The Merv Benton story is a fascinating chapter of the Beat Boom in Australia. From his base on the Melbourne dance circuit, Merv gained national attention and quickly became one of the most popular male singers in the country. In early 1964 he signed with Melbourne's W&G Records and became one of their most prolific artists, releasing seventeen singles, six EPs, and three LPs between 1964 and 1967, and scoring an impressive run of fifteen Top 40 singles in his hometown (several of which also charted in other cities). But in 1967, at the height of his popularity, Merv was struck down by throat problems that ended his singing career.
Merv (real name Mervyn Bonson. b. 12 August 1942) grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir and went to school at Preston High. Merv's first year as a pop star was frantic -- in just nine months he had released four singles, one EP and one LP By the end of '64, the 19-year-old singer had appeared on appeared on national television shows such as Brian Henderson's Bandstand and Johnny O'Keefe's Sing Sing Sing, and W&G released his debut album, Come On And Get Me, by which time he had become a regular on national and local TV pop shows; and had toured the country supporting Merseybeat star Billy J. Kramer.
Merv's look has been described as being in contrast to the new wave of long-haired, Liverpool-sound groups of the era, but this is something of a misnomer. Films and photos of the period will reveal that Merv's style was actually fairly typical of the time -- take a look at an old Aztecs clip, for example -- and with his clean-cut image and matinee-idol good looks, immaculately coiffed hair and sharply tailored clothes. he undoubtedly won the hearts of young fans all over Australia.