James Reyne OAM (born James Michael Nugent Reyne on 19 May 1957 in Lagos, Nigeria) is an Australian rock musician and singer/songwriter both as a member of the iconic 1980s band Australian Crawl and solo work.
Reyne was born in Nigeria to an Australian mother and English diplomat father. The family moved to Victoria, Australia in the early 1960s. Reyne lived in Mount Eliza, Victoria, was educated at The Peninsula School and then went on to study drama at the Victorian College of Arts. He formed a band called Spiff Rouch containing fellow locals Bill McDonough, Guy McDonough, Brad Robinson, Paul Williams, Robert Walker, Mark Hudson and Simon Binks. By early 1978, Spiff Rouch had split with Reyne forming Clutch Cargo with Binks, Robinson, Williams and his younger brother David Reyne.
In late 1978, Clutch Cargo was renamed Australian Crawl and started to gain popularity on the pub circuit. David Reyne left to continue an acting course and was replaced by Bill McDonough. Australian Crawl made a memorable debut on popular music TV series Countdown. Reyne performed with both arms in plaster casts, a result of injuries sustained after being hit by a car. The band went on to sell more than 1 million albums in Australia in the 1980s, creating several memorable songs that still resonate within Australian culture and on Australian radio today. Their most popular songs are "Reckless", "Beautiful People", "Errol", "The Boys Light Up", "Things Don't Seem", "Oh No Not You Again" and "Downhearted". They were voted Countdown 1981 Most Popular Group and Reyne was 1980 and 1981 Most Popular Male Performer. After the band split up in 1986, Reyne went on to a successful solo career.
Whilst still with Australian Crawl, Reyne formed a duet with Lin Buckfield of Electric Pandas to release a 1985 single "R.O.C.K." / "Under My Thumb".
In 1987, Reyne released his self titled debut solo album. After subsequently releasing the hit single "Fall Of Rome", which reached #5 on the Australian charts, the album was re-packaged with "Motors Too Fast" (#6 Aria Charts) replacing the song "Coin in A Plate" which had appeared on the original version. Ultimately the debut album would spawn 6 hit singles, including "Hammerhead" (#8 Aria Charts), "Heaven On A Stick", "Rip It Up" and "Always The Way".
His debut was followed in May 1989 by his next solo release Hard Reyne, which featured the hits "House of Cards" (#17 Aria Charts) and "One More River" (#22 Aria Charts). The album was produced By Simon Hussey. The project was launched with a live televised performance on Australia's MTV program on the Nine Network and an Australian Tour in late 1989. A further two singles; "Trouble In Paradise" (Oct 1989) and "Harvest Moon" (Jan 1990) completed the album.
In 1991 Electric Digger Dandy was released. Mindful of the American market (where the album was released under the title of "Any Day Above Ground"), Electric Digger Dandy included a re-vamped version of the Australian Crawl hit "Reckless" as well as a cover of John Hiatt's "Stood Up", a duet with American Blues legend Tony Joe White. Single releases from the album included "Slave" (#10 Aria Charts), "Any Day Above Ground" and "Some People". It remains Reyne's biggest commercial release reaching #3 on the Australian Music Charts.
In 1992 he recorded a duet with country singer James Blundell (a cover of the The Dingoes song, Way Out West). It hit #2 on the Australian charts – still James' biggest solo single. Later that year he joined former Sherbet frontman Daryl Braithwaite, Jef Scott and Simon Hussey to create the album Company of Strangers – an album that spawned four Top 100 singles. All three of these releases went platinum multiple times and contained several top 10 hits. These included Motor City (I Get Lost), Sweet Love, Daddy's Gonna Make You A Star and Baby You're A Rich Man.
October 1994 saw the release of James' critically acclaimed fourth album on the RooArt label – The Whiff Of Bedlam, recorded in Los Angeles with Stewart Levine. The first single release was "Red Light Avenue" and followed by "Day In The Sun" (Dec 1994)and "It's Only Natural" (April 1995). James performed "Day In The Sun" on the Australian Music Awards held in Queensland in November 1994. James also toured the album across Australia in the summer of 1994. Following on from a successful Australian Tour, James and his band continued overseas to Europe, UK and South America. Recorded live in South America, the double-album "Live In Rio" was released in May 1996. A single edit of "Oh No, Not You Again (live)" was released to coincide with the album.
In late 1996 James took to the theatrical stage in David Atkin's hit musical "Little Shop Of Horrors".
James headed back into the studio in 1997 and worked with producer Ashley Caddell. Now signed to Village Roadshow Music, the first release was the pop-infused "Brand New Emperor's Clothes" in October 1997. James continued to write and record new material throughout 1998/1999. Two more single releases "Not Waving, Drowning" and "Wonderful Day" (1998) were forthcoming.
This was followed in 1999 with the critically acclaimed Design For Living, which featured the sleeper gems "Reno", "Little Criminals" and "Stranger Than Fiction." Mostly recorded with friend and producer Scott Kingman at his studio in Melbourne. Experimental and bold, it remains Reyne's strongest effort, and popular with fans.
In 1999, he was one of many guest performers on John Farnham's "I Can't Believe He's 50 Tour". His duet with Farnham, "Don't You Know It's Magic", can be heard on John Farnham's "Live At The Regent Theatre" album.
