Larry gets his Benny – at last
He’s been in the New Zealand music business for 50 years and all of his old mates have won the Benny, so Larry Morris figured it must be his turn soon.
‘‘It’s the best award you can get in entertainment.’’
It is his habit to take anything he wins down to his 93-year-old mother in Putaruru for safe keeping.
After the presentation on October 13 he phoned his parents around midnight to tell them he’d won.
‘‘Mum was really stoked. She said she couldn’t be woken up for a better reason than that.’’
Mr Morris is best known for his band Larry’s Rebels which had 11 consecutive hits in the 1960s – a record at the time.
‘‘We dominated the charts for seven years.’’
He was only 17 years old when he joined the band.
Mr Morris has fond memories of his early childhood in Ponsonby and attending Richmond Rd School.
In his early teens his family shifted many times to follow his father’s work.
‘‘I couldn’t get settled. I’d had enough and so I decided to join the navy at 15.’’
It turned out to be a dreadful career choice.
Young Larry couldn’t get over his chronic seasickness and was discharged after 18 months.
In the meantime his parents had moved back to Auckland and bought a dairy on Jervois Rd. Rather than have him hanging around the shop, Larry’s mother wanted him out and working.
Several regular customers were entertainers and she would tell them about her son’s musical talent.
Eventually she got him an audition with Benny Levin, who was managing the Howard Morrison Quartet.
‘‘I didn’t get the job with Benny but the band that played at the audition was The Rebels and they asked me to join them.
‘‘We used to play on the back of a truck outside The Gluepot because we were too young to get in. Our dads would be drinking inside.’’
Their hit song Let’s Think of Something won the Silver Scroll in 1967.
‘‘I was at the Silver Scrolls the other night to see Lorde get hers. It was the best one I’d ever been to.
‘‘It felt really good to be a New Zealand musician.’’
Mr Morris’ current band Rebellion has been together about 10 months and is getting gigs around New Zealand.
‘‘It’s my bucket list band. I wanted to play with the guys I played with when I was young.
‘‘They were all into it. We’re all in our 60s. It’s exciting.’’
Top award: Larry Morris is this year’s winner of the Benny Award. It is the highest award given by the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand.
Go to aucklandcityharbour news.co.nz to see a video of Larry’s Rebels singing