Ken Cooper Profile

aka Alan Cooper
John Dix
19 Mar 2016

The Swamp Dwellers was a Wellington skiffle group whose makeshift line-up survived four years before a name change to The Premiers, one of the capital’s top bands of the early 1960s.

Members included guitarist Neil Harrap, an electrical and radio whiz who adapted his locally manufactured equipment to best replicate overseas sounds, and vocalist Michael Shackleton. However, the band member with the most illustrious career was the bongo player, Ken Cooper.

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Ken Cooper's Platter Rack, May 1966. Ken's brother kept scrapbooks of the club dates and ran the coat-check concessions.
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A newspaper report of Ken Cooper's new Australian office, 1968. Ken Cooper questions much of its accuracy. 
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A Wellington Town Hall dance promoted by Ken Cooper
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Premiers with Teddy Bennett. Ken Cooper is on the right.
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper surrounded by performers at Lucifers on Australia's Gold Coast
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper in the 1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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A Banana Ad the Secrets did in Wellington for "Playdate" magazine when they were managed by Ken Cooper and Phil Warren. Left to Right: Paul Muggleston, Wayne Allen, Gary Thain, Derek Wright.
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Promoters Ken Cooper, Bruce Warwick and Benny Levin, broadcaster Bas Tubert and ad-man John Mears


Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Wellington broadcaster Bas Tubert and Ken Cooper
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Trouble at The Place in 1965! The time in question was 2am.
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The Premiers with Ken Cooper on bongos at the right
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Premiers with Teddy Bennett. Ken Cooper is on the left.
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Premiers at a Wellington dance promoted by Teddy Bennett in the early 1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Place in Wellington's Chews Lane
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Ken Cooper and his partner Ian Dawson in Dawson Cooper Associates Ltd.
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Lew Pryme (right) and broadcaster Pete Sinclair flank Wellington promoter Ken Cooper, c. 1965. 
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Wellington hairdresser to the stars, Peter Tuck, advertising exec John Mears, and Ken Cooper in the mid-1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper's Platter Rack in March 1966
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The Premiers
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper, Michael Shakleton and Peter Hindmarsh with The Premiers
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Chicks kicking up heels with Jim McNaught and Ken Cooper, Wellington, mid-1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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A letter written on behalf of Ken Cooper's organisation, likely by Wendal Hynes, booking Cellophane into shows in Napier and Gisborne in September. It's noted in the letter that the band only plays for two hours and the fee is $200, a good fee for the day.
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The Premieres (sic) at a Wellington dance, May 1961
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Ken Cooper in the 1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Promoter Ken Cooper and Des Britten with Max Merritt & The Meteors in Wellington
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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A signed picture of Roger Whittaker given to Ken Cooper
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken and Liz Cooper with Roger and Natalie Whittaker
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper on his bongos in the early 1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Premiers (left to right): Alan (unknown surname - a temporary drummer), Peter Hindmarsh, Michael Shackleton, Neil Harrap and Ken Cooper
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Ken Cooper's press release for the new The Avengers
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Gossip column praise for Ken Cooper in 1968
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Sports Hall in Nelson where Ken Cooper ran summer holiday dances in the 1960s
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Promoter Ken Cooper and Des Britten with Max Merritt & The Meteors in Wellington
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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Teddy Bennett with The Premiers: Ken Cooper, Bennett and Neil Harrap
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Premiers
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
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The Place, June 1966
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An August public notice that Ken Cooper has replaced Colin Misseldine as Cellophane's manager. Misseldine, who was with the band from inception, and Cooper had jointly managed the band from June. However by November Misseldine was once again involved in management with Cooper.
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Ken Cooper in the local Wellington press, 1968
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