Gray Bartlett Profile

aka Graeme Bartlett, Graham Bartlett
Chris Bourke and Michael Colonna
21 Dec 2017

A business card for Gray Bartlett could describe his work in one word: a player. As a guitarist and promoter he has been a prominent member of the New Zealand music industry for nearly 60 years. ‘La Playa’ is also the name of his biggest hit, a guitar instrumental first released in 1964 by Zodiac that became a perennial seller in Asia.

But that modest description – “player” – only hints at the activities of someone who has worn countless hats in many roles over several decades. Bartlett’s work as a guitarist and promoter have taken him around the world as a performer and a businessman. He has produced many recording projects of his own and with others, helped many New Zealand artists reach a wide audience, and seen him champion the local music industry to the public and politicians. For nine years he put himself in the firing line as an Auckland city councillor, and he has even been a Parliamentary candidate.

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David Hartnell, Lou Clauson - holding a Benny award - and Gray Bartlett
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Gray Bartlett with rock and roll great Roy Orbison at a CBS party in Nashville.
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Clyde Scott and the Senators, from left: Gray Bartlett, Clyde Scott, Peter Common and Bruce King
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Gray Bartlett in Japan, 1967
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Gray Bartlett and Brendan Dugan perform with Rhapsody in the early 1980s
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Gray Bartlett with Tom Jones in the late 1960s
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Variety Artist Club stalwarts Tom Sharplin and David Hartnell present Gray Bartlett with his President's Award, 2017
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The International Gold Disc Show in the late 1960s, not to be confused with The Loxene Golden Disc Awards, featuring Gray Bartlett, Billy Belton, Mike Durney, Lew Pryme, Ray Brooks and Yolande Gibson
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In Japan – Gray Bartlett, Impact, 1967
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Gray Bartlett and Brendan Dugan with Fort Worth radio personality Stan Knowles in the early 1980s
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Gray Bartlett, Jodi Vaughan and Brendan Dugan in 2009
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The Gray Bartlett Band during That’s Country’s middle years. Left to right: Gary Sammons, Wayne Allen, Gray Bartlett, Paddy Long, Murray Wood, Peter Gillette.
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Brendan Dugan, Grand Ole Opry manager Hal Durham, photographer/publicist Dorothy Hamm, Gray Bartlett and George Hamilton IV backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in the early 1980s. 
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Gray Bartlett with his Benny award from the Variety Artists' Club, 2001
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Gray Bartlett plays Apache, Invercargill 2015
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The Gray Bartlett group, 1965. From left: Warren McMillan, Robin Ruakere, Gray Bartlett, Bruce King and Graeme Summers
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Gray Bartlett in the mid-1960s
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Gray Bartlett, right, as one of the Mary Throll Trio, 1964. At left is Ray Brooks.
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The cover for 'The Ballad of Robbie Muldoon' single, released on Family in 1975. 
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Gray and Daphne Walker, 2014.
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Brendan Dugan and Gray Bartlett participate in an impromptu sing at the Nashville ASCAP offices, early 1980s.
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A young Gray Bartlett
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Cast of the TV show The Country Touch, late 1960s. Left to right, Paddy and Chris Lydon, Gray Bartlett, Tex Morton, Big Mike Durney, Val Proctor, Rusty Greaves.
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Billy Connolly with Gray Bartlett 
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Brendan Dugan and Gray Bartlett released 'All Black's Song' in 1976, to mark the team's controversial 1976 tour of South Africa
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Gray Bartlett in 1967
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Brendan Dugan performing on the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, in the early 1980s. Gray Bartlett is to his right. 
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Gray Bartlett, 1974
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Gray Bartlett - a portrait by Mike Durney, who in the 1960s recorded for Impact - and toured with Gray - as Big Mike Durney
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The Guitars Of Graeme Bartlett, 1963. 
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Gentle Annie and the Gray Bartlett Band back up singer Suzanne Prentice (front) on That’s Country, late 1982. Left to right: Murray Wood, Peter Gillette, Paddy Long, Wayne Allen, Gary Sammons, Gray Bartlett, Cath Newhook, Peter Madill, Denny Stanway.
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Gray Bartlett on Dixie Chicken, 1987
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Fort Worth mayor Bob Bolen presents Brendan Dugan and Gray Bartlett with a replica key taken to the moon on a NASA mission. The pair presented the key to the Auckland mayor on their return home. 
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Brendan Dugan, bass guitarist Greg O’Donnell, Jodi Vaughan, Coronation Street actor Kevin Kennedy and Gray Bartlett, 1990s. 
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Gray Bartlett, 1967
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Gray Bartlett, George Hamilton IV and Brendan Dugan backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, in the early 1980s.
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Gray Bartlett live performance
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Gray Bartlett and Brendan Dugan, mid-70s
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Cast, musicians and crew of the first series of Touch Of Country, June 1976. Gray Bartlett is to the left nursing his guitar, the musicians across the front are Gary Sammons (bass), John Clarke (drums), Peter Gillette (keys) and Canadian pedal steel guitarist Ollie Strong. 
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Gary Bartlett - Hands of Fame, Gore, 1994
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Gray Bartlett, Jodi Vaughan and Brendan Dugan in the early 2000s
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Robert Muldoon, then Leader of the Opposition, receiving a delegation from Gray Bartlett and Brendan Dugan. The duo released a single, 'The Ballad of Robbie Muldoon', in 1975
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A 1970s Gray Bartlett publicity shot
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Gray Bartlett during the photo shoot for the Two Shades of Gray album, 1985
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Inaugural NZ Country Music Recording Artists Awards winners, Invercargill, 1980. Back, left to right: Les Thomas, Greg and Richard Harrison (Ovation), Maaki Goodwillie, Nola McCrorie, Cole Wilson and Colin McCrorie (The Tumbleweeds), Gray Bartlett, Eddie Low, Noel Burns, Ian Murdoch. Front, left to right: Max McCauley, Helen Harrison and Neville Tosach (Ovation), Patsy Riggir, Suzanne Prentice, Brian McCauley, Noel Parlane. Photo credit: Max McCauley collection
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Gray Bartlett, left, aged four or five, with his brother Douglas, who is three years older. There were eight children in the Bartlett family
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Four Benny award winners and other friends celebrate Eddie Low's 70th birthday, Cambridge, 2015. From left: Gray Bartlett, Brendan Dugan, Dennis Marsh, Eddie Low, Kim Willoughby, and Tom Sharplin; at right are three of Rusty Greaves's 13 children: Michelle, Kevin and Lex.
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Brendan Dugan, Aly Cook and Gray Bartlett in 2014
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Labels:

Zodiac


Philips


Ode


Festival


Impact


Joe Brown


EMI


La Gloria


Octagon

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