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Wired for Sound: The Stebbing History of New Zealand Music by Grant Gillanders & Robyn Welsh

Wired for Sound is an impressive hardback that follows the story behind Eldred Stebbing and the legacy he created with the Stebbing recording studio. An enduring Kiwi success story, the book goes from the war years of 1939 to 1945, through the 1950s and optimism in new ventures, through the 60s and 70s to the modern day. Armed with a hunger to succeed, Eldred Stebbing recorded some of New Zealand’s most famous artists, first in the basement of his family home, and later in the purpose-built studio in Herne Bay, Auckland, which is still in operation today.


This is a richly illustrated book that takes the reader from vinyl and audio cassette through to CDs and digital technology. It’s full of stories and interviews from many of the greats who recorded there. With a foreword by Ray Colombus, there are many well-known people in this book: Hello Sailor, Th’ Dudes, Patsy Riggir, Bunny Walters, Dragon, Split Enz, Human Instinct and John Rowles, are just some of the musicians featured. I particularly enjoyed the chapter with Murray Grindlay, ‘The Jingle Writer’ – his stories capturing an iconic time working with the Stebbing studio.


The authors have done a superb job researching this book, and it’s written in a very engaging way, with the voices of people they have interviewed shining through. Wired for Sound is recommended to anyone with an interest in New Zealand music and history.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Published by Bateman

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