A Kiwi rock'n'roll primer


1953: Not much happened, really. Except Phil Judd and Marc Hunter are born. They will become important later.

1954: Much the same as last year, but a bit less of it.

1955: Rock'n'roll noise comes from the States. Country singer Johnny Cooper (The Maori Cowboy) is encouraged to record Rock Around the Clock, a song he is mystified by.

1956: Elvis: enough said. In Wanganui, 18-year-old Johnny Devlin hears Heartbreak Hotel on the Lever Hit Parade.

1957: Cooper sees Devlin at a Palmerston North talent quest and grooms him to become New Zealand's own Elvis.

1958: New Zealand's own Elvis tears up stages and gets his shirt torn off. Girls scream, boys shout. It all begins here. Devlin's Lawdy Lawdy Miss Clawdy tops the charts, without being played on radio. The tradition of New Zealand artists being ignored by New Zealand radio starts here, too. Devlin tours extensively, headlines follow.

1959: Max Merritt forms the Meteors in Christchurch and records Get a Haircut, four years before Beatle cuts get kids sent down to the barbers.

1960: All quiet, unless you are Meteor. Or a young and hungry Ray Columbus.

1961: Peter Lewis records Four City Rock about the four main centres, a slice of original Kiwiana.

1962: In a pre-Flying Nun gesture, Max'n'Meteors, and Ray Columbus and the Invaders depart Christchurch for Auckland.

1963: The Beatles: enough said Part Two. Martin Phillipps is born.

1964: Beatles come to New Zealand, boys form bands. Clubs pop up everywhere. She's A Mod, Dinah Lee, Let's Go (the most successful of telly producer Kevin Moore's pop programmes, theme by the resident band the Librettos, host Pete Sinclair).

1965: Till We Kissed, the first Loxene Golden Disc awards. The Underdogs form and we have a fledgling underground scene, guitarist Harvey Mann worshipped like Clapton. Larry's Rebels form and play the Top Twenty. There is an explosion of clubs, bands, good record shops and bad hair. Young men still wear ties, with tartan trousers.

1966: La De Das' How is the Air Up There? and On Top of the World, two classics of the period. C'Mon with Pete Sinclair. Shane, the Chicks and Sandy Edmonds. Mr Lee Grant, whose hairstyle of long bangs spawned no copyists. Pirate radio arrives thanks to "the good guys" of Radio Hauraki broadcasting from the Tiri in the Hauraki Gulf (no relation to the current station of the same name). The Four Fours go to England, grow their hair and become the Human Instinct.

1967: Mr Lee Grant's operatic Thanks to You, Original Sin formed (includes Simon Morris and Rick Bryant). Fewer men wear ties. LSD is big overseas so we get slightly colourful, but not really.

1968: Pop turns to rock and gets stoned. It is a time of love and peace and Allison Durban. John Rowles tops the British charts with If I Only Had Time.

1969: The Fourmyula record Wayne Mason's Nature just as a demo/studio experiment. It tops the charts but they never perform it live. Three decades later it is voted the best New Zealand single of all time. Jumping Sundays in Albert Park, bands play, hippies gather, people dance. Much frowned upon by civic leaders.

1970: Human Instinct's Burning Up Years and Stoned Guitar. It's a hairy, beardy time. Ties?

1971: Space Farm. Elton John plays Western Springs, pulls 20,000 for NZ's first real stadium show. Blerta helmed by Bruno Lawrence takes to the road in convoy.

1972: 17-year-old schoolgirl Shona Laing sings 1905 on New Faces, gets signed, for three years becomes a hit machine and award magnet. A band called Split Ends - which includes Phil Judd, two Chunns and a Brian (aka Tim) Finn - plays at the Wyndham Tavern, a place much favoured by coffee drinking students in duffel coats. Steve Gilpin wins New Faces, he will later see the light and form MiSex.

1973: Ngaruawahia Music Festival pulls 18,000 to see the likes of Mammal, Lutha, Ticket. Bill includes little known bands Dragon and Split Ends, the latter making the final of New Faces and releasing their first single For You. Radio Bosom (later RadioB then 95bFM) founded at Auckland Uni.

1974: Space Waltz bring glam rock to New Faces and release the classic Out in the Street. Dragon's debut album Universal Radio. Phil Judd becomes Kiwi rock's most reluctant performer and quits the renamed Split Enz, who deliver a theatrical flourish in the Hauraki Buck-A-Head concerts. Silly suits and strange hair days. Marijuana is everywhere. Hot Licks, a free monthly rock mag, is launched. Ragnarok introduce Norse prog-rock.

1975: The Enz' Mental Notes released. Cover by Judd, back in the band, now in Te Papa. Grunt Machine arrives on telly hosted by Andy Anderson. Living Force introduce Krishna prog-rock. Very few liked it. The Waves album ticks away quietly and earns reputation as minor classic. Hello Sailor's first gig - in Tokoroa. Street Talk.

