Peter Dawkins

Full Name:   Peter William Dawkins
Born:   November 27th, 1946     Died:   July 3rd, 2014
Hometown:   Timaru     Music Background:   Musician and Record Producer extraordinaire
Instruments Played:   Drums, Bass and Backing Vocals
Career Began:   1963-65 in Timaru
Groups:   The Falcons, The Strangers, Mee And The Others
Tours:   UK (and Europe) with Mee And The Others
Record Production Career Began:   Wellington 1969
Major Successes:   Shane (Saint Paul), Formyula (Nature), Craig Scott (Starcrossed Lovers, Hog Snort Rupert (Pretty Girl), BLERTA (Dance All Around The World)
Major Move:   To Australia in 1976 to produce Dragon, MiSex and Crowded House
TV Program:   The Music Man for "Sunday" 2006
Awards:   Countdown Award 1980

Peter Dawkins ...

Born in Timaru, New Zealand, Peter Dawkins started in the music business as a drummer in his teens.   He toured Europe in the mid-60s with his rock trio, The New Nadir.  In London they even jammed at 'The Speakeasy' with Jimi Hendrix, but never recorded before parting ways.  Guitarist Ed Carter went to California to play for the Beach Boys, bassist Gary Thain joined the Keef Hartley Band, and then Uriah Heep before his overdose in 1975.  In the late 1960s Dawkins returned home and started his producing career with HMV Records, the NZ branch of EMI, where he produced a large number of recordings, including seven number one pop hits and the iconic "Nature" by The Fourmyula.  He moved to Australia ca. 1972 and became a house producer for EMI Australia.  He succeeded fellow NZ expatriate Howard Gable as the producer of leading Australian progressive rock band Spectrum, for whom he produced the albums Warts Up Your Nose (1972, released under the pseudonym 'Indelible Murtceps'), Testimonial (1973) and the valedictory live album Terminal Buzz.  Around 1972/1973 he also produced early singles for John Farnham (then known as Johnny Farnham) including "Don't You Know It's Magic" and "Rock Me Baby".  In the mid-seventies Dawkins produced a number of recordings by Spectrum's successor Ariel, including their acclaimed albums A Strange Fantastic Dream (1973) and Rock'n'Roll Scars (1974), which was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London.  During this period Dawkins also created, co-wrote, and produced The Star Suite (EMI, 1973), a concept album based on astrological themes, released under the name 'Patch' and featuring members of Ariel and Tamam Shud and leading Australian session musicians.

New Nadir
Liverpool University 1969
Peter Dawkins
The Producer
New Nadir
The New Nadir circa 1967
Peter Dawkins
... for Pete's Sake benefit

In 1975 he moved briefly to Festival Records, then on to CBS Records where he produced a string of successful recordings, including hits for the expatriate New Zealand rock group Dragon and Melbourne band Australian Crawl.  During this period, he also produced several albums and hit singles by noted singer-songwriter Ross Ryan; Mi-Sex; Matt Finish's cult album Short Note; Pseudo Echo; the internationally successful album-oriented rock group Air Supply; Slim Dusty; Russell Morris; and Billy Thorpe, amongst many others (see discography below).  Dawkins' productions for Dragon include the hit singles "This Time", "Are You Old Enough?" and "April Sun in Cuba" and the LP Oh Zambezi and led to a move to Los Angeles for a year in 1976.  For Australian Crawl, Dawkins produced their hugely successful 1981 LP Sirocco, which went to #1 in Australia and earned four platinum records. Around time he concurrently ran his first label, Giant Records, which signed Matt Finish. He went on to be General Manager of EMI Australia in the mid-1980s.  In 1986 he was appointed General Manager of J. Albert & Son music publishers, running their London office. The death of CEO Ted Albert precipitated Dawkins' return to Australia and another change of employment.  In 1990 he opened a recording studio in Balmain, Sydney - Giant Studios, and started his second label (through BMG) called Nova. The earlier Giant name was bought by Irving Azoff, who was starting a label in the United States with the same name.

The development of Parkinson's disease meant that he had to gradually cease work over the next few years, with the shut-down of the studio in the mid-90s.  In 2005 he was able to afford further medical treatment after extensive fund-raising by his friends in the music industry.  As part of this effort, in 2006, Sony/BMG issued a compilation album of Dawkins' recordings - For Pete's Sake, which included a new recording of the Matt Finish song "Understand", written by Dawkins' son Paul and the late Matt Finish singer/songwriter Matt Moffitt, and sung by the Little River Band's Glenn Shorrock. It was produced at Sony Studios in Sydney and mixed by noted engineer Richard Lush. The CD includes liner notes by historian Glenn A. Baker.