Howard Morrison Profile

Adam Gifford
27 May 2013

When Howard Morrison stood in front of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1981 at a Royal Command Performance in Auckland and sung the hymn ‘Whakaaria Mai’/‘How Great Thou Art’, it was his own greatness that was being confirmed.

The song spent the next month at the top of the NZ Singles Chart and laid the foundation for the latter part of his career as an elder statesman of New Zealand entertainers.

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Pot-Pourri was the second album for Harry M. Miller's La Gloria label, released in 1960 a mere three weeks after the first, marking the beginning of what was the most prolific series of releases by a New Zealand act ever - 28 singles, 8 EPs and 7 albums in 3 years.
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Howard Morrison, 1970s
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Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art, live 1981)
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Billy T James and Sir Howard Morrison read the news
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The Miss New Zealand contestants sing along with Howard, 1965
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
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This 1958 EP by the Howard Morrison Quartet was the very first release by the band. Recorded for Zodiac by Eldred Stebbing, it was quickly followed by four singles Haere Ra E Hine, Deep Purple, Po Kare Kare Ana, and There's Only One Of You. The EP was issued in two different coloured sleeves, this being the first. A second EP, with another shade of green but the same imagery was used a few months later just to confuse.
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1960 tour programme
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In the mid-1970s Howard Morrison shared the stage with Auckland drag act Diamond Lil (Marcus Craig), at Phil Warren's Ace of Clubs cabaret. 
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The original Howard Morrison Quartet: Laurie Morrison, Gerry Merito, Howard Morrison, John Morrison
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Gerry Merito and Howard Morrison
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The Howard Morrison Quartet live during the Miss New Zealand pageant in 1963
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The Howard Morrison Quartette visits Hawke's Bay, August 1960 - and struggles to leave. 
Photo credit: Hawkes Bay Photo News
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Take Ten was a 1967 duet album with John Hore and Howard Morrison, rush recorded by Joe Brown to coincide with a tour.
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The Howard Morrison Story was a 1960 compilation album released by Eldred Stebbing on his Stebbing label made up of the Zodiac singles and EP tracks after the band had left for La Gloria Records
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Māori Songs, the third La Gloria album, from 1962
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Gerry Merito with the Howard Morrison Quartet - interview
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Howard repositioning for a solo career. This was the final original Quartet album, recorded live in 1965, without any imagery of the Quartet.
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The Howard Morrison Quartet's third Zodiac EP, released in 1959. It was recorded in the Morrison family home's living room by Eldred Stebbing.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
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Howard Morrison Quartet, from left: Noel Kingi, Wi Wharekura, Howard Morrison, Gerry Merito
Photo credit: Murray Menzies
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Mind If We Sing? a 1962 album on La Gloria. The Howard Morrison Quartet fell out with Harry Miller early in 1963 and the run of releases stopped.
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Gerry Merito with the Howard Morrison Quartet - Battle Of Waikato (live 1992)
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The most famous of the Howard Morrison Quartet lineups: Wi Wharekura, Gerry Merito, Noel Kingi, Howard Morrison
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Quin Tikis with Howard Morrison and John Hore
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Rim D. Paul Collection at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
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The Breakaways back Howard Morrison on Johnny Cooper's Talent Show, Masterton 1965
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Pictorial Parade No. 103 (1960) featuring the Howard Morrison Quartet
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Toni Williams (in shades) and Howard Morrison during the Showtime Spectacular tour of 1961 with, on the left, road manager Trevor King, and, on the right, Brian Richards
Photo credit: Chris Bourke Collection
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Flyer from the Palmerston North show of the 1963 Howard Morrison Spectaular
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The Howard Morrison Quartet in a likely posed "playback" shot in 1962
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Labels:

La Gloria


Zodiac


Joe Brown


BMG

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Trivia:

Howard Morrison liked to record his songs in front of a live audience and he was most comfortable doing so, hence the fact that much of his catalogue was live. Many of the studio sessions also were recorded in front of a small audience to relax Howard.

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