Sydney band The Sunnyboys remain one of the most highly regarded and best-loved bands of the Australian 'post-punk' era. Fronted by the enigmatic and youthful singer/songwriter guitarist Jeremy Oxley, the band breathed some freshness and vitality into the Sydney music scene in the early 80s.
Essentially The Sunnyboys wore their influences on their sleeve; The Remains, The Flamin' Groovies, The Kinks and The Beatles with a dash of Detroit muscle thrown in for good measure. They produced melodic power pop classics and were rewarded with an immediate positive response.
Things happened very quickly for The Sunnyboys, who went from playing inner-city venues to scoring hit singles for the prestigious Mushroom label all within a year of formation. What set the band apart in many ways was Oxley's song writing ability. The chemistry between the four members was perfect too.
The Oxley brothers and Bill Bilson hailed from the northern New South Wales town of Kingscliff where they played in a garage band called Wooden Horse. The band gained early experience when the students of Tweed River High School were obliged to attend a compulsory concert in school hours arranged by the Oxley's father, who was an Art teacher at the school. Anyone who failed to applaud or was in any way unsupportive was awarded detention. Richard Burgman came from Wagga Wagga, and they all met in Sydney in 1979, forming The Sunnyboys. On August 15 1979, they played their first gig, supporting inner-city faves The Lipstick Killers.
In October of that year the band recorded four songs with Lobby Loyde. The tracks, "Love To Rule", "The Seeker", "What You Need" and "Alone With You", all appeared on the band's self-titled and independently released 4-track 7" EP on Phantom Records. The initial pressing of 1,000 copies sold out in two weeks.
The Sunnyboys signed to Mushroom Records early in 1981, becoming the first Sydney-based band on the label, and by July that year had cracked the mainstream charts with the single "Happy Man". The same month they released their own independent EP which was given away at gigs, entitled Happy Birthday containing the tracks "What You Need", "Why Do I Cry?", "I Want To Be Alone" and "Let You Go". Their eponymous debut LP, was recorded at Alberts Studio during May, June and July 1981 with producer/mentor Lobby Loyde. The album had an initial print run of 2,000 on yellow vinyl, reached number 13 on the national album charts in October 1981 and remains an Australian classic. The album produced a second hit single, a new version of "Alone With You", which reached number 15 on the national singles chart, establishing The Sunnyboys as a bona fide headline attraction.
In the midst of their heavy touring schedule the band recorded their second album, Individuals (issued May 1982). The album peaked at number 19 and two singles from the record charted briefly: "You Need A Friend" and "This Is Real".
Their fifth single, "Show Me Some Discipline" charted in Sydney only. The band meanwhile travelled to the United Kingdom where they played two sold out shows at the famous Marquee Club before recording their 3rd album at Ridgefarm Studios, Surrey. The resultant album, Get Some Fun displayed a greater diversity and more confident musicianship. To coincide with the album's release, the band embarked on their first national Australian tour since May 1983. Unfortunately, neither the LP or the singles from the album ("Love In A Box" and "Comes As No Surprise") charted strongly enough.
Internal dissent also plagued the band and The Sunnyboys announced their break-up in June 1984. Their farewell tour produced the album Real Live which was recorded over two nights in Sydney (29 and 30 June).
In 1985, the French label Closer combined The Sunnyboys' first two albums as a double set entitled Days Are Gone for the European market. Following the demise of The Sunnyboys, Jeremy Oxley launched a new band called Chinless Elite. Shortly thereafter he formed another (and more successful) group, called The Fishermen. This band released one brilliant pop single entitled "Can't You Stop?" on the Waterfront label before calling it a day.
Richard Burgman meanwhile joined The Saints and ultimately Weddings Parties Anything. He later emigrated to Canada. Peter Oxley and Bill Bilson formed the soul band The Sparklers with another Oxley sibling, Melanie.
In late 1987, Jeremy Oxley attempted to revive The Sunnyboys with a new line-up. The new band signed a deal with RCA and released an album entitled Wildcat (produced by ex-Sherbert keyboard player, Garth Porter). The album failed to convince old Sunnyboys fans and the band broke up again in 1990.
In July 1991, Mushroom released the compilation album Plays The Best and the original line-up reunited for a national tour.
From 2001 onward, Jeremy Oxley has returned to writing and playing. Releasing Internet albums, Sanctuary 9,http://www.sunnyboys.com.au/sanctuary9/sanctuary9vid_1.htm and Monastery, and is currently working on an up coming album, Companion.
In 2007 Tich Lange released a hip-hop version on the Hardrush label of the classic "Alone With You" as "I'm Alone Wid U" mentioning Bruce McAvaney's favourite term "special" in one of the first verse as the best amongst others.