THEY CAME!, THEY PLAYED!, THEY...RAN AWAY AGAIN! -Part Two
Did you know?
...that The Beatles played the Dunedin Town Hall in 1964?
I?ve performed there! I stood where John Lennon stood ? almost for certain on or near the same spot!
Pathetic, isn?t it. But it just seems so surreal these days. You can look at photographs of the fab four in that venue from that time and even walk across that very stage!
But you can?t help wondering whether it was really, truly the same PLANET as that which we now inhabit ? let alone being the same city and venue!
But it wasn?t just those luvable Liverpudlian lads who found themselves so very far from home ? the Rolling Stones also played the Dunedin Town Hall around 1965 with various supporting acts ? quite a few of them actually, as was the style at that time.
So, I got to asking those I know who would remember, or who would know from research, who had actually made it as far as New Zealand (and, in particular, Dunedin) during those early years of exciting rock and roll.
I was very surprised!
I had hoped to list them all chronologically and point out those who hadn?t gotten as far as Dunedin on their New Zealand tours ? but this just became too difficult.
I know you will find it an illuminating read anyway and some of you may even be able to add to it or clarify some of the more doubtful pieces of information.
Of course some of you will wonder what the big deal is.
Well - I suggest you look at an atlas and imagine the vast distances involved in getting these artists from London (for example) all the way around the world to this supposed dead-end hole!
Talk about dedication! (Well, OK ? on the part of the promoters it was probably just greed!)
But people did manage to get those exciting young artists here!
In a coming post you will see I haven?t listed all the famous acts from the thirties, forties and fifties ? there were so many, and this is largely a catalogue of rock?n?rollers. There is a famous quote from a Beatle (Ringo I think?) who asked about the very obvious lack of real security.
"Don't talk to me about security!" said the police officer, "We've had Vera Lynn through here!"
John Lennon got a nasty cut on his shin in the following debacle and was too sulky to make the Dunedin press conference.
So, anyway, we will begin with the King of skiffle, Lonnie Donnigan. Apparently he was supported by New Zealand?s first locally-grown teeny-bopper idol, Johnny Devlin.
Johnny Devlin had been beaten in N.Z. by Johnny Cooper (as far as recording an actual rock and roll 78 rpm platter, and reputedly the first to record Rock Around the Clock outside the USA) but Mr Cooper was a country and western artist who really didn?t get this new rock thing and, in fact, kind of hoped it would go away.
But, like it or not, the flood-gates were about to open!
And in part three I will provide you with a list of some of those more interesting acts who I know have passed through these parts...
Got you thinking now, eh....