Graham Reid | | 2 min read
In extended footage however the moment belongs to a girl who is asked what she likes about Dinah Lee.
“She's a goat, not a sheep,” she says in a wonderfully Australian analogy meaning Lee went her own way and wasn't a follower.
On stage Lee roars through songs like Rock Around the Clock and Reet Petite, dances and really lets rips.
She had the style – Mod clothes, a local variant of Vidal Sassoon cut – was handed songs which suited her abrasive delivery: Don't You Know Yokomo, Reet Petite and of course in mid '64 her biggest hit, Do the Blue Beat -- done and dusted in less than two minutes.
It was probably the first Jamaican blue beat song anyone in New Zealand had heard (and came just months after Millie Small's ska version of My Boy Lollipop).
Dinah Lee (born Diane Jacobs) was a rare star thrust into the spotlight who responded to the attention and always looked like she was having a good time, even though in interviews she mentioned she didn't now get out much to parties and such, and she was having to adapt to being a pop star and celebrity.
She continued to record, toured New Zealand, Australia and in 1965 went to the Sates and the UK appearing on Shindig! and Hullabaloo, crucial television shows for any pop obsessed teenager.
And won praise in the Musical Express for her new single I'll Forgive You Then Forget You.
She appeared on magazine covers, recorded three albums, performed for troops in Vietnam in '67 and . . .
She relocated to Australia where her career continued, in 2016 she released her first single in 37 years – Jordan Luck's song Cathedral Square -- and in 2020 was inducted into the New Zealand hall of Fame.
It was quite a ride for a girl from Christchurch who's started singing in the late Fifties and in 2023 was a celebrated guest on Tami Neilson's tour where she was hailed as still a great performer (at 80!).
This well annotated 30 song collection (with a brief spoken intro and closing with to of her jingles from the Sixties (for ice-cream and Cling hosiery) includes all those big hits and Cathedral Square as well as funny period piece like “John and George and Ringo and Paul” Yeh Yeh We Love 'Em All and He Can't Do The Blue Beat.
This also comes as an expanded three CD set (with extensive liner notes) which probably picks up everything she recorded.
But whichever one you go for, it's always good to have some Dinah Lee around.
She really wasn't a sheep.
Do the Blue Beat