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Edward Frank (Ted) Albert (1936–1990)

by Jane Albert

Ted Albert, c.1976

Ted Albert, c.1976

photo provided by family

Edward (Ted) Frank Albert (1936-1990) was born on 28 November 1936 in Sydney to Alexis Albert and Elsa Karin, née Lundgren. The middle of three sons, including older brother Robert Otto and younger brother Anthony (Tony) Alexis, Ted and his brothers were always close — during their childhood growing up in Vaucluse, in primary school at Tudor House and into their high school years at Geelong Grammar. All of them musical, they formed a band during their 20s, The Alby Blert trio, with Ted an accomplished guitarist.

Ted had an unsatiable curiosity about how things worked, from homemade model aeroplanes or radios as a child, to the inner workings of sound itself as an adult, when he developed an uncanny ability to produce phenomenally successful music that would ultimately be referred to as ‘the Alberts sound’.

Ted was accepted into engineering at the University of Sydney but decided academia was not for him and in June 1959 he joined his father in the family music business Alberts, while his brothers pursued legal careers. He was appointed director of the family’s radio business, the Australian Broadcasting Company in 1961 and a director of Alberts in 1962. He quickly proved himself a shrewd businessman on the operational side, helping transform the flagging business by discontinuing the once-famous Boomerang mouth organs and shutting down the Melbourne office in 1963. He joined the board of APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) in 1976 and was appointed chairman in 1986.

After observing the global success of The Beatles and the lack of original Australian music Ted became convinced there was a market for an Australian sound, and in 1964 made the prescient decision to establish Albert Productions. Australia’s first independent pop music production company, it identified and signed local pop and ultimately rock acts, including Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs and The Easybeats, whose chart-topping records Ted produced (aside from Friday On My Mind).

In 1970 under Ted’s guidance Albert Productions launched its own synonymous record label, producing and recording artists including The Ted Mulry Gang and John Paul Young. In 1974 Ted signed AC/DC, still regarded today as Australia’s most successful rock band. That same year Ted and producers (and former Easybeats band mates) Harry Vanda and George Young opened Albert Studios in King Street, Sydney, producing and recording bands in the Alberts stable including Stevie Wright, The Angels and Rose Tattoo, while non-Alberts bands such as Midnight Oil and INXS also recorded there. So successful were the albums recorded at the studios during the 1970s and ‘80s Alberts soon earnt the nickname ‘the house of hits’.

In 1970 Ted met publicist Antoinette ‘Popsy’ Muir in Sydney. She took a keen interest in the music business and would often accompany him on business trips. The pair was married at St James Church in Turramurra on 28 June 1975 and went on to have two daughters, Emily and Anna. Away from the limelight, of which he was not particularly fond, Ted was gentle, unassuming, and patient, a deeply committed and loving father, husband, son, and brother.

Ted was also a keen and talented sailor like his father and grandfather before him. He twice won the national titles in the Dragon series, represented Australia four times at the world titles and competed in the 1986/87 America’s Cup selection trials.

He was also passionate about film and from a young age had been a keen amateur photographer and filmmaker. In 1988 he formed a film production company M&A Productions with friend and documentary producer Tristram Miall. That same year they commissioned theatre and opera director Baz Luhrmann to direct the film adaptation of his stage play Strictly Ballroom, with Popsy later coming on board as executive producer. It was Ted’s vision for music to play a dominant role in the film, not just provide background, and the award-winning soundtrack recorded at Alberts would ultimately feature a new version of JPY’s Love is in the Air and Yesterday’s Hero. The film debuted at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Prix de Jeunesse, launching Luhrmann’s film career and going on to win eight Australian Film Industry awards.

Ted died at home in Bellevue Hill on 11 November 1990 from a heart attack aged just 53. The impact was felt around the world, with universal acknowledgement of his extraordinary talent, pioneering spirit, kindness, and integrity. In 1991 Ted was posthumously awarded the ARIA Lifetime Achievement Award; while APRA created the annual Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music the same year. He is buried at Waverley Cemetery, Bronte.

Original Publication

Citation details

Jane Albert, 'Albert, Edward Frank (Ted) (1936–1990)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/albert-edward-frank-ted-22223/text42520, accessed 2 March 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Ted Albert, c.1976

Ted Albert, c.1976

photo provided by family

Life Summary [details]

Birth

28 November, 1936
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Death

11 November, 1990 (aged 53)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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