TEARS were shed, toasts were toasted and rock ’ n’ rollers led a merry old dance around Sydney’s Hopetoun Hotel last week as a small posse of like- minded souls saluted — at a private function — the outgoing chief executive of EMI Music Australasia, John O’Donnell. A former music editor of Rolling Stone and editor of Juice magazine, O’Donnell is leaving the troubled label after seven years in the top post. The EMI group has been shedding staff at an alarming rate worldwide in the past few years. As a measure of the respect Aussie musicians and the industry in general have for this selfconfessed rock tragic, a smattering of O’Donnell’s signings and stable staples turned up to pay tribute in song. Tim Rogers from You Am I was there, as was Paul Kelly. Singer Kevin Mitchell was able to acknowledge O’Donnell’s shrewd judgment in signing him twice, first to the Murmur label with his band Jebediah, then to EMI as his gloriously poppy solo alter- ego, Bob Evans. The highlight, however, was all three musos picking up guitars and welcoming Silverchair’s Daniel Johns to the stage, whereupon the foursome launched into a spirited version of Neil Young’s Long May You Run. While the performance and the song’s appropriate sentiment struck a chord with the audience, the few seasoned journos in the room couldn’t help notice the ching ching of cash registers and dollar signs hanging in the air as the industry’s movers and shakers totted up just how much dosh could be made from these four amigos doing their Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young routine on a more permanent basis. Johns, Evans, Rogers and Kelly. ‘‘ Ladeeez and gentlemen . . . are you ready for . . . JERK?’’ Stranger things have happened. SPIN Doctor wasted way too much time this week locked in a room with nothing more than Garageband and a supermarket jumbo pack of Anzac biscuits, toiling away on a matter of national importance. The navy, as in the Royal Australian Navy, with the ships and stuff, needs YOU. More specifically, it needs you to write a song about how great it is to be in the navy ( except you can’t call it that ’ cos it’s already taken by Village People, although it has often struck me that they might have been taking the piss). Anyhoo, The Navy Song Battle is the initiative in question and is open to anyone who thinks they can write a song that ‘‘ evokes the emotion, adventure and the camaraderie of a navy career’’. The lucky winner, who will be announced in November, will have their tune splattered all over a television and radio recruitment campaign next year. One of the judges, James Young, who owns Melbourne’s late- night rock ’ n’ roll watering hole the Cherry Bar, says the comp offers ‘‘ a rare chance at the big time’’. It couldn’t get much bigger. If you don’t believe me, go to www. myspace. com/ navysongbattle. Now, what rhymes with swallow the anchor?