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The Sherbs

The breakup of Sherbet didn't last long. In 1980, the band reconvened with exactly the same personnel, but with another new name (The Sherbs) and a somewhat modified progressive new wave sound. This version of the band had some minor success in America, but their almost complete lack of chart action in Australia was in stark contrast to their 1970s heyday.

The Sherbs' first album The Skill just cracked the top half of the Billboard album charts in the US, reaching #100. It was the first album by the group — under any of their names — to chart in America. An accompanying single ("I Have The Skill") also became the band's second US pop chart hit at #61. ("Howzat" had also reached the same US chart position of #61 in 1976).

The Sherbs also received airplay in the US on Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) radio stations with both "I Have The Skill" and "No Turning Back". In fact, The Sherbs appeared on the very first AOR-oriented Rock Tracks chart issued by Billboard in March of 1981: "I Have The Skill" debuted on that inaugural chart at #45. A week later, on the chart dated March 28th, the track climbed to #14, in the process becoming the band's biggest US hit on any chart. However, the news was not all good: none of the singles issued from The Skill hit the Australian top 100, a huge comedown for a band that had been major stars in Australia only two years earlier.

A second Sherbs album, Defying Gravity, followed in 1981, but failed to produce a single that charted in the either the US or Australian top 100. However, the band did chart again on Billboard's Rock Tracks Chart with the album cut "We Ride Tonight". Staying on the chart for 16 weeks the track reached number 26 in June of 1982. The track's mild AOR success was not enough to ignite album sales in the US, though, as Defying Gravity only reached #202 on the album charts.

A mini-album Shaping Up appeared in 1982. It was critically well received and spawned two rather minor hits in Australia, but the US issue missed the chart completely. The Sherbs were now in a position where the American listening public was apparently largely indifferent to their new releases, and — despite their newer, more contemporary sound — the Australian audience had seemingly written them off as a relic of the 1970s. Garth Porter has said that he found this especially frustrating, as he felt The Sherbs were actually writing and performing better material during this era than in their 1970s heyday.

Harvey James left The Sherbs towards the end of 1982 to be replaced by Tony Leigh. The band finally decided to call it a day in 1984, reverting back to the "Sherbet" moniker for a surprisingly successful farewell tour of Australia and a final single, "Tonight Will Last Forever". Shakespeare returned to co-write and appear on this final single, and both Shakespeare and James rejoined Sherbet on the final tour.

Following the group's break-up, lead singer Daryl Braithwaite went on to a successful solo career in Australia, and Garth Porter and Clive Shakespeare became successful record producers.

the skill defying gravity    

The Skill

  1. I Have The Skill
  2. Back To Zero
  3. Cindy Is Waiting
  4. Crazy In The Night
  5. I'll Be Faster
  6. Never Surrender
  7. No Turning Back
  8. Love You To Death
  9. Into The Heat
  10. I'm O.K.
  11. Juliet And Me
  12. Parallel Bars
  13. I Don't Want To Lose You
  14. The Arrow
  15. Wild Is The Sea
  16. Heart Get Ready
  17. Angela

Defying Gravity

  1. We Ride Tonight
  2. Free The Sailor
  3. Steppin' On Ice
  4. Blood On My Hands
  5. We Can Make It
  6. I'm Alive
  7. The Danger Zone
  8. Some People
  9. The Escape
  10. I Wanna Lay With You
  11. Defying Gravity
  12. Don't Throw It All Away
  13. Shaping Up
  14. Tonight Will Last Forever
  15. The Party's Over
  16. Howzat (Live)