The original LRB
The Little River Band (LRB) is an Australian (now American) soft rock band from Melbourne, Victoria. Formed in March 1975, the group originally featured lead vocalist Glenn Shorrock, guitarists and vocalists Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble, lead guitarist Ric Formosa, bassist Roger McLachlan, and drummer Derek Pellicci.
Grahaem Goble's early life
Graeham Goble was the founding member of Australia’s Little River Band. Graeham says it was no co-incidence that the band found success; he had planned to make it big since the age of 13, when he first began writing songs in Adelaide. An isolated, socially awkward boy and teenager, Graeham devoted his entire life to music and song-writing and was a firm believer that if one works hard, you will be rewarded. Graeham has had an incredible journey in the music industry and it was always his dedication to his craft that spurred him on. He formed several bands in the early days but it wasn’t until the band, Mississippi found favour with audiences all over Australia and then in the UK, that Graeham’s fortune started to turn around.
Mississippi meets Glenn Wheatley
In 1975, Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles, and Graeham Goble formed the band Mississippi which later became the Little River Band. The band’s success was helped by Glenn’s fame from Axiom and Twilights, and Beeb’s fame from Zoot. In 1972 Graeham left his secure job in Adelaide and moved to Melbourne to join the band. Glenn Wheatley then joined as manager, having previously been the bassist for The Masters Apprentices. This made it an Australia’s first supergroup. The band went on to become a successful international act. They started out playing gigs every day, including weekends, and eventually gained a huge following in Australia. They were signed to EMI London, and travelled to West Germany with the Hollies. Graham remembers playing in different halls in Europe at that time and recalls how the Hollies were a big draw, even then.
LRB finds almost instant success in the US
Little River Band eventually made it to America and people were amazed by how tight they were as a band. Graeham says the band’s success really stemmed from the endless work the band members put in and the curiosity that kept him going. As the band’s main song writer, Graeham began turning out hit after hit after hit.
From an isolated teenager in Adelaide to an internationally renowned musician, Graeham Goble’s journey is one of perseverance and dedication. As a key member of the Little River Band, Graeham strove to compete with the world’s best musicians and songwriters, weathering setbacks and challenges along the way. The band’s tenacity and talent saw them quickly rise to prominence, captivating audiences with their tight live performances. For Graeham, his sole focus was always the music, eschewing the temptations of the rock and roll lifestyle in favour of honing his songwriting skills. It was this unwavering commitment to his passion that allowed success to engulf the band.
Sunbury music festival, 1973
During 1977 LRB consistently toured, mostly in the US, appearing in stadiums on multi-billed shows supporting The Doobie Brothers, Supertramp and America. The same year they supported Fleetwood Mac and Santana. They released their 4th studio album ‘Sleeper Catcher’ and it became a huge hit.
Enter John Farnham
Tensions broke out within the band and Little River Band’s journey was significantly impacted by the introduction of John Farnham who replaced Glenn Shorrock as lead singer. Identifying the right members with the skills and passion to contribute to the music helped the Little River Band achieve the level of success it did with passionate fans around the world. Farnham’s unique voice provided the band with a fresh perspective, and his collaboration with Goble led to the creation of memorable songs like Please Don’t Ask Me. This partnership was instrumental in defining the sound and direction of Little River Band at that time.
The pressures of success and constant touring took their toll on the band as line-up changes continued. Birtles left in 1983 because he did not like the harder, more progressive musical path which Goble was taking and because he had preferred Shorrock’s vocals. Pellicci left in 1984 for similar reasons. Their eighth studio album, Playing to Win, was released in January 1985, which delivered a harder sound. The change in sound, along with the unofficial shortening of their name to LRB, confused fans and radio programmers.
More line-up changes
After Farnham’s departure, Little River Band were in limbo until 1987 when Pellicci and Shorrock returned at the request of Irving Azoff, the head of MCA Records, who wanted the band on his label. The reformed group continued on with the line-up of Goble, Housden, Nelson, Pellicci and Shorrock but unfortunately. Grahaem tells us that Glenn Wheatley signed away rights to the band’s name to the new company. Eventually the group splintered and a new Little River Band emerged in the US.
The parties settled out of court in 2002 and it was determined that Birtles, Goble and Shorrock could reference their history in advertising separate to BSG’s name but only in a descriptive manner. A further legal case in late 2005 was also settled out of court which allowed the trio to advertise their Little River Band connection but not to perform under that name. Today the Little River Band performs out of the US with none if its original members. Not one of them is even mentioned on the LRB website. Graeham Goble continues to write songs and produce records in Australia.
If you’d like to learn more, head to Graeham Goble’s website here and grab a copy of the latest albums – ‘Ultimate Hits’ is the greatest hits and ‘Masterpieces’ the deeper album cuts. Both albums source the Little River Band catalogue from the debut in 1975 through to 1986’s ‘No Reins’. The original material from the extraordinary original band members.