September 04, 2014
Maori Cowboy Johnny Cooper dies
New Zealand rock and roll singer Johnny Cooper has died at the age of 86.
Cooper was dubbed the Maori Cowboy because of his love for country and western, but he won lasting fame as the New Zealand's very first rock'n'roll recording artist,
Born and raised near Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, Cooper began performing around Wellington in the late-40s, and recorded a string of country music hits for HMV, including 'The Convict & The Rose' and 'One by One'.
In 1955 he recorded a version of Rock Around The Clock, and twho hears later his composition Pie Cart Rock'n'Roll became the country's first recorded original rock'n'roll song.
A canny businessman, he moved more to the promotion side of the industry.
His Give It A Go talent quest found among other New Zealand's Elvis, Johnny Devlin and Midge Marsden.
He retired in the 1990s and was living independently in Lower Hutt.
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