Fred Dagg Profile

aka John Clarke
Matt Elliott
10 Apr 2017

If you asked a random group of people the trivia question – “Who was born in Palmerston North, had a top-10 single in 1976, a debut album that sold over 100,000 copies and went on to great success in Australia?” – how many would correctly answer John Clarke, aka Fred Dagg?

A beloved comedian in New Zealand long after he chose exile in Melbourne, Clarke was also the country's biggest-selling recording star. He died unexpectedly, of natural causes, on 9 April 2017, while tramping in the Grampian national park in Victoria, Australia. A family member said he died “doing one of the things he loved the most in the world, taking photos of birds in beautiful bushland with his wife and friends.” He was 68. 

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The Gumboot Song
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Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits, "Behind"
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The poster for Fred Dagg's sell-out national tour, 1976. The promoter was Ian Magan. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, Eph-D-Variety-1976-01
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Outside the Ace of Clubs, Cook Street, Auckland, 1976. Diamond Lil and Fred Dagg were briefly a double-act after their success recording 'Gumboots' 
Photo credit: Phil Warren collection
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Fred Dagg's Big Single, a 33rpm EP produced (and co-written) by Alan Galbraith in 1977.
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Fred Dagg aka John Clarke signs his EMI recording contract, with producer Rick White who remembers "some in the committee thought there was no money in comedy albums".
Photo credit: Rick White collection
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Fun Times Here are Not Forgotten: Diamond Lil (Marcus Craig) and John Clarke tread the boards at Phil Warren's Ace of Clubs, Auckland, 1976
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Face To Face with Kim Hill (NZ On Screen)
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We Don't Know How Lucky We Are
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Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits
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Trivia:

'The Gumboot Song' was adapted from the song 'If It Wasnae for Your Wellies' by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.

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