Stevie Wright, Easybeats Singer and Australian Pop Star, Dead at 68
Popular “Friday on My Mind” singer widely considered Australia’s first international rock star
Stephen “Stevie” Wright, singer of Australian rock outfit the Easybeats and widely considered the country’s first international pop star, has died at age 68. Wright became ill on Boxing Day, December 26th, and died Sunday night, The Guardian reports. No cause of death has been given, though rock historian Glenn A. Baker confirmed the news to radio station 6PR.
After the Easybeats’ 1969 break-up, Wright, also billed as Little Stevie, ventured on as a solo artist, earning a hit with his 11-minute 1974 single,”Evie.” Wright continued to perform, including a stint in an Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar, but battled drug and alcohol addiction for two decades.
“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,'” Australian pop singer Normie Rowe told ABC Radio. “When the drugs raised their ugly head, I think it was the beginning of the end for him. 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.”
In 2005, Wright was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame based on his success with the Easybeats. He most recently performed in 2009 at the Legends of Rock festival at Byron Bay, Australia.