Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Guitar king crowned in NZ

UK music legend to be honoured on national tour

Music legend Hank Marvin will receive a special award from New Zealand guitar enthusiasts when he tours here next month.

The former lead guitarist with The Shadows will be honoured by the Guitar Association of New Zealand as one of the greatest players of all time.

Marvin, 71, will receive the accolade on October 16, the night before before his nine-date nationwide tour opens at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.

"It is a nice touch by the Kiwis to recognise me like this," Marvin said from his home in Perth, Australia. "It is lovely to be thought of in this way."

Marvin won't be churning out any old Cliff Richard hits - he will be playing gypsy-swing music with accordionist Nunzio Mondia and guitarist Gary Taylor.

The England-born guitar hero, who moved to Australia 30 years ago, can still recall his first trip to New Zealand in 1961.

"I was only 19 but I remember Cliff had his birthday on the plane on the way over," Marvin explained. "When we arrived in Auckland, our suitcases and equipment had gone missing and we had to do the gig in the clothes we had travelled in.

"I used a spare guitar that was difficult to play and I had to borrow an amplifier from somewhere. It wasn't the best of debuts but the audience seemed to love it."

International guitar heroes Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend cite Marvin as one of their biggest influences.

New Zealand-based guitar veterans Hammond Gamble and Paul Ubana Jones, also rate him highly. "I first heard Hank on the radio in the late 50s when I was a kid," Jones said. "He is a master musician."

Gamble added: "His sound was innovative. It is only fitting he is being honoured in New Zealand."

- Herald on Sunday

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