“Beautiful People” is the 1979 debut single released by Australian rock band Australian Crawl and later appeared on their debut album The Boys Light Up (1980). The song was written by James Reyne and Mark Hudson, former bandmates.
Australian Crawl caught the attention of Little River Band’s guitarist David Briggs, who helped them to a recording contract with EMI and produced their first single. “Beautiful People” was released in August, 1979 and peaked at #22 on the Australian Singles Chart.
The song satirised the vacuous elite of mid-1970s Melbourne’s Toorak society:
I was just looking around at people who were putting on airs… It’s pretension. It’s everywhere, probably even more now. There’s a complete culture surrounding it now, magazines devoted to it. It was a much simpler time, 1975. —James Reyne,
In 1975, Reyne was living in South Yarra, Victoria whilst attending Monash University and playing drums for Archie Slammit and the Doors.
The Making of “Beautiful People” (1979) was a mini-documentary broadcast on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV pop show Countdown and featured Geoff Cox (later hosted Coxy’s Big Break) guiding the audience from the studio sessions to the pressing of the 7″ vinyl and finishing with Australian Crawl’s performance on Countdown.
The Crawl made a memorable debut on Countdown performing “Beautiful People” as Reyne appeared with both arms encased in plaster. He had been hit by a car in Swanston St, Melbourne breaking bones in both wrists, an episode chronicled in the song “Indisposed”. Although “Beautiful People” only reached #22, it remains one of their most popular songs.