Arts & culture,

New book to tell the story of Gold Coast’s live music history

August 12, 2020

‘Sounds of Paradise’ will tell the tales of Gold Coast’s colourful and controversial live music history.

Covering the city’s musical heyday of the 70s, 80s and 90s, the new book, ‘Sounds of Paradise’ will for the first time, provide a historical snapshot of the venues, bands and personalities who shaped the city’s cultural heart.

Samantha Morris, one of two authors partly funded by City of Gold Coast, through its Regional Arts Development Fund to write the book said it was a story “screaming” to be told.

“Anyone my age who grew up on the Gold Coast fondly remembers Fisherman’s Wharf and The Playroom and The Patch,” she says.

“But there are a tonne of venues and big name touring acts that helped set the scene of that era and we feel it’s time for someone to piece the city’s musical history together.”

Samantha said the number of global superstars who stopped in at the Gold Coast over those decades is “mind-boggling.”

“We’re talking Frank Sinatra, The Ramones, AC/DC (who performed at Miami High School), Nirvana, The Saints, The Divinyls, Shirley Bassey, BB King, Jeff Buckley, ZZ Top, Iggy Pop, Rollins and Bo Diddley,” Sam said.

“And at the same time, hundreds of Australian and Gold Coast bands found their feet during this time; touring relentlessly, sometimes playing multiple Gold Coast venues in one week.”

And it seems more stories are coming out of the wood-work day by day.

“What’s fascinating is that many people who are still working in the city’s cultural space found their feet as performers, venue and event managers and of course music fans in those venues,” Samantha says.

“We’re slowly working our way through decades of archives, social media groups and memorabilia to tell a rollicking tale about the sounds that helped to put the Gold Coast on a rather unique cultural path,” she said.

Want to contribute?

The book is due for publication in 2021, but Samantha and her co-author Anthony Gebhardt are keen to hear from anyone with posters, ticket stubs, photos, videos and most importantly recollections of that era.

You can contact the authors at

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