Bob Paris Profile

Chris Bourke
9 May 2013

New Zealand’s first rock and roll guitar hero began as a Hawaiian-style steel guitarist. Bob Paris was just 11 years old when he started learning the steel guitar while growing up in the New Lynn area of West Auckland.

He played an acoustic lap steel, learning from his father, and then from the veteran stringed-instrument teacher Walter Smith in the city. Bob was interested in the steel guitar music that was then in vogue, admiring overseas stars such as Sol Ho'opi'i and locals such as Bill Sevesi and Barry Slot.

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"The Bob Paris Story" as told in hepcat: Joy, 16 February 1959
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Harry M Miller presents Showtime Spectacular, an album featuring the Howard Morrison Quartet, Antoni Williams, Bob Paris and more, released on his La Gloria label, 1964. The album was not a live recording of the concerts, but a compilation of singles already released.
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The 1958 Bob Paris Combo EP on Zodiac
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
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One of the last photos of Bob Paris (far right) taken shortly before his death in 1994, with Bill Fairs and trumpeter Peter Cross.
Photo credit: Bill Fairs collection
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The Bob Paris Band in the late 1950s: Mick Dawson, Bob Paris, Brian Smith, Keith Graham and Tony Hopkins
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Bob Paris' first band, 1956. From left Keith McMillan, Gene Blazer, Bill Fairs and Bob Paris on slide guitar.
Photo credit: Bill Fairs collection
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Bob Paris in Gisborne
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
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Bob Paris Band promo shot from 1972-73. From left: Dave Moan, Bill Fairs, Bob Paris, Ian McIntyre.
Photo credit: Bill Fairs collection
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Bob Paris Band, Onehunga 1959. L to R: Bill Fairs, Brian Smith, Desna, Keith McMillan (behind), Bob Paris, Gene Blazer, Dave MacRae
Photo credit: Brian Smith Collection
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Bob Paris in his element, Showtime Spectacular tour, 1961
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Bob Paris Band promo shot from 1972-73. Taken by Paris' father. From left: Moan, Paris, Bill Fairs and McIntyre.
Photo credit: Bill Fairs collection
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The Bob Paris Band in the late 1950s: Brian Smith, Bob Paris, Mick Dawson, Keith Graham, Tony Hopkins.
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The Auckland record industry out in force at the opening of The Starlite Centre in Pitt Street in November 1957. L to r: Phil Warren (Philip Warren Ltd./Prestige), HMV's Alan Siddall, G.A. Wooller/Pye's Fred Noad and Phil Warren's assistant, guitarist Bob Paris.
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The Bob Paris Band business card, 1972-73.
Photo credit: Bill Fairs collection
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Labels:

Zodiac


La Gloria

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Trivia:

Bob Paris worked for 18 months in the late 1950s as an assistant to Phil Warren, helping run his Prestige label.