. Back in 1974 tape was expensive and no-one had any foresight as to the historical relevance of the show. The original tapes were erased and used for other shows after the first Countdown. Video recorders were still 5 years away from home use, there was no digital recording devices then, no internet and sadly no more original Countdown.
The ABC will broadcast the two part Countdown 40th Anniversary show ‘Countdown: Do Yourself A Favour’ on November 16 and 23.