1976: Blerta series of skits and music on television wins a Feltex Award. Hot Licks has a cover price - 40c - and subsequently folds. Dragon and Hello Sailor are huge. So is heroin. It claims Dragon drummer Neal Storey in Sydney. Split Enz arrive in London as the Sex Pistols ride into headlines. Th' Dudes form, win Battle of the Bands. Scavengers play their first gig. Kiwi punk is born.

1977: Suburban Reptiles formed. Mike Chunn and Phil Judd leave Split Enz; Judd's replacement is 18-year-old Neil Finn. Barry Jenkins becomes the nation's musical physician as Dr Rock on Radio with Pictures and advances the case of punk and new wave. Rip It Up launched by Alastair Dougal and longtime editor Murray Cammick. Chris Knox forms the Enemy. Be very afraid.

1978: Punk breaks out in earnest (and it is very earnest). Hello Sailor to the US, Th' Dudes rule in Auckland, Citizen Band (with former Enzman Mike Chunn and brother Geoff) play suburban halls and release I Feel Good, a cover of a Larry's Rebels 60s hit. Golden Harvest, Rough Justice, Pop Mechanix, Reptiles' Saturday Night Stay At Home, Phil Judd joins the Suburban Reptiles, then the Enemy and subsequently quits. Forms the Swingers with Buster Stiggs and Bones Hillman. MiSex happen.

1979: Bob Marley plays in Auckland: Enough said Part Three. Toy Love formed, release double A-side single Rebel/Squeeze. Mouthy American producer Kim Fowley produces Street Talk's self-titled album, promises them fame and international success. Neither result. Th' Dudes Be Mine Tonight (which wins best single) and debut album Right First Time. Ripper Records's AK.79 compilation, Boot Boys rule and kick the stuffing out of punters at gigs. MiSex's Computer Games, the Enz breakthrough album True Colours (number one here and in Oz). I Got You goes top 50 in the US. Nambassa Festival.

1980: Sweetwaters. Swingers' One Good Reason and Counting the Beat (which became Oz best-selling single in '81). Street Talk's much better Battleground of Fun, Marching Girls' True Love ("I met her at the IGA, true love works in funny ways"). Toy Love release album, band goes to Oz, neither they nor the Australians enjoy the experience, they come back and quit. Misex go to America, America doesn't notice. Computer Games gets to number two in Canada. Propeller Records, Coup D'Etat, the Crocodiles' Tears, Ponsonby reggae invented - it's awful. The Narcs. Th' Dudes break up.

1981: Nambassa and Sweetwaters festivals held on same weekend. Only one survives. The Springbok tour. Riot 111 record 1981 which is the sound of street rebellion on vinyl. Graham Brazier's Inside Out album featuring Billy Bold. Newmatics, Screaming Mee Mees, Blam Blam Blam's Marsha. The Clean's Tally Ho launches Flying Nun, the "Dunedin sound", black jeans and lots of vinyl. Dance Exponents first gig unleashes Jordan Luck on an unsuspecting world. Dave Dobbyn's solo career launched with two classic singles (Lipstick Power, Bull by the Horns) then he forms DD Smash. Herbs' politicised What's Be Happen EP.

1982: Dave McArtney and the Pink Flamingos, Brazier's Legionnaires, the "Dunedin double" EP launched (Stones, Verlaines, Chills, Sneaky Feelings), the Bats, the Body Electric's Pulsing. Car Crash Set, Miltown Stowaways. DD Smash's Cool Bananas. Herbs tour the Pacific, release anti-nuke single French Letter, Sharon O'Neill's Maxine.

1983: Verlaines' Death and the Maiden ("Verlaine, Verlaine ... " etc), Big Sideways and Avant Garage, Dance Exponents' Prayers Be Answered, DD Smash's Outlook for Thursday. Tim Finn solo album Escapade features Fraction Too Much Friction. Poi E released to indifference of radio (see 1958).

1984: Chills' Pink Frost, Peking Man, the Mockers. Dave Dobbyn charged with inciting the Queen Street Riot. Case is dismissed. Split Enz final gig in December. Poi E stays at number one for four weeks.

1985: Netherworld Dancing Toys' For Today, Paul Hewson of Dragon, who wrote April Sun in Cuba, dies.

1986: Chills' I Love My Leather Jacket. Dave Dobbyn and Herbs' Slice of Heaven tops the charts, despite being initially ignored by radio (see 1983). Barry Saunders and Wayne (Nature) Mason form the Warratahs.

1987: Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over, Ardijah, Knightshade, When the Cats Away, Shona Laing's Glad I'm Not A Kennedy. Al Hunter's Neon Cowboy makes country hip. Straitjacket Fits release the perfectly formed Life in One Chord EP. Herbs' Sensitive to a Smile. Sticky Filth release single At Least Rock'n'Roll Doesn't Give You Aids. Nice.

1988: Upper Hutt Posse record E Tu, the first local rap single. Flying Nun moves to Auckland. Dobbyn's Loyal. Headless Chickens win Rheineck Rock Award to outraged reaction. Straitjacket Fits' Hail, Greg Johnson's debut The Watertable. Sydney-based Dave Dobbyn dropped by CBS. Ardijah's Take a Chance.

1989: Upper Hutt Posse's Against the Flow.

