Sharon O'Neill Profile

Murray Cammick
28 May 2013

Sharon O’Neill created songs that our country’s baby boomer generation will never forget but the singer disappeared from view after her 1983 hit ‘Maxine’. She loved working with CBS Records in New Zealand, but went to war with CBS Australia and her career was derailed.

After the four year legal dispute with CBS, O’Neill tried to rebuild her career with two albums for Polydor. But when I met her in an Auckland hotel lounge on a promo trip to Auckland, she was adamant that I hide the magazine with her name on it. The singer who sought fame in the late 70s seemed to value her anonymity a decade later.

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An outtake from a 1970s CBS publicity shoot
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Arkastra in the All Star Summer Rock Concert at Wellington's Opera House, alongside Corben Simpson, Desna Sisarich, Mammal, Tamburlaine and Sharon O'Neill, 1 October 1972. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
Sharon O'Neill signs her record deal: CBS boss John McCready, Sharon O'Neill, CBS staff Robyn Williams and Gaynor Crawford
Photo credit: John McCready Collection
An outtake from a 1970s CBS publicity shoot
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Sharon O'Neill - Luck's On Your Table (1978)
Sharon O'Neill - 'Maxine' (CBS, 1983)
Sharon O'Neill - This Heart, This Song (CBS, 1979)
Jon Stevens and Sharon O'Neill - Don't Let Love Go (1980)
Sharon O'Neill, Merivale, Christchurch 1973
Photo credit: Photo by Kevin Hill
Sharon O'Neill as part of the 1970 Mobil Song Quest group finalists from Nelson. Sharon O'Neill (middle, front) and Nancy Richman, and accompanists Tony Hale (guitar) and Elston Blain (bass).
Photo credit: Nelson Photo News
Sharon O'Neill's band, year unknown
Sharon O'Neill in the NZBC June, 1973, media release for that year's Studio One show 
Sharon O'Neill - Foreign Affairs (CBS, 1983)
Sharon O'Neill, 1978
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Sharon O'Neill, 1979 - photo by Murray Cammick
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Shazam! in Sydney - Phillip Schofield interviews Sharon O'Neill (1983)
Sharon O'Neill as a presenter at the 1984 NZ Music Awards
Sharon O'Neill at CBS Records, Falcon Street, Parnell, 1978
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Ian Morris and Sharon O'Neill backstage at a When The Cat's Away gig on Waiheke in summer 2001/2002, with Ian and Kim Willoughby's kids
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Asian Paradise
Radio With Pictures - My Kind of Town - 1981 documentary directed by Simon Morris, featuring interviews with Sharon O’Neill, Barry Saunders and Nick Theobald during their time as the Tigers, producer Peter Dawkins, Dragon’s Marc Hunter, Kevin Stanton of Mi-Sex, and Dave McArtney.
An outtake from a 1970s CBS publicity shoot. This was used for Rip It Up magazine.
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
'For All The Tea in China', 1981 Australian cover
Photo credit: Rone Kane Collection
Gold records in 1979: Sharon O'Neill, CBS boss John McCready, Jon Stevens, CBS staffer Gaynor Crawford
Sharon O'Neill's Australian cover for the single Danger, 1983
Mark Williams and Sharon O'Neill in the late 1970s
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
An outtake from a 1970s CBS publicity shoot
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The 1980 Sharon O'Neill touring band with Dave Dobbyn. L to R: Sharon, Brent Thomas, Steve Garden, Dave, Clint Brown
Sharon O'Neill circa 1978
Sharon O'Neill's APRA Silver Scroll press release
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection

O’Neill and her partner Alan Mansfield have written songs together for Dragon and the late Robert Palmer.

Sharon O'Neill was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2017. The Hall of Fame is an initiative of Recorded Music NZ and the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), whose support of AudioCulture enables the site to stream music content.