classic and rare Australian popular music from the 1950's, 1960's. 1970's and beyond..including rock and roll, pop, beat, rock, surf and progressive, plus contemporary artists, new releases, reviews and other fun stuff



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The La-De-Da's ..How Is the Air Up There? 1966-1967

The La De Da's were a leading New Zealand rock band of the 1960's and early 1970's. Formed in New Zealand in 1963 (as The Mergers), they enjoyed considerable success in both New Zealand and Australia until their split in 1975. The band which eventually became The La De Das was started by three young musicians from the rural Huapai district, near Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand.

Friends Kevin Borich, Brett Neilson and Trevor Wilson were all from Rutherford High School in Te Atatu. The Mergers formed in late 1963 as a Shadows-style instrumental group and began playing local dances and school socials, but The Beatles' visit in June 1964, and the emergence of The Rolling Stones, crystallised the need for change of style and a lead singer. Trevor Wilson suggested a friend from nearby Mt Albert Grammar School, Phil Key, who was invited to join as vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Key was a major addition to the group. According to NZ music historian John Dix, Key "has been generally underrated as a vocalist, and few people have appreciated as one of the best to come out of the Antipodes." It was Key's older sister, an avid record collector with an interest in obscure British groups, as well as hard-core American R&B, who provided the bulk of their early repertoire which is what this collection comprises.

In Australia the band is probably best known as the launching place for the career of guitarist Kevin Borich, and for their recording of the first Australasian rock concept album, The Happy Prince (EMI, 1968).