Time-traveling with Billy Thorpe’s “Children of the Sun”

Children of the Sun (cover)Yesterday I was watching the first episode of Fargo season two and got a little trip back to the 70s. The episode features a hefty snippet of Billy Thorpe‘s “Children of the Sun,” a song I don’t think I’ve heard or thought about since the 80s. What a ride.

It was a little unsettling to realize I’d completely forgotten about this song that I loved as a kid. I’d never have thought to go looking for it if not prompted by Fargo.

“Children of the Sun” is a perfect specimen of Rock music in 1979. Just this side of over-produced, it’s nearly seven minutes of glam-flavored rock opera with a sci-fi theme, early synths, highly processed drums and sing-along harmonies.

The song would have been great for people trying to sell expensive stereo equipment. It’s full of effects that swoop across the left/right channels and try to evoke a spacey, futuristic feel. Or what we thought would be the feel of the future way back in the late 70s, anyway. (Audiophiles of the 70s would be horrified to learn how much music is played on single speaker devices and earbuds instead of towering quad speaker systems…)

The full album, Children of the Sun, is hard to come by. After initial release it went out of print and was partially re-released as Children of the Sun…Revisited. The full album hasn’t been released on CD outside Australia and used copies of the CD list on Discogs starting at nearly $150. (It can be found online through Totally Legitimate Means, however, if you really want to hear the original release.) Vinyl fans can pick it up for much less, probably $8 including shipping if you’re not super-picky about the condition of the sleeve, $20 or so if you want to find a near-mint edition.

I’ve given the full album a listen and it’s OK. Has some high points, and some clunky bits. But “Children of the Sun” is an epic track. Take the seven minutes and find a great set of headphones and give it a listen.

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