Corben Simpson Profile

Keith Newman
13 May 2013

Radio programmers and the record buying public hardly had time to absorb Corben Simpson’s early solo recordings before they were overshadowed by the BLERTA phenomenon, including the instantly popular New Zealand anthem, ‘Dance All Around the World’.

The lanky multi-instrumentalist rode to fame at the dawn of the 1970s, winning the 1971 APRA Silver Scroll Award for his emotional ballad, ‘Have You Heard A Man Cry’, and while fronting BLERTA released three albums in quick succession; the first with the Littlejohn band then two solo LPs.

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The BLERTA bus
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
Corben Simpson's third and final single for Strange. It would be included on his Harvest album in 1973.
Corben Simpson and his wife Barbara at the 1971 APRA Silver Scrolls in Palmerston North
Corben Simpson in the late 1960s
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
Corben Simpson, APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2 October 2019, Spark Arena, Auckland.
Photo credit: Topic Images / James Ensing-Trussell
Corben Simpson in the mid-1970s
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
BLERTA - Dance All Around The World
Corben Simpson's 1973 album Get Up With The Sun
Corben Simpson - Have You Heard A Man Cry
Corben Simpson, APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2 October 2019, Spark Arena, Auckland.
Photo credit: Topic Images / James Ensing-Trussell
Corben Simpson, APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2 October 2019, Spark Arena, Auckland.
Photo credit: Topic Images / James Ensing-Trussell
Prince Charles meets Max Cryer, Miss New Zealand (Carol Robinson), Corben Simpson and Bunny Walters at Superpop 70 in Auckland
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
Arkastra in the All Star Summer Rock Concert at Wellington's Opera House, alongside Corben Simpson, Desna Sisarich, Mammal, Tamburlaine and Sharon O'Neill, 1 October 1972. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
The 1971 Corben Simpson album released on the Strange label, with Dick Frizzell artwork
Corben Simpson and Mahia Blackmore
Photo credit: Photo by Keith Newman
Corben Simpson c.1968
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
BLERTA - Freedom St Marys
Corben Simpson rehearsing in 2006 for the BLERTA reunion
Photo credit: Photo by Keith Newman. Corben Simpson Collection
Corben Simpson with Nathan Haines, Jonathan Crayford - Dance All Around the World - APRA Silver Scroll Awards, 2 October 2019
Corben Simpson entertains in the 1960s in Wellington
Corben Simpson, APRA Silver Scroll Awards, 2 October 2019, Spark Arena, Auckland.
Photo credit: Topic Images / James Ensing-Trussell
BLERTA kids show at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth on the first North Island tour, 1972. Corben Simpson (vocals), Bruno Lawrence (drums), Alan Moon (hammond organ), Beaver vocals and Chris Seresin keyboards.
Photo credit: Photo by Helen Whiteford
Corben Simpson, APRA Silver Scroll Awards, 2 October 2019, Spark Arena, Auckland.
Photo credit: Topic Images / James Ensing-Trussell
Corben Simpson with The Dizzy Feelings, 1967 or 1967. The drummer was Paul Gwillim.
Photo credit: Paul Gwillim collection
The BLERTA family
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
Labels:

Harvest


Strange Music


Ode

Mystery Lady
Trivia:

Simpson’s first band at age 15 was called The Plague. His second was Sons & Lovers.

Jose Feliciano took Have You Heard A Man Cry back to the States with the intention of recording it, but it was never released.

In 1970 Simpson wowed the audience at a Max Cryer-organised Royal Command Performance for Prince Charles and Princess Anne.