Before Goldfrapp, before Kate Bush, there was Noosha Fox


 
Noosha Fox is an Australian singer who, in the mid 1970s, fronted the British act Fox, who scored a handful of hits across Europe with their funk and reggae-influenced strain of glam-rock. After the band dissolved near the end of the decade, Noosha embarked on a moderately successful solo career; one of her tracks, “The Heat Is On”, ended up being covered by a solo Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA.

Fox’s tunes are great, and regularly entered high up on the British charts (as some of these clips will attest.) So how come I’d never heard of the fantastic Noosha until very recently?

Thanks to the website Lost Idols (and DM’s own Paul Gallagher,) here’s a bit more information on Noosha and the band:

The band was formed by Kenny Young (the man who got the credits for writing the song “Under the Boardwalk” for The Drifters in 1964). Lead singer of The Fox was Susan Traynor (from Australia) who earlier did backing vocals on Kenny Young’s solo album “Last Stage for Silverworld” in 1973 and also was in a band called “Wooden Horse”. The rest of the band included Herbie Armstrong (guitar and vocals), Pete Solley (keyboards), Jim Gannon (lead guitar), Gary Taylor (bass guitar) and Jim Frank (drums & percussion). Kenny Young played guitars, percussion and vocals. Susan became known as Noosha Fox and their first album “FOX” was a top ten hit in 1975.

It appears that Roger Taylor of ‘Queen’ added backing vocals to the track ‘Survival’ on Fox’s ‘Tails of Illusion’ album. Queen were in the same studio recording ‘A Night at the Opera’.

What happened then?

Noosha Fox (Susan Traynor), had a solo career when she left the band (1977) during the late 70s and early 80’s. She only had one minor hit with “Georgina Bailey”. Herbie Armstrong and Kenny Young moved on to a band called Yellow Dog and later Armstrong worked with Van Morrison in the late 70’s and early 80’s.Kenny Young has been working as a Record producer. Now Herbie is running a Restaurant together with his Swedish-born wife Elizabeth, in Hampshire called The Fountain Inn & Thai Restaurant. the rumour says they combine their talents in running one of the best eating places in the area.

Pete Solley joined Whitesnake on keyboards in 1977 for Snakebite. He’s also played with Procol Harum, Mickey Jupp and many more. He has also produced records for Oingo Boingo, Motorhead and Romantics. Jim Frank worked as an sound engineer for Alice Cooper (“Welcome to my nightmare”) and Peter Gabriel’s first solo album to mention a few. Jim Gannon played with the band “Black Widow” and also did some vocals on Alice Cooper “Goes To Hell”.

Not bad post-pop careers there, not bad at all.

Fox are one of those acts who have been unfairly booted into history’s dumpster, casualties of a cultural shift that saw glam rock relegated to just an embarrassing phase. Although undoubtedly an influence on a whole generation’s burgeoning sexuality (check out the YouTube comments on any of her/their clips), ask anyone under the age of 40 who Noosha Fox is and you’ll get a blank stare and an itchy scalp.

That’s a real shame, because Noosha and her band were fantastic. With her very distinctive look and sound (silent-cinema star and pinched-nose temptress, respectively) Noosha Fox predated the far-out kookiness of Kate Bush by a good four years, and seems to have been a huge influence on the band Goldfrapp, who have basically re-interpreted her look and sound for the electronic age.

Of course, maybe Fox passed me by because I am not a child of the Seventies. If any of our readers have any memories of the great band/singer, do feel free to share them in the comments. In the meantime (while I try and track down a “best of” album) here are a selection of Noosha and Fox clips:
 
Fox “S-S-S-Single Bed”
 

 
Fox “If You Don’t Want My Peaches (Don’t Shake My Tree)”
 

 
Fox “Imagine You, Imagine Me”
 

 
Fox “Only You Can”
 

 
Fox “Electro People”
 

 
Noosha Fox “The Heat Is On”
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile

 

 

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