About this record
This is a black-and-white photograph of His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales, with Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum on the set of the television program Countdown in Melbourne in November 1977. Meldrum is holding up the Countdown Silver Jubilee Australian Top 20 record album displaying the inside cover. Prince Charles and Meldrum are sitting on individual chairs with a small microphone stand in front. The Countdown logo can be seen in the background.
- The event pictured is noted both for its royal significance and for a faux pas by Countdown presenter Molly Meldrum that made a memorable television moment. The nervous Meldrum made continual errors and at one stage gushed ‘I saw your mum in London!’ This mistake—and Prince Charles’s cool reply—‘Are you referring to Her Majesty the Queen?’, were widely broadcast and is sometimes quoted as an example of Meldrum’s rather inept interview style.
- Prince Charles’s appearance on Countdown in November 1977 was part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal for Young Australians, of which Prince Charles was patron. It officially launched the Countdown Silver Jubilee Australian Top 20 long-playing record. The proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition album went to the appeal and the money was distributed in the form of grants for young Australians to assist with their employment or education.
- Meldrum has had a long and varied career in the Australian music industry and is considered something of an icon in that field. He is probably best known as the compere of Countdown for 11 years, but is also a music critic, producer and journalist. Meldrum is known as a staunch champion of Australian talent in music.
- The historic album’s inside cover, displayed by Meldrum, reveals a Sergeant Pepper-style collage of Australian stars of the 1970s who had donated their time to raise money for the appeal. This fund-raising was part of a combined music industry effort and included groups such as Sherbet, Skyhooks, Little River Band, Air Supply, Hush and AC/DC, and individual performers such as Richard Clapton, Marcia Hines and Renee Geyer.
- The popular Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) television music program Countdown ran on Sunday nights at 6 pm for 13 years, becoming the most successful and popular music program ever made in Australia. At its most popular, it had millions of viewers. As well as introducing acts from overseas, Countdown exerted a massive influence on Australian music over the next decade. It played a crucial role in supporting and promoting Australian music, giving many Australian artists their start.
Learning resource text © Education Services Australia Limited and the National Archives of Australia 2010.