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The flyer for the Premiers final show

















The promotional notes for their final appearance at Kingston City Hall, Victoria, Australia on 29th May, 2004

  “It was 1959 - the year Buddy Holly died - and Stan Azzopardi had just formed the first line-up of a rock'n'roll band which, with one or two hiccups, would last for the next forty year.  The Premiers, featuring Stan on piano accordian, Bobby Cookson on guitar, Joe Gatt on drums and Kenny Merandis on tea-chest bass, had begun. Forty five years later, The Premiers play together for the last time at the Elvis Presley Fan Club Dance in May 2004.

“The band's first gigs were at the Mordialloc Lifesaving Club, where president Hazel Pierce watched over a flock of young rock'n'rollers every Sunday night. The lineup now included Colin Jones and Ken (better known as 'Sam') Semple on saxaphones and Noel Tresider on piano Bobby Cookson had moved 'out front' as vocalist, Stan had abandoned the accordian in favour of the guitar and before long Lee Conway moved on to seek fame as a star of country music, to be replaced on bass by Dave Thompson.

“The band had now developed a growing reputation and secured a regular Saturday night gig at the Malvern Town Hall where Betty McQuade joined them weekly.  The Premiers backed both Betty and Bobby on recored on numerous occasions and in March, 1963 recorded their own 45rpm record on the Astor label - Mary Had a Little Lamb/Song of India, both instrumentals in the style of the The Champs, which made it to No. 40 in the charts.  Appearances at all of Melbourne's top rock venues were now a weekly occurrence and the Premiers added to their credentials through Festival Hall appearances with Johnny O'Keefe, The Delltones and a host of others.

“The legendary Mordialloc gig continued to grow in stature and popularity, the legend further fuelled by now regular appearances in front of the Premiers by a young man named Paul Meaney, since described by Johnny Farnham as "the greatest rock'n'roll voice in Australia”.

“As the 60s drew to a close, it became clear that the days of the rock'n'roll bands like The Premiers were numbered.  In fact Stan Azzopardi had already retired (for the first time), to be replaced by guitarits Paul Chick and in 1967 The Premiers themselves called it quits, only to re-emerge almost immediately as the Paul Mckay Sound with Paul Meaney 'out front'.

“It was not until 1991 that The Premiers would return to Melbourne dancehalls.

“Although for a brief period in the late sixties he was not a part of the band, Stan Azzopardi has always been the heart and sould of The Premiers. Justifiably regarded as the one of the Godfathers of Melbourne rock'n'roll, Stan established many of the benchmarks by which good live rock'n'roll music is judged.  The numerous Melbourne musicians who have been a part of the Premiers attest to Stan's skill and determination, his dedication to achieving the best and his love of rock'n'roll.

“At the same time, there would have been no Premiers without the input of some great musos.  The following have all been members of the Premiers at some time: Guitar - Stan Azzopardi, Paul Chick, Bill Pyman, Peter Litchfield.  Saxaphones - Colin Jones, Ken Semple, Tony Buchanan, Henry Bource, Chris Anderson, Graeme Broomfield, Mick Golden, Steve Williams and Ivan Trower.  Bass - Lee Conway, Dave Thompson, Matt George, Ray Houston.  Drums - Joe Gatt, Tony Azzopardi, Danny Azzopardi, Young Joe, Mal Ronay, Neil Hicks.  Keyboards - Noel Tresider, Andrew King, Greg Azzopardi.  And of course, those great vocalists - Bobby Cookson, Betty McQuade, Dennis Bugat, Paul Meaney, Tony Cacagno, Steve Lawson and Lex Pirotta.

“Although Stan Azzopardi had retired from the music business in about 1966, he soon returned, playing with the Rock'n'Roll Allstars at Jailhouse and then joining his old friends from The Premiers in the Paul McKay Sound.  A varied and active musical career followed and his decision to from a new band in 1991 led to the formation of the new Premiers.  Stan on on guitar and vocals, Ken 'Sam' Semple on saxophones and Andrew King on keyboard and vocals provided a basis around which the band was gradually formed.  The addition of Ray Houston on bass and vocals proved to be an imprtant mileston, as did the arrival of Mal Ronay on drums.  Early efforts to make Bobby Cookson a part of the reformed Premiers were frustrated by Bob's business commitments and the boys searched in vain for the right sixth member.  Finally, Stan and Andrew met Lex Pirotta at a party, heard him sing and decided that, come what may, they had found the sixth Premier.  The rest is history.











2005 Biography

THE NEW SEEKERS, one of Britain's most popular and successful international acts are still thrilling audiences throughout the world with their unique harmonies and catchy songs.

Shortly after their formation in 1969, the New Seekers rocketed to success with such memorable Hits as ... I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing; Look What They've Done to my Song Ma; Beg Steal or Borrow; Never Ending Song of Love; You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me; I Get A Little Sentimental Over You; Pinball Wizard; Circles and Anthem.... to name but a few.

Sales in excess of a staggering 35 million records have reflected The New Seekers popularity in every corner of the globe.  Their live performances have taken them to every major venue in the world, highlighted by a Royal Command Performance for Her Majesty the Queen, a concert at the White House for the President of the United States and representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Due to their massive popularity, The New Seekers hosted their own television series and made several TV Specials.  They have also made countless appearances on every major variety show in the world including, in Britain, the Cliff Richard Series, Morecambe and Wise, Two Ronnies, Mike Yarwood, many recordings of Top of the Pops and a celebration of the BBC's 50 years.  In the USA they were selected for appearances on the Ed Sullivan show, Andy Williams, Johnny Carson, Sonny and Cher and The Merv Griffin show as well as the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

In the late seventies, original group member Paul Layton was joined by Donna Jones and Mick Flinn. Donna joined after a successful solo career including 8 weeks at No. 1 in Australia with The Way You Do It and Mick enjoyed success with the Mixtures who had a No. 1 in 1971 with The Pushbike Song.  In recent years Francine Rees and Mark Hankins have completed the group's current line up.  Francine was successful as part of the vocal duo Sam and Samantha and as a highly regarded session singer and Mark has had many years experience in the music business, writing and performing with many renowned acts.

The New Seekers acclaimed live performances are still thrilling and exciting audiences and demonstrate how they still Like to Teach the World to Sing.


Representation: Nic Culverwell Management




Updated 250107


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