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

Nico: I'll Keep It With Mine (1967)

Nico: I'll Keep It With Mine (1967)

When the statuesque Nico was introduced into Velvet Underground by Andy Warhol, she was fresh from a relationship with Bob Dylan and was keen to record this song he had written. However she... > Read more

The Wonders: That Thing You Do! (1996/1964)

The Wonders: That Thing You Do! (1996/1964)

In his Grammy-grabbing career -- between Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan, You've Got Mail and The Green Mile -- Tom Hanks did a small, cute, mostly inconsequential and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Neville Brothers; Greatest Hits (A&M)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Neville Brothers; Greatest Hits (A&M)

Everybody should have at least one Neville Brothers album at home to conjure up the spirit of Nawlins, but which one? The Treacherous collection from '86 (possibly out of print, do a search,... > Read more

King Leo and the Growling Dogs: Mad Love (King Leo)

King Leo and the Growling Dogs: Mad Love (King Leo)

Ahh yes, the "Dunedin sound", huh? Well here's something out of the south which will further confound preconceptions: King Leo LaDell and his tight band haul into tough urban blues... > Read more