18 January 23
In 1963 Australia’s radio waves and early black & white television music shows were filled with a new phenomenon – surf music with its thundering drums and screeching guitars. A vital, energetic sound that totally captured our beach-loving nation.
At the forefront, leading the pack of local and international surf bands, was The Atlantics. Four fresh-faced teenagers from Maroubra with their smash hit instrumental Bombora.
Written by guitarist Jim Skiathitis and drummer Peter Hood, Bombora surfed its way to number one in Australia and made chart impact around the world including the US.
Interestingly, Bombora was also the first song written by and recorded by an Australian band that hit number one on the Australian charts.
On Australia Day this year, sixty years on, The Atlantics will release their latest album of newly written songs aptly named “Still Making Waves”.
Six decades on, this band has a significant story to tell – a story that would seem worthy of ARIA Hall Of Fame recognition.
However, Jim dismisses that politely.
“Yes, we might have been close a few years back and it would have been nice. But that’s not the reason we have played all these years.”
“We played because we loved it. Then and now.”
“It all started with Peter, Bosco, Theo and Eddie forming the early band while still at school. I was a schoolmate and was recruited sometime later after Eddie left the band.”
“It was fun. We had the songs and the sound of the time.”
“We were writing, recording, touring relentlessly. And in particular, Peter and I just had this spontaneous way of creating songs together.”
“Naturally over time we changed. Like all bands. But the door was always open and in 1999, Martin joined. In some ways, at the time, he was more Atlantics than we were. He brought a new energy and a new era for us.”
From the mid-1990s to 2013, The Atlantics toured Australia with The Beach Boys and Chris Isaack, joined Kylie Minogue and other Australian music icons in the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, featured in the national tours of “Long Way To The Top”, kicked off the television documentary and CD “Delightful Rain: a celebration of Australian surf music”, showcased their string of hits in the DVD “The Atlantics Live At Freshwater” and toured Italy, Finland and Greece.
They also released a number of new CDs including Flight of the Surf Guitar, Next Generation, Point Zero The Best Of and Collectibles.
Sadly in 2021, after a long-term debilitating disease, drummer Peter Hood passed away.
“Obviously it was a very sad time for all of us” says Jim. “I was feeling very down about Peter. I also have arthritis in my hands and fingers. But one day I said to myself What are you doing, you bloody idiot?”
“So, I picked myself up and started writing some new songs. I rang Martin who was very keen. He also had a few songs. Then Bosco re-joined the band and that was three quarters of The Atlantics, so we wrote and produced this album as a sort of tribute to Peter.”
“Still Making Waves” is the end result. A 16-track album featuring Jim, Martin, Bosco and Mental As Anything drummer Jacob Cook. As the title implies, the band has not moved far from its heartland.
Fittingly, the last track “Stranger on Mykonos” features Peter Hood on drums. It was recorded in 2013 at the very last session ever recorded with the band.
“Still Making Waves” will be released on Australia Day 2023 - sixty years on from that very first wave.
CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE HERE
NEWS RELEASE & THIS AMAZING TIMELINE (BELOW) BY DAVID MINEAR
THE ATLANTICS - A TIMELINE
Holden releases the FJ. The first drive-in theatre opens in Australia and a year later television is broadcast for the first time. Bill Haley & The Comets tour Australia and “The Wild One” Johnny O’Keefe & The Dee Jays become Australia’s first professional rock ‘n’ roll band. Elvis hits the charts.
Members of the future Atlantics meet for the first time as school students.
After a few personnel reshuffles, The Atlantics finally consolidate into a quartet comprising Peter Hood (drums), Bosco Bosanac (bass), Jim Skiathitis (lead/rhythm guitar) and Theo Penglis (lead/rhythm guitar).
The Atlantics appear on ATN-7’s New Faces and are voted “The Most Promising Group Of 1962”.
The Twist dance craze arrives and Surf Life Saving Clubs around the nation become the place to go on a Saturday night. This reaches crescendo status with the emergence of the STOMP dance craze and SURF MUSIC the following year.
