Benny Levin

Dancetime was his nickname, entertainment was his game. For years, the classified advertisement columns in the Auckland papers advertised the services of a man who was hugely influential in shaping the live music scene in New Zealand: Benny “Dancetime” Levin, pianist and promoter.

In the 1950s, Levin’s band Dancetime – or any other band contracted to his Dancetime booking agency – was available for weddings, parties, anything. In the late 1950s, he helped the Howard Morrison Quartet get its start, toured many acts such as Shane and Larry Morris in the 1960s, and in the 1970s shaped the careers of – among many others – Bunny Walters and Golden Harvest. In the post-punk era of the early 1980s, his later booking agency New Music Management ran the nationwide pub-rock circuit, with acts such as DD Smash, Dave McArtney and the Pink Flamingos, the Legionnaires, the Dance Exponents, Hip Singles and many others in its stable.

One of the last pictures taken of Benny Levin, with Julian Clary and Louise Hunter, manager of Benny Levin Promotions, at the New Zealand Entertainment Operators with Benny's award
Photo credit: Louise Hunter collection
Revelry at the 1984 APRA Silver Scrolls. Sitting, in a brown jacket, is Benny Levin. Behind him are, from left, Ray Columbus, Ashley Heenan and Lynda and Jools Topp.
Bunny and manager Benny Levin, 1977
Teenage Erana Clark was briefly a star of the Levin-Clark stable of artists, recording for Impact in the early to mid-1970s
Perhaps the two greatest showmen of their time, Phil Warren and Benny Levin in 1991
Benny Levin (second from right), at the press conference held at the Clichy Restaurant at 23 Britomart Place, Auckland, 22 February 1979. 
Photo credit: Bruce Jarvis, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1704-1906A-27A
Golden Harvest write to Benny Levin from Oamaru, year unknown
The programme for the July 1955 Cool And Crazy show presented by Benny Levin and Bart Stokes at Auckland Town Hall
Benny Levin and His Music
The Thermalaires Vocal Quartet, a Māori group from Rotorua managed and promoted by Benny Levin in the 1950s, around the same time he discovered the Howard Morrison Quartet
A Benny Levin "spectacular" in Hamilton in February 1967
Benny Levin in the mid 1960s
The Cossacks at the Orewa Soundshell, Xmas Eve, 1965: Nick Scott, Chris Parfitt, Promoter Benny Levin, John Ellis
Benny Levin's standard PR shot from the early 1960s
Benny Levin Promotions - the roster in 1963
Benny's car parked outside his home in Papatoetoe
Benny Levin in the late 1950s
In 1967 Benny Levin Agency Ltd. was renamed New Zealand Battle Of The Bands Sounds & Groups Contests Ltd. His new promotions company was Benny Levin Promotions Ltd.
An outdoor season at Orewa in 1966
Benny Levin and Johnny Cooper meet US singers Gene McDaniels and Ben E King, during their 1964 New Zealand tour, which also featured Dee Dee Sharp. 
Heat 2 of the 1981 Battle of The Bands, notable for The Clean (who won this night but did not win the finals).
Benny Levin in the 1950s
Benny Levin and his 9-Piece Band, 1955
Bart Stokes (left) with Benny Levin (third from left). It was Stokes who advised Benny that jazz was popular in the South Island in 1952, leading to the disasterous This is Jazz tour. The two would, however, work together for several years thereafter.
Promoters Ken Cooper, Bruce Warwick and Benny Levin, broadcaster Bas Tubert and ad-man John Mears
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
The intro to a 1963 tour programme featuring Ben E. King, Gene McDaniels and Dee Dee Sharp - quite a line-up for the day
The Inbetweens win the 1970 Battle Of The Bands at Auckland's YMCA. As with most of the winners, they were then taken under the wing of Benny Levin Promotions as management and agents, and in this case they were also signed to Benny and Russell's Impact label
Benny Levin's Cool And Crazy show programme from July 1955
Benny Levin with 89FM's Barry Everard at a Christmas party in the late 1980s
The first Auckland heat of the 1968 Battle Of The Bands
Benny and Russell tell Lew Pryme in The 8 O'Clock that they are on the hunt for new stars, September 1969
The 1970 Battle Of The Bands


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