Aussie Industry Mourns Two

The Australian music industry is mourning the deaths of two major artists within the same week.

Ross Hannaford, best known as guitarist with early ’70s band Daddy Cool, lost a year-long battle with cancer. He was 65. Hannaford wanted to be a painter until he discovered The Rolling Stones.

He formed a number of progressive rock acts until starting Daddy Cool with his childhood friend Ross Wilson as a zany ’50s-styled act. Their debut single, “Eagle Rock,” stayed on the Australian charts for 10 weeks (and charted in a number of U.S. markets) and remains a cultural milestone downunder. After his diagnosis in early 2015, he threw himself into recording his final solo album, Hanna, released December 2015.

Singer, songwriter and actor Jon English also emerged in the early 1970s singing in a number of soul-blues bands. In 1972 he won great acclaim as Judas Iscariot in the Australian production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

He juggled his career as a recording artist (the chart-topping “Six Ribbons” was a Top 10 hit in Europe in 1978 while U.S. soul band Tower of Power asked him to join) with TV sitcoms, co-writing a ballet, turning his love of Trojan mythology into a musical called “Paris” and starring in “The Pirates of Penzance,” “The Mikado” and “H.M.S. Pinafore.” During a minor operation for broken ribs, UK-born English died from an aortic aneurysm. He was 66.