Walking along Collaroy Beach, armed with a cassette tape, Choirboys singer Mark Gable was unknowingly working on what would become one of the biggest hits to come out of Australia.
For many Australians, Run to Paradise is as well-known as the national anthem, and let’s face it, more of us probably know the words to the Choirboys hit.
Three chords and a hell of a hook, enough to guarantee the songwriter from the northern beaches would never work a “normal job” again.
“I remember being down at Collaroy and walking past the scout hall there, I was listening to the demo of the chorus in my headphones and thinking “that’s a hit” and all I had was the chorus” Gable tells The Street Press Podcast.
The chorus was written in studio 3 at Alberts but the verses would come to mind a little later.
“We had some other verse to it at the time” Gable explains.
“I got the band to play the verse chords over and over and I wrote all the lyrics”
The initial recording session would go on for months and they were pressed for time.
“I do remember trying to finish the vocals in two weeks, we spent about a month doing the bass parts and we were running out of time” Gable recalls.
“We did the verse vocals about two months later with a different producer because Michael Gudinski (Head of Mushroom) thought the album as a whole could be better”
Gudinski would eventually pull rank, firing the original producer and bringing in another one from New York.
“That’s when I tarted up the songs and made them more I how I wanted them”
It’s often wrongly reported that the song is about heroin, but Gable has refuted those claims.
“It was more of just an observation of the northern beaches lifestyle”
“I could never understand how so many people could be stoned all the time and drink too much beer, while we lived in paradise”
I felt like “wow, you have everything here, but you still need to escape, it amazed me”
The song now a part of Australian rock folklore, and while it’s been blasted inside millions of homes, bars, and radio stations around the globe, Gable is humbled by the fact it’s bigger than him.
“I meet people and I go I’m Mark Gable, and they go who?”
“I say, I’m the singer from Choirboys, and they say WHO?”
“They’re [Choirboys] the band that does Run to Paradise, and they say OH YEAH WOW”
Three decades later, Gable says he’s still proud of the anthem he took for a walk around the beaches all those years ago.
“It belongs to all of us I guess, I love it”