Adelaide school chums, Mick Michalopoulos and Jim Mountzouros formed a group called Gladiator Tortoise at Unley High in 1972 using Beatles, Stones, and Pink Floyd as a cornerstone for their developing sound. By 1981 they'd changed their name to Vertical Hold and were turning heads with their catchy synth-pop, augmented by the beautifully conceived cello and keyboard parts of Hillary Frost. Personally, I thought the band were very much like "A Flock Of Seagulls" the acclaimed UK hit makers.

The release of their first Australian 45 rpm on the RCA label went to #1 on the Adelaide charts and Nationally top 50. In 1982 Gibson Kemp the head of Australian A & R for W.E.A. music signed them at the same time with INXS. Another #1 and top 50 single followed by an album. The album produced by British Producer Jon Kennet was acclaimed as a pop classic but it was not promoted west of the South Australian border. The group disbanded after the album stalled with the band members moving onto other interests. Gladiator Tortoise has reformed and currently Jim and Miki are recording new and old songs captured so others may come to accept that they still have some time in the sun!

Click link for more information:


7" Singles:

1) "My Imagination" – 1981 #1

2) "Tears Of Emotion" – 1982 #4

3) "Shot Down (In Love)" – 1983 #36

For download is their hit "Tears Of Emotion" - an extended Tom Mix 12" version:


Here is the 7" single mix download:



  1. Fanatstic cute little toe tapper

  2. Hey Tom, any chance you could re-upload this please!! The link is dead. Cheers.

  3. Mick Michalopoulos has sadly died, Nov 18 2016...&the band is no more. The follow up 45 "Tears Of Emotion" got to No.3 on SA charts, not No.1 (#58 nationally). You also missed out on a founding member of Vertical Hold, the drummer Noel Forth, Gladiator Tortoise 1975-1980, Vertical Hold 1980-1985. In 1985 VH added 2 members, Hilary left & they released a song on the "SA Brewing" LP. The actual recording of Mick's song "Strange Love" for the LP only featured Mick, Noel, (Mick's wife) Maria & Chris Moutzouris, renamed as "The Gladiators" 1985.

  4. p.s. You might want to adjust the text accordingly