The Mixtures – The Pushbike Song

6th February 1971 · 1970s, 1971, Music

The Pushbike Song was Australia’s pop equivalent of a saucy seaside postcard, with its endless double entendres – and a fascinating story behind it.

This came out six months after Mungo Jerry had topped the charts with In The Summertime. It sounds very similar and has similar success, reaching No.2 in January 1971.

My pre-pubescent self was convinced the song was one big double-entendre, and that the percussive grunts and exhalations that drive it simulated the sound of people “doing it” – something that, as 12-year-olds we had heard about, even if we were sketchy about the details.

Listening to it now does not change my mind, whereas the video still gets my friend Oliver Bennett excited, especially when the blonde girl in the hippy dress comes into view.

The Mixtures were an Australian group and what I like most about their video, featuring cyclists (including a penny farthing) and rollerskaters on a six-lane highway in Melbourne, is the comments on YouTube; many complaining about the absence of cycle helmets – let alone cycle lanes. Not to mention the potential danger of that pretty blonde girl’s long dress getting caught in the spokes and causing a nasty accident.

I now learn the song’s fascinating history – and why it sounds so similar to In The Summertime. In the summer of 1970, when that was No.1 for seven weeks, British records were banned from Australian radio due to a dispute between broadcasters and record companies over royalties.

The Mixtures recorded their own cover version which topped the Australian chart and in a bid to follow up that success, band member Idris Jones asked his brother Evan to co-write a song with a similar sound. The brothers came up with The Pushbike Song, which also went to No.1.

The Pushbike Song has since been covered numerous times, not least in a novelty way by Pinky and Perky and then The Wurzels, who retitled it I’ll Never Get A Scrumpy Here. There were more serious versions by The New Seekers, Anita Harris and, bizarrely by Olivia Newton-John.

In 1990 the circle was completed when Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry decided to cover it “as a tribute” to the band whose success had been launched by covering his band’s song.