2000s/Liberation/Every Man A King
After a few years' break between studio albums, Reyne signed with Liberation Music in Australia. In 2004 he released Speedboats for Breakfast, which included the singles "Bug" and "The Rainbows Dead End". Of "Bug" James said: "I wanted to create a song out of playing the same four chords going round and round, building and growing all the time, with things coming in and dropping out. The listener knows there's transition but there's no real point where the change is obvious" This was followed in 2005 by the album ...And The Horse You Rode In On, which contained acoustic reworkings of some of best-known solo and Australian Crawl compositions. In late 2004, Australian dance producers Smash 'n' Grab remixed Australian Crawl's "Reckless", and Reyne scored a minor dance hit with the song "She Don't Like That".
Reyne hosted Dig, a music show on ABC2, and made an appearance on The AFL Footy Show in Melbourne in 2006. However, Dig was removed from ABC2's line-up due to budget cuts in 2007.
In May 2007, Reyne released a new studio album, Every Man a King, which features the singles "Light in the Tunnel" and "Little Man You've Had a Busy Day". Reyne said of the album; "If there's any theme to this album it's people being easily impressed. This silliness that they aspire to, the lives they read about in magazines. Their obsession with trash culture, the bizarre values we seem to live by. It's all just endlessly and perversely fascinating to me."
A second acoustic album, titled Ghost Ships, was released in early October 2007.
In April 2010 Reyne released, "TCB" (short for Taking Care of Business), a collection of Elvis Presley covers, including "Viva Las Vegas", "Return To Sender" and "Burning Love". The album debuted at number 32 on the ARIA Albums chart. Reyne also appeared on "Hey Hey It's Saturday" and Channel 9's NRL "The Footy Show" in the week of 19 April 2010.
In November 2011, James released his first single in years titled "English Girls". This was to be followed by his most autobiographical song "Capsize", in January 2012. Both songs feature on Reyne's latest album "Thirteen" (Released March 2012). The album was written/Produced mostly by Reyne along with Scott Kingman. Proving popular with fans and favourable reviews, two more singles were released; "Whatcha Gonna Do About it?" and "Good Clean Fun".
James joined the team at Music Max in 2013 as a Presenter saying, “I’m really looking forward to joining the team at MAX. It feels like a very comfortable and logical extension of my interest in all things musical. They’ve all been very professional and very welcoming.”
In the Australia Day honours of 2014 Reyne was recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division "for service to the performing arts as a singer/songwriter, and through support for a range of charitable organisations".
Reyne appeared in the TV drama Return to Eden as well as several other productions. He also played Tina Turner's manager in the 1993 bio-movie about Tina's life What's Love Got To Do With It. In 2005 Reyne appeared as a guest actor of the telemovie The Post Card Bandit.
Reyne is the older brother of David Reyne, a drummer (Australian Crawl, Cats Under Pressure, Chantoozies), actor and television presenter. Their younger sister Elisabeth produced Daryl Braithwaite's 1991 album Higher Than Hope. James Reyne is the father of TV soapie Neighbours actor Jaime-Robbie Reyne. Reyne lives on the Mornington Peninsula with his partner, Tina, and a daughter.
Albums (Australian Crawl)
- James Reyne – Capitol (CDP7469412) (1987) AUS #4
- Hard Reyne – Capitol/EMI (CDP7918742) (1989) AUS #7
- Electric Digger Dandy – Virgin (VOZCD 2050) (1991) AUS #3
- Any Day Above Ground (E.P.) – Virgin (91785-2) (1 October 1991)
- The Best of James Reyne – EMI (7807582) (1992) AUS #16
- The Whiff of Bedlam – RooART (4509980932) (1994) AUS#20
- Live in Rio – RooART (2068300008) (1996)
- Design for Living – Roadshow (101890-2) (1999)
- Reckless (1979–1995) – Raven (RVCD-83) (10 November 2000)
- Australian Crawl and James Reyne: The Definitive Collection – EMI (5423512) (14 October 2002)
- Speedboats for Breakfast – Liberation (LIBCD6093.2) (19 April 2004)
- ...And the Horse You Rode In On – Liberation Blue (BLUE076.5) (2004)
- Every Man a King – Liberation (LIBCD9239.5) (5 May 2007)
- Ghost Ships – Liberation (LBN00010043) (1 October 2007)
- One Night In Melbourne – Liberation (LMCD0063) (21 August 2009)
- TCB – Liberation (LMCD0094) (9 April 2010) AUS #32
- Thirteen – MGM/Hammerhead Records (HHR1) (16 March 2012)
Albums (Company of Strangers)
- Company of Strangers – Columbia (COL 4720812) (1992) (AUS #9)
|1985||R.O.C.K. (with Lin Buckfield)||44|
|1987||Fall of Rome||5|
|Rip It Up||34|
|1988||Heaven on a Stick||59|
|Motor's Too Fast||4|
|Always the Way||72|
|1989||House of Cards||17|
|One More River||22|
|Trouble in Paradise||72|
|Any Day Above Ground||67|
|Way Out West (with James Blundell)||2|
|Motor City (With Company Of Strangers)||26|
|Sweet Love (With Company Of Strangers)||21|
|1993||Daddy's Gonna Make You A Star(With Company Of Strangers)||35|
|1994||Red Light Avenue||32|
|1995||Day in the Sun||86|
|It's Only Natural|
|1996||Oh No Not You Again [Live Edit]|
|1997||Brand New Emperor's Clothes|
|1998||Not Waving Drowning|
|Rainbow's Dead End|
|2005||She Don't Like That (with Smash 'n' Grab)||42|
|2007||Light In The Tunnel|
|Little Man You've Had A Busy Day|
|Whatcha Gonna Do About It?|
|Good Clean Fun|
- discography at MusicBrainz