Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

 |   |  1 min read

Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

Outside of folk songs (eg this droll one), New Zealand has had no great history of name-checking local places in rock music.

But back in 1959 Jack Urlwin of the Christchurch label Peak scribbled down some words and handed them to young singer Peter Lewis and his guitarist Pat Nihonihoni. The scribble didn't have a title but they were words to a song which name-checked Auckland (the Queen City with its then-new harbour bridge), Wellington (the Windy City that looks out on Cook's Strait), Christchurch (The Garden City) and Dunedin in the south.

Lewis and Nihonihoni didn't much rate the thing, but Urlwin was insistent so Nihonihoni, who was band leader of the Trisonic, put them to a driving beat.

They got it down on the second take.

As with Dancing in the Street, this is an inclusive call to people around the country where they are "rocking in the milk bars and rocking in the halls". It linked the separate cities in song . . . although Urlwin did manage to rhyme "Dunedin" and freezin' "

Whatever, it is a great slice of Kiwi rock'n'roll which, as Lewis later noted, succeeded because "good rock and roll is simple and uncomplicated so it reaches everybody".

This reached out to the four main cities . . . but doubtless also called to the quiet rural towns and held out the notion that, in 1960 when this was released, things were really going off in "the big smoke". 

This was one of the great tracks included on the compilation Get a Haircut which was released in 2007 and is an Essential Elsewhere album.

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory check the daily updates From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Bud Shank: Blue Jay Way (1968)

Bud Shank: Blue Jay Way (1968)

The great jazz flute and sax player Bud Shank -- who died in 2009, aged 82 -- had some form in turning his hand to popular songs (that's his flute on the Mamas and Papas' California Dreaming) but... > Read more

Jean Claude Vannier: Les Mouches (1973)

Jean Claude Vannier: Les Mouches (1973)

French writer/arranger and producer Vannier has worked with anyone who counts in his home country (Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, Juliette Greco, jazz pianist Martial Solal etc) as well as Astor... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ELVIS PRESLEY (2007): Merchandising, marketing and maybe some music?

ELVIS PRESLEY (2007): Merchandising, marketing and maybe some music?

So Elvis is back in the building? That’s the impression we must draw on the 30th anniversary of his death with the announcement of plans to expand the visitor’s centre in Memphis. As... > Read more

BLUE NOTE'S BRUCE LUNDVALL INTERVIEWED (2005). Riding high on a Blue Note

BLUE NOTE'S BRUCE LUNDVALL INTERVIEWED (2005). Riding high on a Blue Note

The most powerful man in jazz sits in his office six floors above Fifth Avenue, New York. He's smiling. Business is good. Bruce Lundvall -- who began his career at Columbia Records with a hip... > Read more