The UK based instrumental group The Shadows claim five Top 10 hits in Australia during the year.
The Atlantics audition and sign with CBS Records.
The Atlantics’ first single Moon Man b/w Free Fall is released.
The single creates some attention, peaking on the Sydney based 2GB Tune Table at #28.
Pipeline by The Chantays is released in Australia and hits number #1.
“The Rockers” versus “The Surfies” war develops in Sydney
Wipe Out by The Surfaris hits #1 in Australia.
Bombora by The Atlantics is released. It becomes a massive hit around Australia, displacing The Surfaris’ Wipe Out at #1. The Atlantics are subsequently voted the “Top Australian Instrumental Band” by the Macquarie Broadcasting Network.
The Atlantics’ BOMBORA album is released and becomes the biggest selling album for CBS that year and will remain in the record company’s catalogue for decades to come.
Surf Music dominates the Sydney charts with more than half of the Top 10 hits surf music related. The STOMP dance craze becomes a phenomenon, lasting well into mid-1964 (even during the advent of Beatlemania).
The Crusher, The Atlantics’ third single is released. It peaks in a number of Top 5 charts, held from the top slot by such “Mersey Beat” acts as The Beatles, Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, Gerry And The Pacemakers and Kathy Kirby.
Now it’s stompin’ time The Atlantics’ second album is released.
An estimated 40,000+ people crowd into Lane Cove National Park(Sydney) to witness the First National Stomp Championship hosted by Sydney radio station 2SM. The Atlantics one of the headline acts.
The Atlantics release the somewhat futuristic War Of The Worlds as their fourth single. The single stuns many disc jockeys and radio programmers and as a result the musically innovative production fails to secure any sort of significant airplay. .
The Atlantics, third album, The Explosive Sound Of The Atlantics is released.
The Atlantics’ fifth single, Rumble And Run b/w The Wild Ones, is released.
The first “Johnny Rebb And The Atlantics’ single, A Girl Named Sue, is released along with The Atlantics’ sixth single, Teensville
The Atlantics tour Malaysia and Japan.
The Atlantics’ seventh single - featuring the two group originals, Giant and Mirage, is released, followed by the two non-originals Goldfinger and Bumble Boogie a few months later.
The Atlantics Greatest Hits album is released.
The Easybeats’ She’s So Fine tops the Australian charts and first Australian troops are shipped off to South Vietnam.
The Atlantics’ last single with CBS Records - Peter Gunn - is released.
The Atlantics leave CBS Records.
Late 1965 – mid 1966
The Atlantics back vocalist Johnny Rebb on three singles for HMV Records, as well as one single by Russ Kruger.
The first vocal single released under the Atlantics name -That’s Old Fashioned b/w Gotta Lot Of Love on Leedon Records.
The Atlantics release the vocal twosome It’s A Hard Life b/w Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do for Sunshine Records. They also back Russ Kruger on two singles Keep Me Satisfied (October 1966) and Look At My Baby (February 1967).
I Put A Spell On You by The Atlantics (featuring Johnny Rebb on lead vocal) is released by Sunshine picks up considerable airplay, re-establishing the group with a new (vocal) sound and hipper image.
Written by drummer Peter Hood, The Atlantics release “Come On” with vocals by Johnny Rebb. A very popular track at the time – but also unique and highly regarded even to this day by aficionados of 1960s garage punk.
Mid – late 1967
The Atlantics form their own record label Ramrod Records - Rebb-Atlantics-McDonagh-Record-Organisation. Subsequently releasing nearly two dozen singles between September 1967 and 1970. These include five under the artist name of “The Atlantics”, three by Russ Kruger, four by Johnny Rebb and other various artists of the time.
Two vocal singles released - A Girl Like You and What Is Love.
Light Shades of Dark, Parts 1 and 2 single released.
The first “Moratorium” (anti-Vietnam War) March. Billy Thorpe And The Aztecs star at the Sunbury Pop Festival. Alby Falzon’s MORNING OF THE EARTH surfing film is released.
