I knew a man / He told me of a land….

It’s been a project I’ve spent more than few leisure hours engrossed in and on.

I’m not sure that it will change the world but I’m well aware of the woe­ful state of the online doc­u­men­ta­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion of so much of New Zealand’s music his­to­ry. There is, of course, the won­der­ful 50s and 60s ency­clopae­dia of New Zealand rock’n’roll pre­sent­ed online by Bruce Ser­gent, but it hasn’t been updat­ed in many years and remains unfinished.

There are oth­er bits and pieces and the NZ His­to­ry site has some won­der­ful stuff. But it’s all very patchy out there and if the intent of my web­site is nar­rowed down to one thing it’s to try and doc­u­ment parts of our pop­u­lar his­to­ry that have large­ly remained undoc­u­ment­ed in detail.

With that in mind, I decid­ed, a cou­ple of years back, to put togeth­er a sin­gles discog­ra­phy of what may be NZ’s most impor­tant record label, Eldred Stebbing’s leg­endary and ground­break­ing Zodi­ac, and it’s asso­ci­at­ed bits and pieces.

With Eldred’s pass­ing last year it seemed time­ly to final­ly fin­ish this, or at least take it to a pub­lish­able stan­dard, and post it, which I did a few days ago. This does, how­ev­er, remain a work in progress and I’ll add more images and data as it and they become avail­able.  The work of Chris Bourke, who’s forth­com­ing book on NZ music pre-rock, is one that I’m gag­ging to get my hands on, and Chris and his­to­ri­an John Bak­er have helped immensely.

There are some acts that defy my research and I’ve been espe­cial­ly ham­pered by the fact that I’ve most­ly done it from Asia, with a brief burst in the Auck­land library over Jan­u­ary. Hope­ful­ly, these come to light as this page goes live and peo­ple email me data.

All of these records pre-date my active involve­ment in mak­ing music and records in NZ but I both remem­ber many of these tunes as anthems when I was a kid grow­ing up lis­ten­ing to the ZMs and Hau­ra­ki, and was aware of the huge lega­cy that shad­owed us when we began our labels in the ear­ly 1980s. These were the peo­ple that inspired us, and when I first met Eldred, in 1975, I was a kid in awe.

In oth­er words, I’ve done this as a fan, and when I emailed Chris Parfitt of the Hi-Revving Tongues, who I loved as a kid, I gushed embar­rass­ing­ly and self-con­scious­ly when I start­ed the email.

I own about half these records but made the deci­sion not to scan every label as it would swamp the page, which goes on enough as it is. And I’m aware that it’s most­ly a trainspotter’s world here, but I hope the less nerdy amongst us can jump in and take a bit of his­to­ry away.

It’s scary how organ­ic all these bands were – peo­ple went from group to group and grew with the label; the likes of Glyn Tuck­er, anoth­er one of my heroes, who record­ed for Zodi­ac first in 1960 and last in 1968, with at least three acts. And it’s also very obvi­ous how much of an impact The Bea­t­les changed the pop world. Sim­ply put, there was Zodi­ac pre-Fab 4 and Zodi­ac post-Fab 4. They changed every­thing overnight and opened the door to the thing we now call Rock.

So, here it is, The Zodi­ac 45 list­ing, a rather con­sum­ing thing to do but it’s been an obses­sive bit of fun and there is more to come at some stage.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

February 17, 2010 at 11:51 am

Nice job! Must’ve tak­en ages.

February 17, 2010 at 11:51 am

Here’s a lit­tle some­thing for your iPod.

February 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

About 12 months give or take.

Wow, I’d for­got­ten about that..where did you find that?

February 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I ripped it off the Film Archive and pol­ished it up a bit.

Peg­gy Pearl
March 2, 2010 at 1:42 am

As a fam­i­ly mem­ber of Eldred’s, I was espe­cial­ly touched by your work on this. Nice one — must’ve been a huge job.

March 2, 2010 at 2:14 am

Thanks Peg­gy, yes it was a bit of an epic. If you see any errors feel free to email me simon At bpm dot co dot NZ

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