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Think surf rock classics and a few songs come to mind - Wipe Out, Misirlou, Pipeline and of course Bombora, by Australia's own Atlantics, virtually the only successful surf instrumental band, not from America. Most well-known for their classic hits Bombora, The Crusher, Rumble and Run, they were the first Australian rock band to write their own hits.

The group's core met during the summer of 1960/61 on a bus returning from the beach to Randwick in Sydney where the band members were living. Their influences were all that instrumental rock of the day, from the pioneering Johnny and The Hurricanes through to "new" boys - the Ventures and the Shadows. Peter Hood and Jim Skiathitis were on the way to Sydney's Royal Easter Show but when it just rained and rained they ended up at Jim's house writing a new song. A mutual decision by the group called the new song Bombora - an Australian aboriginal term for large waves breaking over submerged rock shelves.

It was the time when the new surf music craze had emerged, the Chantays had jumped on the bandwagon with 'Pipeline'. The Atlantics were the first Australians to join in on the new craze, even their name fit. Acknowledging surfing was simply a reflection of their Sydney beach lifestyle. 'Bombora' was an instant success, top five nationally, and released in America, England, Japan, Italy, Holland and New Zealand. The Atlantics name again proved a lucky accident. A lot of people just assumed the band came from America.

Catapulted to stardom the band balanced the flood of demand for live appearances with recording their albums. The Atlantics recorded nine singles and four LPs for CBS in 60s, all of which are now regarded as classics of the genre. In late 60s they recorded a string of vocal singles with various recording companies which are outstanding examples of pre-punk garage rock. The group called it a day at the end of 1969.

Although the 'surf' genre had a rather unfashionable image for many years, time has gradually restored The Atlantics' reputation, and interest in their brilliant and pioneering group has been renewed, helped along greatly by the Sydney-based Canetoad label, who began to reissue their many recordings on a series of definitive compilation LPs and CDs.

For a number of years in the 1990s, bassist Bosco Bosonac ran the Vintage Record Cafe in Annandale, in inner-city Sydney, and this was apparently was the catalyst for their eventual reformation. Customers coming in to the shop soon discovered that he was one of The Atlantics, and that led Bosco and his bandmates to realise that they still had a strong following and that many people still held the band in high regard and wanted to see them reform. To the delight of fans around the country and across the world, the group reunited in 1999 with Jim, Bosco and Peter; new guitarist Martin Cilia replaced Theo Penglis, who opted not to rejoin.

Reformed band set about recapturing the sound that had propelled them to fame so many years before and had lifted them to a legendary status worldwide. 'Bombora' was used at the Sydney 2000 Olympic closing ceremony to compliment the image of 100 lifesavers dragging an oversized lifesaving reel into the arena. In 2002 the Atlantics joined the A Long Way To The Top tour. The band still actively releasing new material and performing live, in 2006 they recorded several new tracks for the Delightful Rain: A History of Australian Surf Music compilation. Keep an eye on the gig guide for an update on where they're playing next.

Read on...

  • MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975
  • The Atlantics MySpace page
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - Bombora
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - The Explosive Sound
    The Explosive Sound
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - Flight of the Surf Guitar
    Flight of the Surf...
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - Point Zero
    Point Zero
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - Miscellaneous
    The Atlantics The Atlantics - Vocals

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