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

Ariel: Yellow Submarine (1997)

Ariel: Yellow Submarine (1997)

Another track from the often hilarious and sometimes worrying Plastic Soul Vol 4 album which is a compilation of mad Beatles covers, many from Russia. Ariel weigh in with two entries, A... > Read more

Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

Nina Simone was a rare one: she was classically trained, a political activist, furiously intolerant and increasingly strange and self-serving as her life rolled on. And that's just the broad... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PAUL WELLER: THE MODFATHER (2010); The ways forward

PAUL WELLER: THE MODFATHER (2010); The ways forward

Some careers get too long to be easily digestible. Pity those doing the Paul McCartney reissue. His solo career in pop-rock – we leave aside his classical projects and The Fireman... > Read more

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

When Oasis, out of Manchester, started to gain real momentum a decade ago one wag wrote to a Britrock magazine and said this was all very well, but they were dull to watch live: just hold a... > Read more