Molly made a difference to our lives back in the ’70s

TONIGHT'S much-awaited premiere of Molly on the Seven Network has had a huge build-up and, going by the shorts, looks pretty good.

Talented actor Samuel Johnson has a remarkable likeness to Molly Meldrum, so it should be a pretty interesting mini-series as long as it is not overpowered by ad breaks.

With the long lead-in to the ratings period our screens have been peppered with promos for the show, reminding me of many things in my youth as well as the Australian music industry at that time.

Countdown - the show that Molly made famous, as well as himself - started in the black-and-white TV days of 1974-75 and went on until 1987.

That period was a big part of my growing up, although old mate at home often reminds me that I never really matured until I was 50. I vividly remember Countdown's first show in colour. It was a very big occasion.

Seeing all these promos for Molly reminded me of live music on the Sunshine Coast in the '70s and also my first meeting with Molly.

It was at the Surfair Hotel in the '77-78-79 era, when publican Stan Elson was bringing every touring act direct to the Sunshine Coast and cramming 1000 punters into a beer garden that probably would have seated 250 people, max.

Cold Chisel, Split Enz (pre-Crowded House), Midnight Oil, The Angels and INXS - the list could go on and on.

In the days when drink-driving was prevalent, I can remember driving home from Surfair, after working all night, and seeing taillights and headlights in the canefields where punters hadn't quite been able to make a corner of David Low Way after a big night out watching the band.

Yes, I know it's disgraceful, but that was just what happened in those days - it was a different world.

One night in particular sticks in my mind when I think about rock bands and Molly.

INXS was on, the place was packed and some numbskull had parked his Jaguar in the drive-through bottle shop, which was still open.

I got the job to go find him - apparently he was wearing a cowboy hat.

When I found him and asked him to shift his car, he replied: "I'm Molly Meldrum. I'm here with the band."

I replied, "I don't care if you are the prime minister, shift your car", which he begrudgingly did.

I met him again about 30 years later with the Melbourne Storm and he wasn't overly friendly, so maybe he remembered.

Seriously, though, he did an amazing amount of good for the music industry, particularly in the '70s and '80s.

It was an exciting time for live music throughout the country and great for the people in regional Australia who got to see the cream of our talent and international visitors.

I hope the Seven Network does him justice with the show.

There is an old saying, "If you can remember the '60s you weren't there". Well tonight, for all of us who came of age in the '70s, we will be able to see it in living colour.

Good onya Molly.