1990: A lot of people are saying "Shihad", New York's Village Voice devotes its rock'n'roll quarterly issue to Flying Nun. The Chills' Submarine Bells features Heavenly Pop Hit.

1991: Push Push's Trippin'. MC OJ and Rhythm Slave, Strawpeople, Able Tasmans, Ngaire. Andrew Brough departs Straitjacket Fits, later forms Bike.

1992: The Low Down Dirty Blues Band re-emerge as Supergroove. Crowded House voted best live band in the world by Britain's Q magazine, Mai FM starts, Mutton Birds' debut album, Jan Hellriegel. Martin Phillipps retires the Chills mid-tour in the US, returns home defeated. David Kilgour's solo album Here Come the Cars. Shihad's debut released. Head Like a Hole let it all hang out.

1993: Emma Paki's System Virtue, Crowded House's Together Alone, Shihad's Churn, Strawpeople's World Service, Dobbyn's Lament for the Numb, Straitjacket Fits' Blow, JPSE's Bleeding Star, 3Ds' Venus Trail, Al Hunter's The Singer. The Proud compilation of South Auckland artists.

1994: The first Big Day Out. The year of Supergroove: their Traction album is massive. Sister's Underground's In the Neighbourhood, Moana and the Moahunter's Tahi goes gold, Fiona McDonald putting herself about in Strawpeople and Headless Chickens, Paki's Greenstone, Dobbyn's superb Twist produced by Neil Finn. End of Straitjacket Fits and Shayne Carter later forms Dimmer. Southside of Bombay's What's the Time Mr Wolf?.

1995: Mountain Rock. OMC's How Bizarre means Pauly Fuemana can put his feet up for a while, Upper Hutt Posse's Movement in Demand, Greg Johnson's Vine Street Stories. Bill Urale becomes King Kapisi. Shihad's Killjoy. Flying Nun bands record an Abba tribute album. Herbs' bassist and former Be Bop Deluxe member Charlie Tumahai dies age 46 at an Auckland court where he was volunteering.

1996: Supergroove call it a day, a week later DLT and Che Fu's Chains tops the charts. DLT's debut album The True School, Superette's Tiger. Shihad's Shihad, Garageland's Last Exit to Garageland, Emma Paki's Oxygen of Love.

1997: Bic Runga's Drive makes her a household name. Dam Native's Kaupapa Rhymes Uplifted. Kog Transmissions launch their prolific label with a compilation featuring Epsilon Blue and Baitercell. Salmonella Dub's Calming of the Drunken Monkey.

1998: Che Fu's 2.b.S.Pacific goes platinum, and he starts to learn the art of acceptance speeches. Kapisi's Sub-Cranium Feeling is on the charts for 12 weeks. Shihad shift to Oz.

1999: Kapisi's Reverse Resistance wins him the Apra songwriter award. It is the year of True Bliss. Stellar's debut Mix produced by former Thompson Twin Tom Bailey. Shihad's The General Electric. Salmonella Dub's Killervision with the breakthrough single For the Love of It.

2000: King Kapisi's Savage Thoughts. First annual hip-hop summit. A big year for Fur Patrol, Tadpole, Zed, and betchadupa. Tim Finn, Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga combine for national tour that breaks attendance records. The Exponents play farewell gigs. Stinky Jim's Sideways compilation of local dubwise artists. Zed, managed by Ray Columbus (see 1962) sign to US major Interscope on the back of triple platinum debut album Silencer.

2001: Che's Fade Away, DLT's Altruism, D4's 6Twenty album. Blindspott single Nil By Mouth, Nesian Mystik's Polysaturated. West Auckland's Steriogram sign to Capitol after being heard on the internet. Neil Finn's solo One Nil then five-night stand at the St James with guests including Eddie Vedder, some Radioheads and Johnny Marr. P-Money placed third in international turntablist competition. Stellar's The Magic Line, the feelers' Communicate. Musicians and invited guests vote for New Zealand's 100 best songs, winner is Wayne Mason's Nature which the Mutton Birds covered. They play it together at the awards. Che Fu's The Navigator. Herbs' Fred Faleauto passes on.

2002: Dalvanius Prime, the mainman behind Patea Maori, dies. Salmonella Dub's Inside the Dub Plates debuts at number one, they get top group at music awards. The Datsuns and D4 start getting raves overseas. Blindspott's debut tops charts. Shihad reborn as Pacifier with album of same name, P-Money's Big Things, Bic Runga's long-overdue Beautiful Collision. A week of local bands organised and international name players fly in to see them, and some yachting.

2003: Television's Dylan Taite and longtime Playdate editor Des Dubbelt die. Datsuns keep having to go on stage at Tui music awards and thank people. A contingent of Kiwi bands including Evermore, Goodshirt and betchadupa play showcase gigs at Austin's SXSW festival. Blam Blam Blam, Newmatics and another Chills line-up reform for True Colours gigs. Television screens tribute to Dalvanius - and Give It A Whirl, a six-part history of all the above.


* What: Give It A Whirl

* Where: TV One

* When: Starting 8.30pm, tonight

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