Tony and the Initials

aka The Initials

Tony and the Initials seem to have gone down as little more than a footnote in the 60s pop boom. But at the time they were a substantial live name in Wellington, and they left behind a catalogue of strong-selling, well regarded recordings.

Import restrictions were harsh in post-war New Zealand. But in return for exporting meat and butter to Britain in the early 1960s, New Zealand received many small luxuries: Beano and Victor comics, Beat Instrumental magazines, Morris Minor cars, HP sauce … and rock and roll in the form of heavy vinyl records and the occasional musician.

Maria Dallas tour entourage, Christchurch, early 1967, with Tony and The Initials and Ken Lemon. From left, back row: Tony Eagleton, Don McMillan, Jim Pilcher; middle row: Terry Collier, John Naylor, Ken Lemon, Bruce Warwick; front: Leo Clarke, Maria Dallas, Max McCauley. Credit: Jim Pilcher collection
Photo credit: Jim Pilcher collection
Tony And The Initials just after arriving in Picton from Wellington at the beginning of The Maria Dallas Tour January/February 1967. At the far left is roadie/driver Jim Pilcher
Photo credit: Jim Pilcher collection
In the 1960s, the Hutt Valley Youth Club dances at the Taita Community Hall featured many of the top bands of the day. At this dance in November 1961 the acts included Tony and the Initials and the Premiers
Tony and the Initials, early 1960s, Casa Fontana, Wellington. The coffee lounge was downstairs from Victoria Street.
Photo credit: Carey Clements Collection
The French EP
Don Evans, Tony Eagleton, Andy Shackleton, Alan Ruffell
Tony Eagleton signs a publishing contract in 1961 for his second single War Cry. Whilst this sold well in New Zealand there is no indication it was ever a global contender. 
Don Evans, Tony Eagleton, Alan Ruffell, Harry McConnachie
With a UBA van, Tony And The Initials do what countless bands have had to do over the years - change the tyre on a heavily laden vehicle on tour.
Photo credit: Jim Pilcher collection
Good Lovin's Hard To Find
High High The Moon, from the French EP

After the band split Leo Clarke and Barry Grehan moved to Australia. Alan Ruffell went back to the UK. Tony Eagleton worked at Radio New Zealand






Tony Eagleton - vocals, guitar, vibes, harmonica

Harry McConnachie - drums

Alan Ruffell - rhythm guitar

Barry Grehan - rhythm guitar

Don Evans - bass

Walter Neale - piano

Leo Clarke - vocals, rhythm guitar

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