September 05, 2014
Clock stops for rocker
The Maori Cowboy, Johnny Cooper, is being remembered for his contributions to New Zealand rock and roll.
Cooper has died in Lower Hutt at the age of 86.
Music historian John Dix says after moving from Wairoa to Wellington in the late 1940s, he won a major talent quest which won him a recording contract with HMV as a country singer.
That led to a string of hits, including One By One with Margaret Francis, The Convict And The Rose, and Look What You've Done, which featured on the Once Were Warriors soundtracks.
"And then in 1955 HMV said this is the new music coming from the USA. This is your next record and that was Rock Around The Clock, so Johnny actually recorded Rock around the clock before the original Bill Haley version was released in New Zealand. He can certainly lay claim to being the first New Zealand rock n roll recording artist," he says.
John Dix says Johnny Cooper also carved out a career as a promoter, discovering artists like Johnny Devlin, Midge Marsden and The Fourmyula.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JOHN DIX CLICK ON THE LINK
Copyright © 2014, UMA Broadcasting Ltd