The Atlantics disband as a functioning group. Atlantic Studios is subsequently established in the Sydney suburb of Earlwood by group members Peter Hood and Bosco Bosanac. The studio produces and records for numerous artists and bands over the next decade.
The Atlantics’ original version of Bombora is featured in Nat Young’s surfing documentary “The History Of Australian Surfing”. It is also included on the soundtrack album released by CBS Records. As a result, the tune is re-introduced to a new generation.
As a result of the rekindled interest, The Atlantics reform for live performances. Regrettably a scheduled performance at the Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home concert in Sydney’s Domain on Sunday, October 4 is cancelled at the last minute due to inclement weather. However, a series of live concerts did take place in various venues, halls and leagues clubs up and down the coast over the next few years.
“Flight of the Surf Guitar” CD featuring the first new Atlantics’ recordings in 17 years is released. The reformed group includes original members Peter Hood, Jim Skiathitis and Bosco Bosanac. The CD is produced by new group member Martin Cilia who composes fourteen of the seventeen tunes.
The Atlantics’ first major television appearance since 1970. The group performs live on the ABC-TV show The 10:30 Spot hosted by Dylan Lewis and Angus Sampson.
The Atlantics are featured guests on ABC-TV’s Studio 22, introduced by music journalist Clinton Walker. The group’s performance of Bombora is subsequently included on the 2002 CD – Highlights from the ABC-TV Series Studio 22.
Bombora and The Atlantics are featured during the “Parade of Icons” at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic.
The Atlantics’ recording of Chantilly Lace is included on the Italian only various artists CD compilation American Graffiti Revisited.
The Atlantics are featured in ABC-TV’s hugely successful television documentary on Australian music – Long Way To The Top.
The Atlantics’ recordings of Surf’s Up and Freakout are included on the Brazilian only various artists CD compilation Lost In The 60s.
The Atlantics’ recording of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is included on the USA only various artists compilation For A Few Guitars More.
The Atlantics’ The Next Generation is released. With original members Peter Hood, Jim Skiathitis and Bosco Bosanac with Martin Cilia.
The Atlantics are invited to participate in the national live touring version of Long Way To The Top. The touring group is Hood, Skiathitis, Bosanac and Cilia. The group is also represented on the CD and DVD releases of both the live shows and television documentary.
The Atlantics’ recordings of Atlantica and Shark Island are included on the US-only various artists compilation release – The Summer Of 2003.
The Atlantics’ recording of Superstar is included on the USA only various artists compilation of an album called “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
Four Atlantics’ recordings (from the NEXT GENERATION CD) are featured in Phil Avalon’s film Liquid Bridge. Two included on the accompanying soundtrack CD.
The Atlantics are offered the support role for The Beach Boys’ Australian tour.
The Atlantics (Hood, Skiathitis, Bosanac and Cilia) release their third new CD Point Zero.
The Atlantics appear at the “Wild Weekend” Pop Festival in Spain.
The Atlantics’ recordings of Return Of The Dolphins and Transatlantic are included on the CD soundtrack to Summer City.
Flight Of The Surf Dogs video with The Atlantics providing the soundtrack is released.
The Atlantics tour with USA recording artist Chris Isaak.
The Atlantics record a version of Aquarius for the Italian only various artists compilation Hair: Surf Tribal Love-Rock Musical.
“The Best Of” CD featuring re-recordings of some of the group’s best remembered tracks is released.
Bosco Bosanac leaves the Atlantics to pursue a solo career.
The “Delightful Rain” sessions. Together with various other Australian groups and individuals associated with Australian surf music, The Atlantics spend two weeks recording live at Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The Atlantics now comprise Peter Hood, Jim Skiathitis, Martin Cilia and Michael Smith.
“Delightful Rain; A Celebration Of Australian Surf Music” CD & DVD are released by new surf music label Bombora,
The Atlantics’ recording of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is included on the USA only various artists compilation “Six Gun Surf”.
The Atlantics are featured on the February 11 edition of the Seven Network’s television show Where Are They Now.
