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Hero image for Give It A Whirl 1 - Causing a Commotion  (First Episode)

Give It A Whirl 1 - Causing a Commotion (First Episode)

Television (Full Length Episode) – 2003

Ten shirts ripped to pieces by excited fans ... the first shirt went in Christchurch, and from then on in the South Island, the losses have been regular.
– Newspaper article on one of singer Johnny Devlin's first tours
Ray Columbus and the Invaders, the response was awesome. It was big time. I mean we got as much noise as The Beatles or The Stones got when we were on stage. I mean you just can't hear a thing for kids screaming.
– Ray Columbus and the Invaders guitarist Billy Kristian, near the close of episode one
'She's a Mod' came out of a pile of reject 45s from some English record company ... [it] was in the throwaway pile, and we just picked it up.
– Invaders guitarist Dave Russell on number one hit 'She's a Mod'
The girls would scream, the guys would yell; it was good fun. And it always happened. We used to get chased down the road by girls. We've been chased down Castlereagh Street with about a hundred girls chasing us. And we were all running for our lives in our black satin suits ... just like The Beatles.
– Ray Columbus and the Invaders guitarist Billy Kristian remembers crazy dayson
I don't know if it's ever been as intense as it was during that era of the 60s. I guess once The Beatles came out, all the local kids thought that it was the thing to do to kind of scream at bands. I guess there was starting to become an acceptance that we had our own Kiwi stars.
– Singer turned music producer Glyn Tucker on changing times for Kiwi music and music fans in the 1960s
Roy Orbison said "you guys are the loudest band on earth!" That was us he was talking about, because we were backing him. It was just an amazing tour; phenomenal tour.
– Ray Columbus on The Invaders touring in Australia with Roy Orbison and The Rolling Stones
...I'm still amazed that it actually did as well as it did. It's not sort of a great song as such. It seems to me to be a novelty now — a novelty type song.
– Ray Columbus and the Invaders guitarist Billy Kristian on 'She's a Mod'
We were under contract to HMV you see. The boss there — Dave Van Weede — he called me in, and said 'there's a new sound hitting America. And it's big, it's taking off.' He said 'it's called rock'n'roll'. I'd never heard of anything called rock'n'roll before.
– Johnny Cooper on first hearing about rock'n'roll music in the 1950s
Johnny's pickup jazz band plays it safe, with a little bit of swing, and a Kiwi version of 'Rock Around the Clock' is released in October of 1955. But very few believe this rock'n'roll thing has any future at all.
– Narrator Peter Elliott on the first Kiwi rock'n'roll recording, Johnny Cooper's version of 'Rock Around the Clock'
...it became the scene for getting Devlin's shirt when he came out in front to sign the autographs — you know, let's get his shirt. And it just snowballed. And everywhere we went there's shirts ripped off, police protection everywhere. it actually got out of control.
– Singer Johnny Devlin, on how a publicity gimmick took on its own life
...Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock' is a runaway hit. Wellington-based record company HMV wants to cash in with a local cover version — problem is, there are no rock'n'rollers in New Zealand. The closest HMV can get is country and western singer, Johnny Cooper...
– Narrator Peter Elliott on the birth of New Zealand's first rock'n'roll recording, 'Rock Around the Clock'
...the thing that really got me in those days was mothers hated me. They hated me because their daughters wanted to get the Dinah Lee haircut.
– Dinah Lee’s popularity with teenage girls did not endear her to their mothers
Kids just let loose and enjoyed themselves and loved their pop stars — screamed at you onstage, wanted a piece of you…would climb up drainpipes to try and get into your dressing room, to see you, just to get an autograph.
– Dinah Lee on being the target of fan hysteria
..I remember leaving there that day with this look and walking down the street and everybody staring at me. This way-out chick!
– Singer Dinah Lee on turning heads with her new 'mod' look
It was a very flourishing club scene. We would play the Monaco on Friday and Saturday nights, we’d play on Thursday nights at the Oriental; we’d play lunchtimes Monday to Friday for two hours at the Bali Hai...
– Christchurch singer Ray Columbus on opportunities that greeted them in Auckland, in the days before there was a local pub circuit
We kept getting write-ups in the press. Just about every show that we did, it would become Press Association news right throughout the country, and, before I knew where I was, from just a singer at the Jive Centre in Auckland to a national identity— pretty mind boggling.
– Singer Johnny Devlin on how quickly his career took off
Up until then we didn’t have a youth culture. But after rock’n’roll we had a youth culture, and he was their icon, because he belonged to us — he was our own.
– Singer Carol Davies on the importance of local rock'n'roller Johnny Devlin
...when you filled that big room with people jiving, it was the most stimulating thing to look at, especially as a musician. You were playing; you were providing the music, the rhythm, and out there was a sea of people with skirts flying and girls going over the heads of their partners. It was great.
– Musician Merv Thomas on playing rock’n’roll gigs at Auckland's Jive Centre
Well of course, the oldies hated it you know. Rock’n’roll was the devil’s music, but being a teenager, we loved it. You had to go to a dance to hear it, or you heard it at special times on the radio. And that was rock’n’roll. It wasn’t going to last anyhow.
– Singer Dinah Lee on rock’n’roll and the generation gap
..all of a sudden, one day, out of America came rock’n’roll ... And it was just amazing. Our lives just changed overnight. I felt as if I’d been plugged into a power socket, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I actually thought I’d died and gone to heaven. We just got right into it. All of a sudden, we had our own music.
– Singer Carol Davies on how the new music changed the lives of Kiwi teens