Formed in the early 1970s by the four Kaukau brothers, Gavin, Mervyn, Eru and Kevin, the band took off in 1976 when it added singer Karl Gordon and set up a base in Auckland.
They toured New Zealand extensively, including a support slot for the Bay City Rollers in 1976. Live they presented a heavier sound than their radio-friendly singles and album, with lead guitarist Kevin doing his best Jimi Hendrix impressions. A six-minute version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ on the album sticks very closely to the Hendrix script.
Their first single on manager Benny Levin’s Impact label, ‘Come Together’ made little impact. But the second, ‘I Need Your Love’, was Single of the Year in 1978 at the NZ Music Awards. RipItUp’s Ken Williams described it as having an “ethereal, even fragile drone” that jumped off the radio.
The band switched to Eldred Stebbing’s Key label for the eponymous album, recorded at Stebbing Studios with in-house producer Rob Aickin at the desk.
It included a new single ‘Love Is Everything’. ‘Hollywood Dreams’ followed, then ‘Live My Life’ before the band split. Karl Gordon struck out solo in 1980 with ‘I Wanna Do It With You’ (but not the Kaukau brothers, obviously), backed with ‘I’ve Fallen In Love’. The solo career was shortlived with In Touch magazine quoting Gordon in 1981 saying "I've got my old job back, doing stereos and TVs". He was still not 20.
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Karl Gordon - vocals
Kevin Kaukau - guitar
Gavin Kaukau - rhythm guitar
Eru Kaukau - bass
Mervin Kaukau - drums
Golden Harvest supported Bob Marley at Western Springs in 1979, playing to their biggest ever crowd. They went down a storm on that important day.