Gerry Merito Profile

Chris Bourke
16 Dec 2013

The phenomenal success of the Howard Morrison Quartet would have been unthinkable without the contribution of Gerry Merito.

He was a natural showman, with a sharp ear for the perfect harmony, a guitar strum that was the Howard Morrison Quartet’s only accompaniment in their early days, was quick-witted with original jokes, and had an easy style that made everyone comfortable. He wrote most of the lyrics of the parodies that were their biggest hits, and lifted the group from being a covers act in cabarets. He was also generous and gentle, big-hearted and humble; the perfect foil for the Quartet’s handsome, confident frontman.

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The smash hit. This is the original pressing, later copies had a white label
Gerry in 1966
The Howard Morrison Quartet performing for the tuberculosis patients in Ward 6 at Gisborne's Cook Hospital, where Gerry Merito had spent four years as a child.  
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News, 14 July 1960
The Howard Morrison Quartet - Noel Kingi, Wi Wharekura, Gerry Merito, Howard Morrison
Photo credit: Viking Records
Gerry Merito and Howard Morrison
The Simple Image and Gerry Merito in Gisborne in January 1968 for the Miss Gisborne show
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
In Gisborne to compere the Mrs Gisborne contest in January 1968. With him are, from left, Eleanor Davis and Vicky and Dicky. 
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
Gerry Merito, later with the Howard Morrison Quartet, is third from left in the middle row of this 1955 team photo
As a child, Gerry Merito spent four years in Cook Hospital, Gisborne, with tuberculosis. In 1960 he returned as part of the Howard Morrison Quartet and performed for the patients and staff. From left, Noel Kingi, Howard Morrison, Gerry Merito, Wi Wharekura. During their Gisborne visit the Quartet filled the Opera House four times. 
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
Wi Wharekura, Gerry Merito, Noel Kingi, Howard Morrison
The Howard Morrison Quartet's 1960 album Pot-Pourri, their third album of the year and their second for Harry Miller's La Gloria label.
Flyer from the Palmerston North show of the 1963 Howard Morrison Spectaular
The 1966 Impact tour dates and lineup. Package tours were a big feature of the 1960s and Gerry Merito had already toured with quite a number. Benny Levin was an old hand at these big shows by the time he and Russell Clark launched their Impact label, so it made perfect sense to send out all the bands on the label together.
Front cover of the 1966 Impact Records tour programme
Gerry Merito, 1968
Photo credit: Gordon Wong collection
The 1966 Gerry Merito album I Must Have Been A Beautiful (Baby) Spaceman. His only solo album, it was recorded live by Mike Perjanik and released on Benny Levin and Russell Clark's Impact label.