About Mike

Populate or perish was the cry as a million migrants made their way to Australia in the late 1950s to escape the grey austerity of a postwar Europe. And in steerage of the troop carriers-turned-migrant ships was the first wave of Australia’s rock revolution: The Bee Gees, Glenn Shorrock, Johnny Young, Jim Keays, John Farnham, George, Malcolm and Angus Young, Jimmy Barnes, Billy Thorpe – and Mike Brady.

The Brady family’s suitcases were tagged ‘Fishermen’s Bend’, but this was no angler’s haven, rather the family found itself in the gritty industrial armpit of Melbourne.

But, as it would be for four soon-to-be-famous boys from Liverpool, music was a ticket out and before long Mike Brady was playing in bands and had met Pete and Danny. Putting their names together they became MPD Ltd and stormed the charts with a series of high-energy singles, including the Australian No.1 hit Little Boy Sad.

The boys shared stages with The Bee Gees, the Dave Clark Five, Normie Rowe and The Seekers, but their urgent rock sound made them stand out among local acts.

The band took their English sound ‘home’ to London where Mike bumped in to other expat rockers, including their old touring mates The Easybeats. Mike was there the morning Harry Vanda came downstairs and played him a complex song he had just written. It didn’t have words yet – George Young was still sleeping. It was Friday On My Mind (a decade later Glenn Shorrock would ask Mike to listen to a cassette of a song he’d been doodling with over a piano the previous evening, it would become Cool Change).

Mike toured extensively throughout war-torn Vietnam – a ten month sojourn that had a terrific impact on him – before returning to Australia where his solo career immediately took off with a cover of the progressive rock hit Sympathy.

Mike then worked in advertising writing some of Australia’s most memorable jingles for iconic brands, some of them indelibly entering the language, like Hard Yakka.

But it was a largely forgotten phrase that gave birth to Mike’s biggest song. ‘Up there, Cazaly’, the football crowds would roar in the 1920s as AFL legend Roy Cazaly rose for another unlikely mark.

Mike used those words as the starting point for a jingle to accompany Network Seven’s coverage of the 1979 football season. Such was the public demand for the catchy tune it was recorded as a song that is now part of Australian folklore and is performed – usually by Mike – at each AFL Grand Final and has become as recognisable as Waltzing Matilda.

Up There Cazaly sold more than 250,000 copies to become the biggest selling Australian single and would keep that record until another Mike-produced song, Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face, broke it a few years later. To this day Ultravox often plays a few bars of Shaddap You Face while performing their unforgettable worldwide hit Vienna which Shaddap You Face kept from the UK charts’ top spot in its long run at No.1.

Mike’s other sporting songs are equally well known: Like Cazaly, One Day In September has become part of the football language, and he co-wrote and produced with Greg Champion the huge hit That’s What I Like About Football.

His songs have featured on broadcasts of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and the Paralympics.

But it was never just sports songs. Throughout the 1980s and beyond, Mike produced a wealth of different music including albums for artists such as Tina Arena, Colleen Hewett, Mark Gillespie and Mike Rudd and Bill Putt and his songs have been recorded by leading artists including Tina and, of course, John Farnham.

Mike has been involved in hotels, property development, restaurants and even a timber mill – be he has always returned to music.

In 2006 he spent time at the home of country music – Nashville, Tennessee – recording an album with members of the Reba McEntire and Shania Twain bands, but recently he turned to his ancestry and, during a two-month period in Dublin recorded the highly acclaimed Bloodlines album with the cream of Ireland’s folk musicians.

For many years Mike has hosted the top-rating Mike ’Til Midnight radio show.

In June 2013 Mike was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the community and to music as a composer and performer and in 2017 was honoured to be named Victorian of the Year.

Not only is he one of Australia’s most respected performers, but he is also one of its most versatile MCs and speakers able to draw on a diverse and event-filled life and a stockpile of unlikely anecdotes that reveal his humanity – and shine a light on ours.