Counties-Manukau essays

The Clevedonaires: Manukau’s first pop group

Bruce Ringer


In this age of wall-to-wall rap music, spare a thought for Manukau City’s first pop group, the Clevedon-based and aptly-named Clevedonaires. In September 1965 the group seemed on its way to success with its first single due for release, ‘How You Lied’ (flipside: ‘Rooftops and Chimneys’).

Formed in 1962, the Clevedonaires were a family group: Ron Brown on lead guitar, his brother Graham on drums, their sister Gaye on bass guitar, and at first Milton Lane then Rob Aicken on guitar. They started out with a folksy close-harmony sound, but soon turned to a harder rock style.

The Clevedonaires, 22 February 1966.

The Clevedonaires, 22 February 1966. (Photograph courtesy of Cheryl Fowler, Manukau Research Library, MCP: I, 8 no. 14)

For several years the Clevedonaires played to enthusiastic audiences at socials and dances around South Auckland. They had some success on the club scene, backed Sandy Edmonds at the Manurewa Shindig, and appeared on the iconic New Zealand pop show, C’mon. In 1968 they left for Australia and became The Cleves. Three years later they headed for England, where they reinvented themselves as Bitch.

The Clevedonaires and successor bands released a total of ten singles, two EPs, and one album (The Cleves, Infinity, 1971). None were a major commercial success. In 1991 the original Clevedonaires returned to their roots and played a reunion gig in the Maraetai hall.

For more information: see Manukau’s Journey.

Publication record: first published in Connexions, no. 89 December, 2006, p. 4. Revised for publication on the Manukau Libraries website in September 2009.

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