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From: Auckland, New Zealand

This popular New Zealand outfit, originally known as the Young Ones, formed in 1962 as an instrumental beat combo with members John Williams (lead guitar) who was only 12 years old at the time, Terry Rouse (keyboards, rhythm guitar), Viv McCarthy (bass) and Dennis "Nooky" Stott (drums). They honed their skills playing inner city Auckland halls and clubs, covering popular rock and roll acts of the time like the Shadows and Bill Black's Combo. Heavily influenced by The Beatles, the group eventually added frontman Larry Morris (lead vocals), renamed themselves Larry's Rebels, and secured a residency at one of the most popular local area teen clubs called The Top 20.

During the summer of 1965, the band opened for the Pretty Things, which garnered them further, well-deserved notice on the budding Auckland scene and a management contract with Russell Clark and Benny Levin at Impact Promotions. The group then signed a record contract with the Philips label and issued their debut single ('This Empty Place' b/w 'So Much In Love With You') in the fall of '65, which sold respectably. A follow up 45 ('Long Ago, Far Away' b/w 'Could This Be Love') was then released on Philips in early 1966 before Clark and Levin formed their own independent label christened Impact Records, which the band then moved to. Larry's Rebels finally hit it big in the fall of '66 when their fourth single (a cover of the Who's 'It's Not True') made it into the New Zealand Top 10.

1967 saw the band open for numerous other leading acts when they toured through the Land of the Long White Cloud, including the Yardbirds, Eric Burdon & The Animals, and Paul & Barry Ryan. In the spring of '67, the band scored another big seller with a cover of the Creation's 'Painter Man', which stayed on the New Zealand charts for eight weeks and peaked at the #6 spot. The group then issued their first LP titled A Study In Black during the summer of '67, which contains their third major hit ('Let's Think Of Something') that climbed up to the #4 position on their home country's charts. Throughout 1967 and 1968, Larry's Rebels spent a good portion of their time in Australia where they drew larger audiences and also became very popular. All in all, they were an extremely hard-working, successful band, but the stress and exhaustion finally gave way in the latter half of '68 when Rouse suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be replaced by Mal Logan (keyboards). Morris, who had recently married and was having issues with the band's management and the amount of money he was bringing in, then left the fold in early 1969 and was promptly replaced by Glyn Mason (lead vocals).

With the departure of Morris, the group shortened their moniker to the Rebels and issued the surprise #1 smash 'My Son John' b/w the excellent, hard-driving original 'Passing You By' featured here on TWOS. The success of this record then prompted the release of a second LP titled Madrigal and permanent relocation to Australia in the spring of '69. The band then waited over a full year and well into 1970 before issuing their final single ('Can You Make It On Your Own'), which unfortunately flopped and caused the Rebels to abruptly call it quits.

Artist information sources include: An article by Andrew Schmidt at AudioCulture.

Original LPs/EPs

Madrigal

Original LP/EP Label:

Released: March, 1969

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Songs from this album played on TWOS:

  • Passing You By

    (Original 45 Label: Impact IR-1043, B - March, 1969)