Sailor's Voyage charts the journey of Hello Sailor, the band that ripped up a storm live, made landings in the USA, ran aground and fell apart, then drifted back together again. Interviews with Graham Brazier, Dave McArtney, Harry Lyon and co reveal how the group opened doors for local music, and helped establish a New Zealand touring circuit. Manager David Gapes recalls attempts to get a US record deal, before the cash ran out; the legend of Brazier being asked to join The Doors is explained. The archive footage includes a performance with Doors member Ray Manzarek.
Pop rock anthems like 'Are You Old Enough' made Dragon stars in Australasia in the late 70s, but the band dissolved in 1980. In 1982 they reformed and a reunion tour saw them back in the spotlight. In this excerpt from a Shazam! special on music across the ditch, Phillip Schofield chats with band members Robert Taylor and Paul Hewson about their musical direction ("more keyboards") and the challenges of making it in Australia ("you’ve got to work hard"). A clip from the video for hit single 'Rain', which peaked at number two on the Australian charts, concludes the story.
Dragon have produced some of Australasian pop music's classic anthems ('April Sun in Cuba', 'Are You Old Enough'). This 2015 documentary charts 40 rock'n'roll years: chart success, drugs, fame, failure, family, survival. The first excerpt looks at the band facing early success and tragedy; the second covers the impact of the 1998 death of singer Marc Hunter, especially on his brother Todd. The doco screened in the Prime Rocks slot. "Made with care and quite a lot of love", praised NZ Herald’s Greg Dixon, "by turns, sad and uplifting, which is no mean feat."
It was the summer of 1970, six months after Woodstock; local media hyped this Phil Warren-promoted two-day music festival as New Zealand’s version. Despite promises of revolution, it was more low-key with 1500 music fans bussing out to the Swanson holiday park for — as MC Peter Sinclair introduced it — “36 hours of non stop top pops of New Zealand’s top bands”, from psych-rock to gospel. The big star was sometime Bee Gee Robin Gibb, whose high pitch was infamously welcomed with a thrown tomato. This footage was captured for TV by the NZ Broadcasting Corporation.
Dragon formed in Auckland in 1972, led by Todd Hunter, who recruited his brother Marc Hunter shortly after. The band gained a profile with an appearance at 1973's Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival; after releasing two progressive rock albums, they shifted to Australia in 1975 and were signed to CBS by ex-pat Peter Dawkins. With songwriter-keyboardist Paul Hewson on board they shifted to a winning pop-rock formula, with Marc Hunter as charismatic lead singer. The hits included 'April Sun in Cuba' and 'Are You Old Enough'. Marc died in 1998 but the band continues to tour, with Kiwi Mark Williams on vocals.
Following the initial break up of legendary group Hello Sailor in 1980, Dave McArtney moved to centre stage with The Pink Flamingos (named after the cult comedy by John Waters). Formed around the ideas of "simplicity and melody", the group's revolving line-up included Dragon songwriter Paul Hewson. They released three albums and an EP; their self-titled debut led to five NZ Music Awards in 1981, including Group of the Year. After an unsuccessful second album the band reformed in 1984 to record The Catch. Their singles included 'Virginia', 'I'm in Heaven' and 'Remember the Alamo'. McArtney died in April 2013.
‘Still in Love With You’ dates from 1978's O Zambesi, the album that yielded Dragon ‘Are You Old Enough’, their first (and only) number one hit in Australia. One of a series of hook-laden singles penned by keyboardist Paul Hewson, 'Still in Love' became another live staple for the Auckland prog-rockers turned Aussie pop stars. A straight down the line performance video shot against a white-washed studio, the video works thanks to the star power of lead singer Marc Hunter, who brings to the party all of his swagger, charisma and coiffed hair. The band bring their sunnies.
After the classic line-up of Sydney-based hitmakers Dragon reformed in 1982, the band found a new lease of life when anthemic single 'Rain' got to number two on the Australian charts (at a time of severe drought). 'Rain' was a departure — written by Todd Hunter and his wife Joanna Piggott, instead of Dragon's songwriter supreme Paul Hewson. The video offers more evidence of a new look, thanks to drummer Terry Chambers (fresh from XTC) and US keyboardist and producer Alan Mansfield. The video is one of three made for 'Rain' — the band rejected a post-apocalyptic version.
Following the demise of Pacific Funk band Big Sideways, vocalist Debbie Harwood launched a solo career with this cover of an Ashford and Simpson song written for Gladys Knight and the Pips. The single was dedicated to recently deceased Dragon keyboards player Paul Hewson, and it won Harwood a NZ Music Award (at a ceremony which provided the impetus for the formation of When the Cat’s Away). The video, produced by TVNZ at Avalon, is a straightforward studio performance, but is notable for the extended, two minute long tracking shot that comprises its second half.
This 1978 single marked the first number one for the Kiwi prog rockers turned Australian pop stars. It danced around the age of consent (the first line of the song gave the impression the narrator may be in jail). Later the song became the theme tune for 2012 Aussie TV show Puberty Blues. A time capsule of 70s Melbourne, the clip opens on singer Marc Hunter aimlessly wandering the city's streets and tramways, before transitioning to a glossier studio performance. Like many of the band's biggest hits, the song was written by Dragon's resident hook-writer, keyboardist Paul Hewson.