As co-owner (with Russell Clark) of the Benny Levin Agency and the Impact label, and a partner in New Music Management (with Clark, Craig Scott and Mike Corless), the late Benny Levin's archives could be expected to contain a large number of publicity shots.
Sadly, since Benny's passing these have been extensively reduced by a mix of attrition, some early unfortunate trashing – and assorted people simply taking images for themselves. Thus, much of what was there when Benny died in 1993 is lost. Thankfully, what's left is preserved at Auckland Library as part of The George Grey Special Collections, and despite the losses the archive is still considerable.
AudioCulture has been given access to this amazing trove of images and we are featuring these across two pages. Most are simply publicity shots, but many are either long unseen or never published. There are bands that made little impact but stare out hopefully, and local stars, some – like Kim Willoughby, seen here with The Gurlz, pictured before they became household names.
The Benny Levin images, Pt.1
Auckland band Waves circa 1975
Auckland band Broken Doll's (complete with La De Da's misplaced apostrophe), active in the early 1980s. Signed to Stebbing and released via CBS, the band included Dave Spillane, Simon Lynch, plus ex-Th' Dudes rhythm section Lez White and Bruce Hambling. A later line-up would include future Auckland art dealer (and DD Smash member) Gary Langsford. Lynch would go on to Ardijah, D-Faction and a stellar career in audio engineering.
Bunny Walters in the mid-70s
Guitarist Henry Jackson's band Cherry Pie, circa 1974. Henry is at right rear, others include John Tanner (left rear) and Richard Taylor (front left). Cherry Pie released one Rhys Walker produced single for the Direction Records label.
Craig Scott circa 1973-74
An early 1983 Dance Exponents shot, taken before Chris Sheehan joined the band
Dave McArtney's band (with fellow Hello Sailor member Harry Lyon) for the 1984 album The Catch
Dragon as a 3-piece in 1989: Todd Hunter, Alan Mansfield and Marc Hunter
Erana Clark, a young vocalist who signed to Russell Clark as manager. She would not release any records on Pye but several singles on Benny and Russell's Impact label were issued in the mid-1970s.
John Rowles' brother Frankie. Frankie Rowles released several singles under the name Frankie Price before reverting to his given surname.
The Gurlz were a popular live band in Auckland in the early 1980s, releasing an Ian Morris and Paul Streekstra produced EP on Harlequin's Ze Disc label in 1982. Among their number was Kim Willoughby (second from left, later of When The Cat's Away) and Carol Varney, partner of Blam Blam Blam's Tim Mahon (left).
Dick Driver (ex-Pop Mechanix and Radio With Pictures host) with Hip Singles in 1983
John Rowles in a late 1970s publicity shot
Former Golden Harvest frontman Karl Gordon. As a solo act he released one single on Stebbing's Key label in 1980 followed by two on RCA in 1982.
Part 2 is here.