Daryl Somers

Biography by

Daryl Somers appeared twice on the talent show New Faces, first drumming with a band that lost to John Williamson (who would later go on to fame as a country singer) and then as a solo vocalist, winning…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Daryl Somers appeared twice on the talent show New Faces, first drumming with a band that lost to John Williamson (who would later go on to fame as a country singer) and then as a solo vocalist, winning the final in 1970. At the suggestion of his singing teacher, he then auditioned for a job hosting a children's television program and became host of both Cartoon Corner and Hey Hey It's Saturday for Channel Nine. Hey Hey was moved from its Saturday morning time slot for children to a prime-time evening slot and transformed into a variety show, though it kept some of its wackier elements such as co-host Ossie Ostrich (a puppet performed by Ernie Carroll). The variety format allowed Somers to give lease to some of his musical ambitions. He occasionally served as drummer in the backing band for guest artists such as Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones as well as singing the musical numbers during special episodes. Given the comedic nature of much of the show, he was just as likely to be found crooning in a banana costume as a suit. In the 1970s two comedy albums were released featuring the stars of the show, Hey! Hey! It's Daryl & Ossie and Keep Smiling with Daryl & Ossie.

Hey Hey also functioned as a musical tastemaker in Australia for the almost 30 years it ran. Music critic Ian "Molly" Meldrum hosted a segment called Molly's Melodrama that ran for 12 years, in which he reviewed albums and interviewed artists. An appearance as musical guest on the show could make or break an overseas artist in Australia, even though the live performances were lip-synced. A parody of the New Faces talent show called Red Faces, judged by Red Symons from Skyhooks as well as the program's guests, became one of Hey Hey's most popular elements. The comedy group TriPod were contestants on Red Faces and the band 1927 recruited their frontman, Eric Weideman, after seeing him perform a cover of the Police's "Roxanne" during the segment. When New Faces returned to television in 1989, Somers hosted the show he had originally entered as a contestant for a year. In 1999 Hey Hey ended its long run, canceled as part of Channel Nine's millennial clearing of the decks. Somers returned to television to host the Australian version of the popular British show Dancing with the Stars, and in 2005 achieved his musical ambitions by releasing a long-delayed debut album called Songlines.