Ross Hannaford

Ross Andrew Hannaford (1 December 1950 – 8 March 2016) was an Australian musician, active in numerous local bands. He was often referred to by his nickname "Hanna". Widely regarded as one of the country's finest rock guitarists, he was best known for his long collaboration with singer-songwriter Ross Wilson, which began as teenagers, with The Pink Finks and forming the seminal early '70s Australian rock band Daddy Cool. Hannaford died of cancer after being diagnosed a year earlier.

Ross Hannaford
Birth nameRoss Andrew Hannaford
Also known asHanna
Born(1950-12-01)1 December 1950
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Died8 March 2016(2016-03-08) (aged 65)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresRock and roll, progressive rock
Occupation(s)guitarist, songwriter
InstrumentsSinging, guitar, harmonica
Years active1960s–2015
Associated actsThe Pink Finks
The Party Machine
Sons of the Vegetal Mother
Daddy Cool
Mighty Kong
Ross Hannaford Trio

The Pink Finks

Ross Andrew Hannaford was born in Newcastle on 1 December 1950, his family moved to Melbourne one year later.[1] Hannaford and Wilson first teamed up in the hometown of Melbourne in early 1965, in the R&B band The Pink Finks, which enjoyed moderate local success.[2] This was followed by the more progressively-oriented The Party Machine,[3] They released a single "You've All Gotta Go" in 1969; their printed songbooks were confiscated and burned by the Victorian Vice Squad for being obscene and seditious.[3][4] The Party Machine disbanded in 1969, with Wilson travelling to London.

Sons of the Vegetal Mother

After a short stint in the UK, Wilson returned to Australia and reunited with Hannaford ca. 1970 in the even more avant garde Sons of the Vegetal Mother, which embodied Wilson's enthusiasm for the music of Frank Zappa.[5]

Daddy Cool

This band eventually evolved into Daddy Cool, which had started out as an informal offshoot of the Vegetals but soon overtook. After the release of their hugely successful debut single "Eagle Rock" and their debut LP Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, the band became one of the most popular and successful rock acts of the decade, breaking all previous sales records for an Australian act.

Hannaford's unique guitar stylings won wide praise from critics and his goofy stage presence, distinctive baritone voice and trademark 'helicopter' cap made him a favourite with fans. He also wrote several of the group's songs and co-designed the sleeve of their second album, Sex, Dope, Rock'n'Roll: Teenage Heaven.

Mighty Kong

After the first split of Daddy Cool at the end of 1972, Wilson and Hannaford formed the short-lived Mighty Kong with former members of Spectrum and Company Caine and they recorded one album, All I Wanna Do Is Rock, but they split just after the record was released.

Relax with Max

Ross Hannaford along with other great musicians such as Gary Young, Greg Ham, Toots "Linda", James Black and David Adam, played with Max Vella in "Relax with Max" in the late 1980s.


Hannaford was regularly seen in Melbourne, to the delight of passersby, busking. Many onlookers would admire his performance and guitar playing opening up his music to a whole new audience.[6]


Daddy Cool reformed in 1974 and continued until 1976, when they split again. Hannaford and Wilson's last collaboration in this period was on the soundtrack for the 1976 movie Oz.[7]

Hannaford subsequently did a considerable amount of session work and played in many bands. His group and recording credits include The Black Sorrows, Paul Madigan & The Humans, Ian Moss, Steve Hoy, Mark Gillespie, Billy T, Ram Band, Goanna and Relax with Max. In the 1990s he and his band Dianna Kiss had a long-standing residency at the famous Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne.

In 2005 the original members of Daddy Cool reunited for a one-off performance at a Melbourne benefit concert in aid of the Asian tsunami disaster, and this led to the 2006 reformation of the group and the recording of a new single and album. In November 2007, the original Daddy Cool line-up reformed for a national tour of Australia with the Beach Boys & Christopher Cross. The tour took in Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Adelaide, Perth, Wollongong & Sydney. In recent years Hannaford has been a familiar figure on the streets of Melbourne, where he has been regularly busking in Melbourne's CBD and at the Camberwell Markets.

Solo career

In mid-2015 he released a new 10 track CD 'Hanna', which features all original compositions and 'all sounds' by Hannaford ′except Mau the cat (Track 7)' and Mark Ferrie on bass (Track 5).

Health and death

In July 2015, it was announced that Hannaford was suffering from "serious health issues", and that he had to cancel a planned national tour because he was too ill to work. Friends and colleagues, including singer-songwriter Steve Hoy and songwriter Margret Barret (a friend since their art school days in the late 1960s) organised a benefit concert which was staged in Melbourne to raise money for Hannaford's ongoing health care. The line-up included former Daddy Cool bandmates, Ross Wilson, Wayne Duncan and Gary Young, Steve Hoy, the RocKwiz Orchestra, The Black Sorrows, and Mike Rudd, with TV personality Brian Nankervis (RocKwiz) as MC.[8] The first concert sold out within 24 hours and a second show was quickly organised, which also sold out.

As part of a project in which people tell their life stories, filmmaker Haydn Keenan shot a long interview with Hannaford in late 2014. The interview was edited into a 60-minute DVD, with all proceeds going to the guitarist. Hannaford died on 8 March 2016, aged 65, from cancer; he had been diagnosed with the condition a year earlier.[1][9]


The Pink Finks (1965–1969)

    • "Untie Me" / "Nowhere To Run" (1965)
    • "Back Door Man" / "Something Else In" (1965)
    • "Louie Louie" / "Got Love If You Want It" (1965)
    • In Group EP (1965)
    • "You're Good For Me" / "Comin' Home Baby" (1966)
    • "It Hurts Me So" / "Down Mama" – From the Vault (1987)
    • Louie Louie EP – Raven Records (December 1980) – "Louie, Louie", "Back Door Man", "Comin' Home", "You're Good", "Rub My Root", "Something Else", "Untie Me"
  • The Party Machine (1969)
    • "You've All Gotta Go"/"Gentle Art" – EMI/Columbia (1969)

Sons of the Vegetal Mother (1969–1971)

Garden Party EP – Independent (1970)

Daddy Cool (1970–1972) (1974–1975) (2005–)

Mighty Kong (1972–1973)

    • "Calling All Cats" / "Hard Drugs (Are Bad For You)" – Wizard (December 1973)
    • All I Wanna Do Is Rock – Wizard (December 1973)
  • Billy T (1975–1976)
    • No Definitions (1977)
  • Diana Kiss

The Ross Hannaford Trio

    • The Ross Hannaford Trio (1996)
  • Hey Gringo
    • I Was There (2000)

Ross Hannaford

  • Ross Hannaford
    • Hanna (2015)


  1. Adams, Cameron (8 March 2016). "Daddy Cool guitarist Ross Hannaford loses his battle with cancer". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  2. "Long Way to the Top". ABC-TV. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  3. "The early years". Mike Rudd and Bill Putt. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  4. "Ross Wilson". Sound Vault Records. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  5. "Sons of the Vegetal Mother". Milesago. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  6. "From rock star to busker: Daddy Cool lead guitarist's new musical direction in Melbourne's laneways (Feb 2015)". ABC. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  7. "Oz (1976) soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  8. Julaia Irwin, "Music fans up on their feet for Australian rock legend Ross Hannaford", Northcote Leader, 11 July 2015
  9. Boulton, Martin (8 March 2016). "Daddy Cool guitarist Ross Hannaford dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
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