Welcome to Countdown Memories, your chart-busting trip back to Countdown mania!
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Countdown was a pop music program created by Michael Shrimpton, Rob Weekes and Ian Meldrum. It first aired on the ABC on 8th November 1974 and was initially a half hour program shown on Saturday night. By January 1975, after the initial six half-hour episodes the ABC relaunched Countdown, shifting it to the prime time slot of 6pm Sunday and extending it to a full hour. Ian "Molly" Meldrum was talent coordinator on the show and later took over as presenter. Countdown was initially hosted by guest D.Js, with John Farnham hosting the first one hour program.
In 1974 the fledgling music scene in Australia was definitely growing and artists like Skyhooks, Sherbet, AC/DC and John Paul Young made their mark through this program. Countdown established itself almost immediately in 1974 as a world class program and was responsible for introducing the ABBA phenomenon to the rest of the world. By 1975 Countdown was internationally renowned and any performer visiting Australia would appear on the show. ABBA weren't the only act who owed much of their success to Countdown; many other bands like Blondie and The Human League got their -break in Australia through Molly's endless push for bands and artists to be recognised both nationally and internationally. Pseudo Echo made their debut (performing "Listening") on Countdown as an unsigned band in 1983. Without Countdown, many artists would not have been given the opportunities that they had.
Ian "Molly" Meldrum was responsible for the institution that was Countdown. For an amazing run of 13 years, it was the showcase for some of the finest from the music world both locally and internationally, and for the nurturing of new talent.
This is a Web site dedicated to my favourite music program Countdown!
My name is Jason and I grew up watching Countdown from the very late 70s and when it all ended in July 1987 I was seriously crushed! Though I was extremely young when I started watching Countdown, it was a program that I was instantly attracted to and it became a family ritual for all of us at 6.00pm every Sunday night without fail for years on end.
Countdown was a very unique program as it proved, in many families, to be a perfect catalyst in breaking down the generation gap - we all could relate to it! But most importantly for me, I knew, once I saw Countdown, that music was my best friend. The idea of seeing pop stars and being introduced to music, bands and fashion for the first time was truly an amazing experience for me, and I discovered many of my favourite bands and artists on Countdown that still exist to this day!
My very early memories of Countdown exposed me to the faces of Olivia, Split Enz, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Queen, Michael Jackson, Kate Bush, David Bowie, Judie Tzuke and Mi-Sex. Some of those artists scared me as a child, yet I found them intriguing.
My obsession with music quickly started from music video via Countdown in 1981 and prominently in 1982, when my older sister and I always had Countdown on in the house! With the beginnings of the extremely exciting and eye catching New Romantic Movement plus pop bands and solo artists, it all just grew from there.
From The Human League, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Kim Wilde, Yazoo, Simple Minds, ABC, Bananarama, The Nolans, Sheena Easton, The Motels, Divinyls, Prince, The Clash, Adam And The Ants, A Flock Of Seagulls, Inxs, The Cure, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Talk Talk, Visage, Japan, Flowers/Icehouse, Wham and most importantly THE SYNTHESIZER!
In 1982 Countdown introduced me to Culture Club whose front man Boy George led me to discover a British movement with a difference. Boy George was what was known as a "Gender Bender" who not only was a great talent but also took club culture, cross dressing and social issues and awareness into suburban households. And for me as a child, he was one of the only things I could identify with.
As the 80s continued, Countdown kept introducing me to new artists, bands and upcoming tracks from Australia and Overseas including Pseudo Echo, Kajagoogoo, Tears for Fears, Madonna, Thompson Twins, Marilyn, Haysi Fantayzee, Real Life, Bronski Beat, Freeez, Rock Steady Crew, Malcolm Mclaren, Dead Or Alive, I'm Talking, Beargarden, Kids In The Kitchen, Machinations, Koo De Tah, Wa Wa Nee, Geisha, King, Pookah Makes Three, Stephen Duffy, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Scritti Politti, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, The Family, Nu Shooz, Samantha Fox, Mr Mister, Five Star, Princess, Jean Beauvoir and even Kylie towards the end of the Countdown era.
The Countdown presenters also played a huge part in its success. They were passionate about their art form and wanted the teenagers, kids and adults of Australia to discover what was new in music. Their links to the music industry existed before Countdown and their love for it was undoubtedly obvious with their enthusiasm informing music lovers of the latest stages, changes and trends in music.
Molly's passion was always greatly expressed during Humdrum and in interviews, like his love for the Dare album by The Human League, his friendships with Madonna, Elton John, Rod Stewart and more.. and his never ending drive and passion for more Australian content on commercial radio was an energy that couldn't be ignored. With Gavin Wood as part of the team till this day their enthusiasm for music has not changed. Watching pop idols on Countdown brought fashion into the limelight and music was its mentor, it was a truly creative and important period for music, video and presentation.
Not only was Countdown extremely important but other music programs on Australian television introduced pop, dance music, new wave, rock and funk music video's on a great level, with videos from all around the globe. From Sounds, Rock Arena, The Noise, Rock Around The World, Nightmoves to Wave Length, Between The Teeth, Music Video and the longest ABC music program to run in this country being Rage!...
I have dedicated this site to the most important music program from Australia as it brought pop music into the mainstream in a very influential way and introduced lovers of music to many new artists and to video. Programs like Rage have been repeating Countdown episodes every January since 1993 which has been absolutely fantastic as it proves how important it is to look back on the history of Countdown as it changed Australian music television forever.
I hope all Countdown lovers and people influenced by music of the 1970s and 1980s will enjoy this site as much as I have had putting it together!!!
Keep Countdown Alive!