Sam Moran is the man. When I saw him singing the National Anthem at tonight’s State of Origin, I thought ‘finally, a contender’. To the crown. Julie Anthony’s crown, that is.
When I was growing up, Julie Anthony was Australia’s anthem singer. No matter what the occasion, no matter what the crowd, she’d be there. She knew the rules – you sing it straight, you sing it loud, you allow enough time between notes for the people in the cheap seats to catch up.
Somewhere around about the time that Gen X realised that the idea of ‘jobs for life’ was no longer viable, singing the anthem went from being an honour to being a ‘marketing opportunity’. And so began a long and varied parade of ‘personalities’ giving us their version of what is, essentially, a not very exciting song. Important, but not that exciting.
The ones I particularly dislike are the vocal gymnasts, more interested in showing us what they ‘got’ than delivering the song. And you often get the impression that they couldn’t launch into the second verse if, by some strange twist of fate, an encore was demanded.
Julie wasn’t like that. She could have sung that song backwards, sideways and upside down, through as many choruses as there are (only two officially now, though it began life with four). She knew the original version (‘Australian sons etc’) as well as the current, more inclusive version (‘Australians all etc’).
And now we have Sam. As the lead singer of The Wiggles, Sam knows how to deliver a tune to a packed, squirming stadium. He knows that his audience wants to sing along, not be sung at. He knows that a fast game is a good game, and his audience suffers from the modern syndrome known as ‘Short Attention Span’.
He and Julie have a lot in common. The same ringing, bell-like tone to the voice (though his is admittedly considerably deeper). The dark hair. The serious expression softened with a smile. He’s even promoting a grown-up album of love songs, a genre which Julie made her own.
The decisive point, however, is the fact that both work/ed with large, green faux animals, albeit one a dragon and one a dinosaur. (I just don’t know that Julie married hers.)I fully expect to see him wheeled out again in the near future to claim his crown.