They said I’d never make it

It’s been a long road from Raumati Beach in 1973 to Haiti in 2012.  Who would have thought that a little kid growing up in Paraparaumu would go on to be the only artist from the Raumati Beach region (Rimu Road to Rosetta Road) to have a novelty hit reach the top 100 in the Radio Otaki end of year New Year countdown in 1993?

My mother and my cousin have always wanted me to write my autobiography, and I feel that now is the time.  Since the earthquake in Haiti the live music scene has been quite limited and I have a lot of time on my hands.  My cousin Derek has been a fan of mine since seeing me perform my one man rock opera in the Paekakariki Community Hall.  I have always relied on Derek’s support right from the day the special needs unit was opened at my school in 1980 and I was able to see him everyday.  So these notes towards my rock-ography are for my mother and for Derek.

Quite often when I read rock-ographys I am disappointed by the lack of detail about the songs, movies, poems and shows that influenced my favourite artists in their formative years.  There is always a lot of stuff about friends, and first loves, and personally significant moments, and very little about what was their favourite song by Duran Duran in 1982 (Girls on Film).  I want to avoid this terrible error.  In a way I think that my autobiography will be a guide to good pop taste for any up and coming rockers who want to follow in my footsteps.

Who knows, today the Paekakariki Community Hall, tomorrow a pub in town.


1982 Style guide: One

Dave Stewart (not the Dave Stewart) and Babara Gaskin: It’s My Party

Entered NZ Charts at #6, 17 Jan 1982

Peaked at #1, 7 Feb 1982*

So, here is my first entry in what I believe will become the definitive style guide for 1982.  Although this song was not number one when the charts started up again on 17 Jaunary 1982 (charts need a Christmas holiday too), I feel that it is more symbollic of the 80s than the actual number one at the time: Howard Morrison’s How Great Thou Art.  Let’s look at the selected style highlights.

They’re crying.

It might be because they just discovered they’ve been talking to a mannequin for the last half an hour. Note the red head’s earring and hat combo.  Lady on the right is totally working the Michelle Pfeiffer look.

There were a lot of cover versions on the charts at the start of the year in 1982 but at least this cover version was delivering me some useful style pointers.

Here is a plot summary of the video then to recap:

Kendo warriors fight, dude with key-tar does some chords, chick with Darth Vader hair-do croons, party scene, kendo fighters, chick grows huge fingernails and sings about Johnny while some kind of paste trickles down cheek, some total knob shows up, dude on key-tar shows us his armpits (moderately hairy), mannequins at party seem to be enjoying themselves, two chicks start pumping water out of their faces.

Or, if you prefer your summaries in the visual medium:

Musically I think you will find that this video was pretty cutting edge.  It had a key-tar, synthesizer, and an electronic drum kit.  For a while there I think we thought you could turn anything you liked electronic, and be cool (electronic tambourine anyone?).

Top Three Style Tips

  1. Musically bereft of ideas? Remake an old song but use a synthesiser. (Note, this remake-the-classics idea worked well for me on my album Wagner’s Solo Melodica Ring Cycle – Complete Edition.)
  2. Visually bereft of ideas? Put some random Asian crap in the video.  Woah! Asia! So exotic.
  3. Mannequins are a good symbol of something.

    The underrated "key-flute" (aka Melodica)


7 thoughts on “They said I’d never make it”

  1. One day that song was playing on RTR and Mum said, “I remember this song when it was in the hit parade”. Mum would say that about a lot of songs. One day Mambo No 5 was playing in the background on some TV show and Mum said she remembered it from when it was in the hit parade, adding that you didn’t get songs like that any more. And I was forced to introduce her to the existence of Lou Bega’s reworked version.

    Also, why don’t we talk about the hit parade any more? I blame Rick Dees.

  2. TSB – It’s a long story

    Robyn – “We don’t get songs like that anymore” usually what I think after someone has finished that sentence is “thank god”. Yeah, Hit Parade sounds a bit British, Rick Dees, Casey Kasem… actually I miss their slick, non-stop patter.

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