Criminally Underrated – Little River Band

Right off the bat, I want to admit that I find the word underrated to be overrated.  And overrated…well, that’s just…well…that’s overrated, too.  I mean, how can we, as consumers, public viewers, the opinionheads of the country, really know how to gauge the “ratedness” of a particular item/product/etc.  There’s the internet, but that’s only a fraction of the population.  A hefty fraction, but still, you’re leaving out other demographics.  There are box office rates and billboard and award shows and many other outlets that give us, the public, a peak into the majority opinion.  BUT…that still doesn’t determine what is “underrated” or “overrated”.  This opinion often includes those disinclined to go to the movie theater (like myself) and wait for DVD, or those people who don’t buy DVD’s in store – but rather from a street vendor, or get it themselves online.  It’s the same with music.  There are forums and message boards where people from around the world can talk/argue/bullshit about the media around us.  But still, how can you really know what should be considered underrated or overrated?  Some throw these words around, with the meaning behind it their own opinion, rather than everyone elses’.  For example, Johnny may have seen The Dark Knight and couldn’t find one redeeming factor in the duration of the runtime.  But what about the numbers?  It shattered box office records and made millions on top of millions, so Johnny here, would say, “The Dark Knight is overrated.”  It’s a blockbuster, though.  How many people go to the movies to see the blockbusters just because they’re the blockbusters?  I would bet a decent amount.  Then, there’s the hype.  Word of mouth.  People at work talk about Heath Ledger’s performance or Christian Bale’s death-metal-vocalist impersonation, and soon that word travels, and a good chunk of the populace are going to see it.  The movie earns a spot on the biggest moneymakers of all time.  Johnny must feel something here.  He must be thinking, “this movie is overrated”.  It makes sense.  It seems everyone and their mother has gone out to see this movie!  BUT, so has Johnny.  How many Johnny’s are out there?  For every person like me, who enjoyed the hell out of the movie, there’s someone who didn’t take away anything from the viewing.  Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to call The Dark Knight overrated. 

Then, there’s music.  Like today’s pop music.  I can’t stand it, nor can I find any ounce of talent or heart or soul in the majority of what’s considered popular music today.  All that American Idol, Britney Spears stuff, or the Lil’ Wayne, modern rap stuff.  I see how popular it is, and just think, how overrated?  But once again, for every American Idol-loving person, there’s the opposite, the one like me, wondering what the hell happened to good music?  There’s usually an equal divide.  What’s underrated to one, may be overrated to another.  It’s all based on opinion – where there is no right or wrong.  It’s a touchy subject, therefore I tend to stray away, and worry only about the opinions of myself or the people close to me. 

While a talented band musically, LRB weren't the best-looking band.

So why name a blog Criminally Underrated when I’m against the word choice altogether?  I’ll tell you why – because I believe it.  Who listens to the Little River Band?  Seriously?  Who?  Aside from the few songs on the radio, who else, besides a tiny portion, could name a Little River Band song?  Maybe the word/phrase I’m searching for is under looked. 

Little River Band is an Australian rock band whose heyday took place in the late 1970’s.  Their biggest hits in the U.S., ranging from 1975 to 1981 included “It’s a Long Way There”, “Lonesome Loser”, “Lady”, and “Reminiscing”, which peaked at # 3, making it their biggest hit.  By 1983, they had lost many of their core band members, including lead vocalist Glenn Shorrock and harmony vocalist/guitarist  Beeb Birtles.  Founding member Graeham Goble stuck with the band throughout the 80’s, trying to keep it fresh and innovative, but this is around the time when the band’s excellence started to decline.  They went for a faster, more aggressive (with the times) sound that just didn’t work for LRB.

I’m not saying they’re the greatest band in the world.  We all know that title is reserved for Tenacious D.  But somewhere between Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Eagles is Little River Band – with their harmonic choruses and smooth arrangements.  They also have a few country-tinged tunes (mostly found on the rare After Hours album which apparently the U.S. record company found “too dark” and had them record a new album which would be Diamantina Cocktail).  However, besides the hits, there are a great number of songs to be heard in the discography of LRB.  The tragic part of the tale is that the Little River Band touring today features no founding members.  It’s basically a cover band.  They played at a festival in my city a year ago, and I opted not to go because of this little fact.  If Shorrock, Birtles or Goble aren’t there, well, I’m not either. 

Now, the reason I call LBR underrated is that I’ve only met a handful of people who’ve actually heard of them.  One of them is my father.  This makes sense – he remembers them from when they were a successful rock band.  But what about now?  Why no resurgence?  You’ll hear younger people talk all day about CSN, The Eagles, Steely Dan, and other countless “classic rock” acts, but why no LRB?  Am I alone in this respect for the band?  Well, if I am alone, then that would certainly justify the title “underrated”.  There are not many forums or message boards where LRB is being discussed on the internet, and literally every record store I’ve been are missing any selection from this band.  Why is that?

Below are some videos from youtube.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Is this the first time you’ve heard of this band?  Are you a longtime fan?  Do you think I’m crazy for defending this one-time popular but now washed-up band?  Comment below and share your opinions, people of the internet!


4 responses to “Criminally Underrated – Little River Band

  1. Aurek Brillowski

    Oh my gosh! I was just listening to Pandora and heard “Lady” and thought to myself, “Does anyone have any idea how complicated and how original that song is?” I mean, I would call it close to a masterpiece. Then I remembered “Reminiscing”, another incredible creative act of originality. Does no one else other than me realize this? Then I went doing a web search of “Lady” “little river band” and words like “underrated” (and others) and found this blog. Thankfully SOMEONE is giving them some respect. The so deserve it! Thank you!

  2. You’re not alone. I love their music and their sound. Rigtht now I am listening to It’s A Long Way There. Just an awesome beautiful song!!! Their harmonies, guitar play is top notch in my opinion.

    Great, and indeed, forgotten music. Little River Band? Who? Such a shame.

  3. Every time I hear the piano intro to ‘Lady’ I go…somewhere else. And I have goosebumps while I’m there.

  4. I have been a LRB fan since the mid ’80s. Initially fell in love with “Lady,” and that is the love song I have played for countless ladies; my soulmate will catch the groove. My favorite for, like, the last decade has been “Lonesome Loser.” Autobiographical as hell. 😏

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