The Breakaways

aka Bari & The Breakaways

Teenage R&B groups were thin on the ground in New Zealand in early 1965. Auckland had The Dark Ages, Christchurch had Chants R&B, and Wellington had The Breakaways, the most successful of the local groups inspired by touring R&B acts from the UK.

Since emerging from the Taranaki province onto the Wellington pop scene in late 1964, Bari and The Breakaways – Bari Gordon (lead guitar), Keith “Midge” Marsden (rhythm guitar), Dave Orams (bass) and Bryan Beauchamp (vocals and drums) – had steered clear of obvious chart fodder.

Top: Bryan Beauchamp, Midge Marsden, Bottom: Dave Orams, Bari Gordon - 1965
The Breakaways back Howard Morrison on Johnny Cooper's Talent Show, Masterton 1965
Breakaways HMV publicity shot
The Breakaways with Howard Morrison
1966 ad for Timaru's Downtown Nitespot, owned by Eddie Brookes
Dinah Lee rehearsing with the Blue Diamonds in New Plymouth, 1964. From left: Bruce Lynch, Murray Coplestone, and Midge Marsden.
The Breakaways on Johnny Cooper's Talent Show, Masterton 1965
Before The Breakaways came The Blue Diamonds. Pictured here: Bari Gordon, Tim Nuku, Midge Marsden, Bryan Beauchamp.
Midge Marsden was in the army so The Breakaways played as a 3 piece. L to R: Bryan Beauchamp, Dave Orams, Dave Hurley at Scots College ball, 1966
Photo credit: Dave Hurley Collection
Bari and The Breakaways just after they moved from New Plymouth to Wellington: Tim Nuku, Bari Gordon, Midge Marsden and Bryan Beauchamp
The Breakaways: Dave Orams, Bryan Beauchamp, Dave Hurley, Midge Marsden in New Plymouth, August 1966
3 members of The Breakaways: Midge Marsden, Dave Hurley, Dave Orams
Photo credit: Dave Hurley Collection
The 1966 Let's Take A Sea Cruise With The Breakaways album
Dave Hurley and Midge Marsden during The Breakaways years
Dave Hurley and Midge Marsden, Seatoun, Wellington 1967
Photo credit: Dave Hurley Collection
The Breakaways - Bryan Beauchamp, Midge Marsden, Dave Hurley, Dave Orams
A young Midge Marsden
The Breakaways second album released in 1967, after the band had broken up. Today it's one of the hardest New Zealand albums to find on vinyl and goes for hundreds of dollars when sold on internet auction sites.
I Got That Feelin'

Bari Gordon - lead guitar

Midge Marsden - rhythm guitar

Bryan Beauchamp - vocals, drums

Dave Orams - bass

Doug Thomas - drums

Dave Hurley - guitar

Tim Piper - guitar


The Breakaways were the backing band on singles by Murray Marsden, Gwynn Owen and Dene Hunter.

Dave Hurley co-founded Auckland’s Mandrill Studio.

They were originally called The Blue Diamonds until Tommy Adderley suggested a name change.



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