A key link in persuading New Zealanders that local music could be as exciting as anything from overseas, Hello Sailor were formed in Ponsonby by Dave McArtney, Graham Brazier and Harry Lyon in 1975. The eclectic rockers won a reputation as an arresting live act, in a scene dominated by covers bands and disco. Their 1977 debut was the first album of original Kiwi music to go gold. After time in the US they disbanded in 1980, but reunions and further albums followed; a new generation was introduced to their music via TV series Outrageous Fortune. McArtney died 15 April 2013; Brazier on 5 September 2015.
“I’m as blue as a new tattoo...since I lost you” sings Graham Brazier on this first single from Hello Sailor’s 1994 comeback The Album. Loss is leavened by the harmonica and guitar of the band’s energetic brand of pub rock. In the black and white music video they cruise around in a Chevrolet, intercut with Auckland street scenes and a young woman in a leather bustier walking her dog. ‘New Tattoo’ peaked at five in October 1994, the band's highest chart placing. In a 2013 AudioCulture profile, Murray Cammick rated it "a strong addition" to the Hello Sailor canon.
This song is taken from the only new album released in the 1990s by Kiwi music legends Hello Sailor. In an AudioCulture profile of the band, writer Murray Cammick praised the Dave McArtney-penned track as one of two strong additions to the Hello Sailor canon (alongside song 'New Tattoo', also from 1994). The music video features the band playing (on a Ponsonby street, in a derelict building) intercut with archive clips (famous sporting moments, returned servicemen, Edmund Hillary, hikoi, the Beatles tour), echoing the song’s lyrical themes of waning memories and nostalgia.
This performance by Hello Sailor was recorded by TVNZ in Christchurch, at the Civic Theatre in Manchester Street. Singer Graham Brazier (who passed away in September 2015) is said to have written the classic song about love, destruction and hurt in 15 minutes. It was a last minute addition to the band’s debut album (and their second Top 20 single of 1977, reaching number 13). 'Blue Lady' was later considered as a possible theme song for an Australian police show. It would have been a strange choice: this Blue Lady came from the wrong side of the tracks. It was junkie slang for a hypodermic syringe.
'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and various guitars. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just before the band set off to try to make it in LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms that the band’s tongue was in its chic.
Chosen as the theme tune of Outrageous Fortune spinoff Westside roughly four decades after it was first performed, this guitar and sax-driven rocker appeared on the first album by the legendary, on again off again Hello Sailor. Taken from music show Ready to Roll, this performance sees Brazier and band talking tough in leather about danger on the streets, and "nights like a razor blade". Harry Lyon snarls over his red guitar, Graham Brazier plays a saxophone with a price tag on it, and Dave McArtney adopts classic bored rocker pose.
Hello Sailor perform the classic single from their debut album, for TVNZ's cameras. 'Gutter Black' features what composer Dave McArtney called the band’s trademark “whiteman’s attempt to play that ska rocksteady beat” — plus the distinctive sound of amped-up drums and handclaps. 'The song was originally titled 'Sickness Benefit', with lyrics mentioning “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” — as revealed on a 1996 greatest hits compilation. Reconstituted as 'Gutter Black', the song took on a new lease of life as the opening theme for TV's Outrageous Fortune.