Max Merritt Profile

aka Max Merritt and The Meteors
John Dix
Published: 10 Aug 2013
Updated: 22 Oct 2020

To most New Zealanders, Max Merritt – who died in September 2020, aged 79 – is best known for 'Slipping Away', a Kiwi anthem from the mid-1970s. But his career stretches all the way back to the very beginning of rock and roll in New Zealand.

In 1975 Max Merritt and The Meteors were struggling in London and playing the same venues as the then-emerging punk bands. They’d been signed to the fledgling Arista label but the A Little Easier album met with little success. The band had been largely forgotten in Australia and New Zealand when a second single, 'Slipping Away', was released off the album, which would give Max Merritt the biggest hit of his career, 16 years after his first record.

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Max in Christchurch, late 1950s
Max studies his fan mail
Max Merritt And The Meteors - Memphis Special (1971)
Max Merritt and The Meteors in Australia, mid-1960s
Max Merritt and The Meteors - Friary Meux
The Meteors backing Lyn Barnett, venue unknown, 1964: Billy Kristian, Max Merritt and Pete Williams with Jimmy Hill out of frame
Christchurch crowds getting down to Max Merritt and The Meteors, 1959
Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe with Max Merritt, early 1959
Max Merritt and The Meteors c. 1964. From left: Jimmy Dick, Peter Williams, Mike Angland, Max Merritt. 
Max Merritt and The Meteors' 1960 album C'mon Let's Go. Issued by HMV, it was recorded at Christchurch's 3YA radio studio.
Early Max Merritt And The Meteors, circa 1957, with Peter Ward, later of Ray Columbus and The Invaders, on drums
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Max Merritt and The Meteors, Adelaide, 1969. L to R: Bob Bertles, Stewart Speer, Max Merritt, Yuk Harrison
Viking Records advertisment, 1964
1960, l to r: Ian Glass, Rod Gibson, Bernie Jones, Max Merritt, and Billy Karaitiana
Max Merritt with his much loved Jaguar XK150, 1964
Max with fans and manager Trevor King, Christchurch
Heatwave
Max greeting fans, Christchurch, late 1950s
The sheet music for Slipping Away
Max Merritt, the Meteors, and friends at the Shiralee nightclub, Auckland, 11 May 1964. The musicians are, from left: Max Merritt, Johnny Dick, Mike Angland, Peter Williams. At left is Max's girlfriend Jacky Holme, later a top fashion model in Australia. 
Photo credit: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-W0238-03
Meteors bass player Billy Karaitiana (left) with Max Merritt, 1958.
Photo credit: Billy Karaitiana collection
Max Merritt and The Christchurch Teenagers Club (promoter Trevor King on the left) welcome Tommy Sands, 1959
Eloise (Hang On In There)
Max with his 'Get A Haircut' 45 from 1959
Max Merritt, 1973
Max Merritt & The Meteors disembark in Wellington, December 1962. The crossing from Australia was rough, causing Billy Kristian (far right) to throw up through the night. From left are: unidentified, Peter Williams, Peter Sowdon, Max Merritt, promoter Ken Cooper, DJ Des Britten, Peter Williams's brother Barry, and Billy Kristian. 
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
Max in the late 1950s
Max Merritt and the Meteors at an unidentified Auckland restaurant, 11 May 1964. Max is at the far left; beside him is his girlfriend, Jacky Holme.
Photo credit: Rykenberg, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-W0238-09
Wendy Saddington and Max Merritt, with Barrie McAskill and Billy Thorpe to the right, Ourimbah Festival, 1970
So Long Baby
Max Merritt and The Meteors' 1965 album
Zip-A-De Doo-Dah
Max Merritt, Carlaw Park, Auckland 1990
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Slipping Away (live)
Promoter Ken Cooper and Des Britten with Max Merritt & The Meteors in Wellington
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
Max Merritt And The Meteors at The Christchurch Teenagers Club in Carlyle Street.
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Stewie Speer at the Thumpn'Tum, Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
1966
Max Merritt with Yuk Harrison at left, Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
Max Merritt & the Meteors UK interview from GTK, 23 Oct 1970
Max Merritt and The Meteors, 1958
Yuk Harrison at the Thumpn'Tum, Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
Christchurch, late 1970s
Max Merritt and The Meteors at The Christchurch Teenagers Club, 1958
1959 poster
Max Merritt And The Meteors at the 1972 Sunbury Pop Festival, Victoria
1960 Christchurch show programme
Max Merritt and The Meteors in the early 1970s in London, with the late Stewie Speer on the left. This was the band that recorded Slippin' Away.
Max Merritt in Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
Max Merritt performing Slipping Away and Western Union Man (soundcheck for 1988 Melbourne Music Festival)
Max Merritt in Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
1959 publicity shot
Max Merritt And The Meteors in a 1964 publicity shot: Max Merritt, Peter Williams, Mike Angland and Johnny Dick
1950s publicity shot
Max Merritt And The Meteors with Lyn Barnett, probably in 1963 in Auckland's Domain.
Max Merritt And The Meteors in the studio in the late 1960s with Wendy Saddington
Max Merritt and The Meteors 1960 -  l to r: Ian Glass, Rod Gibson, Bernie Jones, Max Merritt, Billy Karaitiana
Max Merritt at the drum kit, Melbourne.
Photo credit: John Newhill
Max Merritt was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame | Te Whare Taonga Puoro o Aotearoa in 2020. The Hall of Fame is an initiative of Recorded Music NZ and the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), whose support of AudioCulture enables the site to stream music content.

Labels:

HMV


Viking


Parlophone


RCA


Arista