"He was one of the greatest rock'n'roll stars ever produced here"
A growing number of Australian and international identities from in and outside the music industry have offered their sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Stevie Wright, the renowned frontman of iconic '60s outfit The Easybeats and a respected songwriter in his own right, in the wake of the news of his death in southern NSW last night.
Speaking to the ABC, ex-Young Talent Time host Johnny Young - for whom Wright wrote Step Back, Young's first #1 record - described the musician as "one of the greatest rock'n'roll stars ever produced here in Australia", remembering that he could "slay [any audience] with his energy".
"Stevie was a wonderful musician, a great songwriter," Young said.
"He lived a pretty rugged life at the end of it," he said. "Everybody knows that he had some serious addictions that he had huge problems with, but I like to remember Stevie as he was when he was younger."
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Fellow '60s pop star Normie Rowe has also spoken to the ABC about Wright following his passing, saying, "The Easybeats were one of the most remarkable pop bands of their time, and I think probably recorded the definitive pop song of the era in Friday On My Mind."
"When the drugs raised their ugly head, I think it was the beginning of the end for him," Rowe said. "Not too many people come back from that. I really think that if you don't have a strong family foundation, probably show business isn't the place for you."
Meanwhile, beloved Aussie music critic Molly Meldrum paid his respects to Wright by calling him one of the country's best frontmen.
Speaking to News Corp Australia he said, "He was up there with Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury, no question."
"I have immense respect for that man. As a front man he was a true rock star. It’s a very sad loss because he was an incredible talent. Before I was in the industry I loved Friday On My Mind and I saw The Easybeats and you were blown away at how great he was.
“I got to know Stevie and the band a bit here and in London and they just made these amazing records and they truly were one of the first bands to take Australian rock music on to the international stage."
Similarly, Hoodoo Gurus' Dave Faulkner named The Easybeats as one of his favourite bands.
"They were the first Australian rock band to capture the attention of the world at large," Faulkner said.
"Paul McCartney famously heard Friday on My Mind on his car radio and immediately pulled over and phoned the BBC demanding they play it again — which they did."
Taking to his Facebook page last night, Jimmy Barnes said, "An amazing singer, one of the greatest rock singers ever."
"Australia has lost a true legend and I am very sad."
Also speaking on Wright's passing were the likes of veteran US singer-songwriter Cletis Carr, Australian politican Anthony Albanese and Fairfax reporter Brad Walter, among several others.
Vale Stevie Wright, a legend of Australian rock https://t.co/5YYgRvfP3y— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) December 28, 2015