Singer Steve Allen, in helmet hair, double breasted suit and flares, led the opening ceremony of the 1974 Commonwealth Games. His rendition of the Games song 'Join Together' brought the 35,000 strong crowd to its feet.
This hummable, even uplifting New Zealand anthem was already a powerful lightning rod for protest, its message of tolerance and racial harmony enraging South Africa’s white apartheid regime. Seven words in particular: freedom, race, creed, peace, war, black and white, were judged unsuitable by the authorities and the song was banned outright. Even more upsetting to them was Allen’s lyric that “people black and white will come from all parts of the world.”
Steve Allen was a member of Wellington band The Lost Souls in the 1960s, leaving in 1968 and signing to HMV for one single 'This Old Man' (as Stevie Allan) in 1969. The Lost Souls performed many sessions at HMV backing other acts like Mr. Lee Grant, with Allen playing guitar.