Marrying gentle folk rock with a strong sense of social and environmental commitment, Geelong-based rock band Goanna formed in 1977 and emerged in the Australian music scene in the early 80s. Founded by singer-songwriter Shane Howard, the only mainstay throughout the group’s career, they made their debut with The Goanna Band EP in 1979. Soon enough, their increasing popularity found them opening for James Taylor in 1981 and signing a recording contract with WEA Australia. Spearheaded by the single “Solid Rock,” which dealt with issues of land rights for Indigenous Australians and reached Number 2 on the ARIA Singles Chart, their debut full-length Spirit of Place saw the light in 1982 and proved hugely successful, reaching Number 2 in Australia and Number 31 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. Despite the album’s promising commercial performance, WEA dropped Goanna in late 1983, only to re-sign them a year later. In 1985, Goanna returned with the second studio effort Oceania, which included the singles “Common Ground” and “Dangerous Dancing.” After the non-album single “Song for Africa” failed to chart, WEA removed them from their roster once and for all. Increasingly frustrated by the lack of support, Shane Howard decided to put an end to the group after a tour throughout Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania in 1987. Subsequently, he briefly reformed Goanna in 1998 and released the album Spirit Returns.

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