Bill and Boyd

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Bill and Boyd were a pop duo consisting of Bill Cate and Boyd Robertson from the Hutt Valley near Wellington. They were school mates at Wellington’s Naenae College.

They started recording together in 1960, and relied heavily on doing covers of overseas artists’ songs before the original versions made it to New Zealand. Their favourites were the Everley Brothers and they did well locally with versions of “Cathy’s Clown” and “Crying in the Rain”.

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Their first year was spent on the Peak label, where they recorded five singles during 1960 and 1961. The most successful was their cover of “Corrina Corrina”. They switched to the Philips label late in 1961. In 1963, the duo moved to Auckland and joined the Peter Posa tour with Max Merritt and the Meteors, Dinah Lee and Lou and Simon.

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In 1964 Bill and Boyd moved to Australia on the strength of their first Australian hit “Chulu Chululu”. It was a bright, sing-along song recorded live at the Rotorua Sound Shell in New Zealand. The talented pair were quick to gain popularity, appearing regularly on TV, particularly on Bandstand, and working clubs around Australia. They left for America early in 1968, touring with the Supremes and Herb Alpert.

On their return to Australia, they established themselves as a top club act. In 1970, they joined Ron Tudor’s newly formed Fable label. Their first release, in July 1970, was a version of “It’s A Small World” which, although a steady seller, didn’t quite make the top 40. They had several releases of singles and albums over the next four years. It wasn’t until 1975 that they had their most success, after recording a song called “Santa Never Made It Into Darwin”. The song documented the events of Cyclone Tracy that devastated the city of Darwin on Christmas eve 1974. The song made it to number 1 on the Australian national charts. Their 1975 album release was “Bill and Boyd”. It was released in two formats, the first from Fable and the second from Axis. The Axis version contains three extra songs, two of which have not been available anywhere else.

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Another single called “Put Another Log On The Fire” followed, and Bill and Boyd were a household name in Australia. After that they took a break from recording and concentrated on touring. In 1978 they went back to America and under the direction of Glen Campbell recorded an album called “Companions”, which was released in February 1979.

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They continued to tour the club circuit in Australia until the late eighties, attracting quite a large following of loyal fans wherever they went. J & B Records have released an album of their all time greatest hits called “Dreamin’ ” and in 2003 we finally get a CD compilation from EMI of all their greatest hits.

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to Bruce Sergent for letting us use this material from his great discographical site New Zealand Music of the 60’s, 70’s and a bit of 80’s.

Last edited: 02.05.18

From AudioCulture

Lower Hutt in the mid-1950s looked like a staid dormitory city for workers who commuted daily to Wellington on the “unit”. The working-class suburb of Naenae was dominated by newly built state houses; on a royal tour, the Queen said the sight was evidence of the country’s “ordered prosperity”. But behind the rows of treeless front lawns and weatherboard houses, music was being made. Early adopters of rock and roll, the Hutt Valley’s teenagers flocked to local halls, where youth clubs organised dances and talent quests so that there was no repetition of the local sexual shenanigans investigated by the 1954 Mazengarb report into juvenile delinquency. From this environment came many musicians who made their name in the 1960s: The Fourmyula, The Simple Image, The Bitter End, vocalist Frankie Stevens. Before these rock groups, an act emerged from this milieu to enjoy a long international career: Bill and Boyd, a teenage duo from Naenae who modelled themselves on the Everly Brothers. Read moreProfile from Audioculture, available under a Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence


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