However, dedicated producers such as John Hawkins at Zodiac, Wahanui Wynyard at Astor, Viking’s Ron Dalton and Jimmie Sloggett from James Productions (all in Auckland) helped revolutionise the recording process, inspired in large part by people like Joe Meek, George Martin, Phil Spector, the Motown producers and Shel Tamly. In Wellington the changes were driven by the UK-owned HMV company, whose management underwrote a team of fulltime in-house producers from 1965 onwards and equipped these increasingly skilled men with more and more sophisticated studios, where they created a decade of finely honed pop music which the nation purchased in substantial quantities. Many of their artists became household names as part of a thriving singles-driven pop industry, the equal of which New Zealand has not seen. Indeed, the recordings from the HMV and, later, EMI studios in Wakefield Street and Lower Hutt still stand as some of the perfectly realised recordings ever made in New Zealand.
The first in-house full-time producer at HMV was Howard Gable and he was followed by Peter Dawkins, Alan Galbraith and others. Each HMV (EMI from 1973) producer created records that advanced the art in New Zealand, but it was Galbraith who, from 1974 to 1977, produced the string of singles and albums that represent the company’s pinnacle as a production house, although Peter Dawkins was the most commercially successful.
After a foray at CBS Australia, from the 1980s Galbraith worked mostly in the New Zealand advertising industry. These days he continues to make music – and guitars – for his own pleasure.