> Greg Hind
In 1992, Neighbours viewers were stunned when the dulcet tones of Barry Crocker were replaced after 7 years and two versions of the theme with a new, jazzier version. Here, its singer, Greg Hind talks to us about his career, the Neighbours theme and his romantic links to one of its other vocalists...
Firstly, can you give us some background about yourself?
I came up through local and high school bands in the Frankston and Peninsula area and eventually moved into the jingle scene, singing thousands of jingles and backing vocals for various people from Craig McLachlan to Tina Arena and everyone in between. I'm now with the Little River Band. touring and living in the U.S.
In 1992, you recorded a new version of the Neighbours theme tune. How did this come about?
Was actually on holiday in Philip Isle when the phone call came through from Peter Sullivan saying 'You better get in here fast and record this thing, we got the gig.' End of holiday!
Did you have any creative input into the sound of the theme? Were you influenced at all by Barry Crocker’s previous versions?
As a 'feel' singer I always have some kind of influence on everything I sing. I felt a bit of pressure to follow Barry, so respected his version as I sang mine. I mean the first version was an institution but luckily mine was accepted very well.
In 1994, Neighbours' music director, Chris Pettifer edited the full closing theme in order to extend the opening to account for an increased cast size in the title sequence. Were you approached again to re-record the theme?
We had already recorded 3 or 4 versions, so the longer one was already done I believe.
Your version of the theme lasted for seven years, making it the longest serving version so far, what do you think was the secret to its longevity?
It was a pretty radical departure from the first version, so I think that gave it its legs, but at the same time manage to capture the essence of Barry's theme.
The subsequent version was sung by Wendy Stapleton who provided backing vocals on your theme and her husband, Paul Norton and the melody was only slightly adapted to give it a more gritty, rock-base sound. Were you informed of the decision to change the theme?
Think I heard some rumours but I was a bit surprised to hear it gone. I was happy for Paul and Wendy as I am good friends with both of them and they are great artists.
After just three years, that version was dropped in favour of a new version by Janine Maunder, arranged by one time ‘Little River Band’ member, Steve Wade. The latest version by Sandra DeJong debuted five years later in 2007. Have you heard any of the subsequent theme arrangements, if so, what did you think about them? What do you think about the change to a female vocal?
I haven't heard the latest, but I've heard Janine's online. It was ironic as were once a couple, maybe a duet, boy/girl thing would have been better!
What can we expect from you in the future? Is there more to come from you and the Little River Band or do you have any plans to go solo?
LRB has a new Christmas album out and we might be doing a new original CD soon. I am busy writing country songs here in Nashville, mainly for other artists.
Neighbours has recently increased its music content with more live bands performing at the show's bar, Charlie's. Would you and the band ever consider making an appearance?
The band or I would jump at the chance to have some music or play on the show.
Have you ever been a viewer of the show yourself?
I have watched the show in different stages, especially when Natalie Imbruglia was on. It's fun to watch overseas, there's always a sense of pride and fondness for the show.
With Neighbours now in its 24th year, do you have any thoughts on why the show has lasted so long?
Finally, I think the show has made it through all these years because of the great cast members and characters they have unearthed over the years. Casting should take a lot of the credit, it's made a lot of great careers. Also, the Aussie lifestyle and landscape is extremely alluring to the rest of the world, especially Great Britain and Europe. Every single person I meet in the U.S. would give anything to come to Oz.
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by Callum. Added on 9th May 2009