The “Noosa Rain” live performances. The Atlantics, together with Tamam Shud and Beau Young, perform at The Noosa Festival Of Surfing in Queensland.
Four tunes by The Atlantics, Neptune’s Journey, Riff A Go Go, Navaho and Jim’s Walk - are featured on the various artists’ compilation “Twangin’ Around The World Volume 3”
The Noosa Rain performances are released on CD by Bombora Creative.
The Atlantics perform as a “Power Trio” at the “Surf ‘N’ Turf” benefit night at the Mona Vale Hotel (Sydney) for musician Wayne Goodwin.
The trio comprises Peter Hood, Martin Cilia and bass player Michael Smith. The most significant event of the evening is the appearance of original group member Theo Penglis who joins the trio on stage to perform versions of Bombora and Night Star, the latter off the group’s CD. It was the first time Penglis has played with the group since 1970.
The Atlantics perform at “A Very Big Gig”, another Wayne Goodwin (Leukaemia Foundation) benefit show. This time held at the Basement at Sydney’s Circular Quay.
Russ Kruger & The Atlantics1965-66 is released as a limited edition 12-inch vinyl album.
Bombora and an Atlantics version of Wedding Cake Island are featured in the ABC-TV series Bombora: The Story Of Australian Surfing.
The Atlantics return to the live arena, performing at a variety of venues in Sydney and Wollongong, and as part of the “Delightful Rain Series” held at the Old Manly Boatshed (November 5) in conjunction with the inaugural “Manly Festival Of Surfing”. The group performs a broad spectrum set of nineteen tunes covering old and new material.
The Atlantics at this stage now comprise original member Jim Skiathitis, Martin Cilia, Michael Smith and drummer Jeff Cripps. Retired from live performances, original Atlantics’ drummer Peter Hood nonetheless still records with the group and was in attendance at the shows, performing a handful of tunes with the group, in particular Bombora.
The Atlantics Live At Freshwater DVD is released by Bombora Creative – featuring a live performance from 2006.
More live performances to promote the CD Collectibles - a fourteen track collection grouping together material spanning the years 1966-2010. Live shows included The Vault Windsor and Coogee Diggers Club. Peter Hood and Martin Cilia also appeared on Weekends With Simon Marine (ABC 702 radio) to promote the group’s new CD.
The Atlantics’ original ‘60s Sunshine Records’ recording of Come On is included on the various artists compilation album Down Under Nuggets – Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-1967.
A restructured Atlantics with Martin and Jim and featuring new group members Lloyd Gri and Hayden Pickergill, replacing Peter Hood and Michael Smith, respectively, embark on a brief European tour, appearing at “The Surfer Joe Summer Festival” in Livorno, Italy (June 22) as well as additional shows in Italy and Greece.
After five decades, on August 21, 2013, The Atlantics’ 1963 recording of Bombora was finally given the acknowledgement it long deserved when it is added to the National Film & Sound Archives’ “Sounds Of Australia” register.
2013 – 21
A relatively quiet time for The Atlantics. Family became their individual priority. Martin was the only one playing full-time with various bands and also as a touring member of Mental As Anything until the unexpected death of Greedy Smith. And then the impact of COVID.
However, a key highlight in Atlantics’ history occurred in 2019 when Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum purchased the famous red Fender Stratocaster that the band had written Bombora on all those years ago - and the very same guitar that recorded and toured with the band over almost six decades.
Sadly, after a long illness, Peter Hood passed away in 2021. Obviously, it was a extremely tough time for his former band members. However, rather than just be sad, they decided to send him off the best way they knew how – get back to writing and recording the music and the band he loved most.
“Still Making Waves” is the end result. A 16-track album featuring Jim, Martin and Bosco. As the title implies, the band has not moved far from its heartland. Fittingly, the last track Stranger On Mykonos features Peter Hood on drums. It was recorded in 2013 at the very last session Peter ever recorded with the band.
60 years and still making waves – that is the story of Australia’s surf music super group. The one and only – The Atlantics.