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Mark Williams

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Full Name:  Mark Williams
Born:  August 21st, 1954
Groups:  Coast to Coast Band, The Face
Musical Background:  Singing Contests at age 13
Instruments Played:  Vocals, Guitar
REcord Labels:  EMI, Zodiac, CBS
Groups:  Dragon
Awards:  Industed into the NZ Music Hall Of Fame 2010
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Website:  www.audioculture.co.nz/people/mark-williams

  Award presented 2010

Mark Williams was the face of NZ pop in the late 1970s with the runaway success of two No.1 singles Yesterday Was Just The Beginning of My Life (1975) and It Doesn't Matter Anymore (1977).  These radio-friendly singles came from three albums produced by Lower Hutt-based HMV in-house producer Alan Galbraith - debut album Mark Williams (1975), Sweet Trials (1976) and Taking It All In Stride (1977).  They charted No.2, No.14 and No.14 respectively.  Tracks from these pop-soul albums are now viewed as rare groove classics by soul music fans.

 

The Face circa 1972


The Face - Ace Of Clubs


The Face - Ace Of Clubs


Coast to Coast Band - 1976

 

By 1977, after two massive No.1 New Zealand hits, and a high profile thanks to touring and television, Mark Williams had outgrown the local market and had to think about being a musician, he said, 40 years later.  To do that he had to go to Australia - and learn.  His first trip across the Tasman was in 1976 when Lew Pryme was his manager, and in 2017 Williams recalled that he lasted all of two weeks in Sydney and went "I hate this place. If I ever come back here to live I won't come to Sydney.", so he went to Melbourne.  That was in September 1977.  He stayed here about a year just to acclimatise and it is the perfect city to acclimatise to Australia, then he was ready to handle Sydney.  The groups on the rise when he arrived included The Sports.  Williams went to see them and couldn't understand where the feel had gone to.  It was all wrong and he had to grow up and start again - right from square one.  While still the biggest star in New Zealand, Williams started again in Australia in 1978.  It took him 10 years before he managed to get a song into the charts.

 

!st Album - 1975


2nd Album - 1976


3rd Album - 1977


4th Album - 1981

 

After Marc Hunter's death in July 1998, it would be almost a decade before Todd Hunter would play any Dragon material.  "It was never going to happen again.  It was like some lurid airport novel that I'd read once," he says.  Instead, he turned his attention to composing soundtracks for Australian television, but in 2006, he started rehearsing a new Dragon line-up, featuring former New Zealand pop star Mark Williams in Marc Hunter's old role.  "You get in a room, you start playing the songs ... I could actually feel the goddamn Dragon lift itself out of the primeval mud."  Taking to the road with "a bunch of songs that just about play themselves,"  Hunter realised that "they are not our songs anymore.  The songs belong to everyone."  Yet in playing the old hits - the audience taking over much of the singing - the old Dragon seemed to all but become flesh once more.

 

Dragon - Kaitaia, Northland 2010


Dragon 2018


40 Years of Dragon