The Avengers Profile

Grant Gillanders
22 Feb 2016

Over the years there have been numerous articles written about Wellington pop group The Avengers. They all dwell on the band as a manufactured pop group (although hand-picked is a more apt description) who were all extremely nice guys, toured the length and breadth of the country, recorded eight singles, five of which became hits, and three albums before breaking up in mid 1969 after a three year career … end of story.

The Avengers story is more complex than it appears on the surface. Their beginnings as a group weren’t in the fertile grounds of schoolboy or neighbourhood friendships like most bands from the era. Instead, a third party, intent on forming the perfect pop group, brought them together. It is also a story of a small group of people whose input at vital times contributed to the group’s eventual success and helped to make up the giant jigsaw that is The Avengers story.

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The Avengers in a Wellington Cemetery
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
The Avengers in Masterton: Dave Brown, Clive Cockburn, Hank Davis and Eddie McDonald
Photo credit: Photo by Ken Alexander
The Avengers on the cover of Third Stream magazine, April 1968
The Avengers: Dave Brown, Hank Davis, Eddie McDonald, and Clive Cockburn
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
The Avengers in Wanganui, 1968
Photo credit: Grant Gillanders collection
The Avengers - Everyone's Gonna Wonder (1967)
The Avengers: Dave Brown, Hank Davis, Eddie McDonald, with Clive Cockburn in front
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
A 1967 HMV promo shot
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
Eddie McDonald
The Avengers, from a 1967 Australasian pop booklet
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Mr. Lee Grant with his 1967 Golden Disc, surrounded by runners-up The Avengers. The black and white image doesn't do justice to Mr. Lee's scarlet tunic. His acceptance was "I owe this award to all who voted for me – it's thanks to you."
Photo credit: Photo by Barry Clothier. Simon Grigg collection
Medallion was the second studio album by The Avengers, released after the band split in September 1969
The Avengers: Hank Davis, Clive Cockburn, Eddie McDonald and Dave Brown
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
The Avengers pose in a Wellington Cemetery
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
An outtake from Sal Criscillo's photoshoot for the Electric Recording album
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
Clive Cockburn with HMV producer Nick Karavias
The Avengers' cat Alexander. A fan club postcard sent out in 1969
Hank Davis
The Avengers outside the HMV building in Wakefield Street, Wellington
The Avengers plug the "Sound Expander"
The Avengers - Love Hate Revenge (1968)
Dave Brown, Clive Cockburn, Eddie McDonald and Hank Davis
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
A 1967 advert for The Avengers in Wainuiomata
The debut album by The Avengers, Electric Recording, produced by Nick Karavias. The cover image was by Sal Criscillo, who took many of the band's publicity shots. It was released in May 1968.
Dave Brown
Clive Cockburn at Wanganui War Memorial Hall, 1967
Photo credit: Photo by Barry Clothier
Chris Malcolm (right) with The Avengers, taken in Wellington in 1967 when Malcolm was working with the band
Hank Davis with his pre-Avengers band, The Epics, in Napier
Photo credit: Hank Davis collection
Clive Cockburn
The Avengers' last lineup: Eddie McDonald, Hank Davis, John Pugh and Clive Cockburn
Photo credit: Photo by Sal Criscillo
The Avengers entertaining at Wellington Hospital
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
The Avengers - Daniel The Postman (1968)
The only Avengers record not released on HMV in New Zealand was the second to last single, Clive Cockburn's Love Is A One Way Ticket, recorded in Melbourne with New Zealander Howard Gable producing.
A Sal Criscillo shot of The Avengers, likely taken at the same shoot used for the cover of their Electric Recording album in 1967
Trivia:

Everyone's Gonna Wonder was covered in 1994 by Dunedin 'supergroup' Pop Art Toasters, whose members included The Chills' Martin Phillipps and The Clean's David Kilgour.

Members:

Dave Brown - vocals, guitar

Clive Cockburn - guitar, organ, vocals

Ian (Hank) Davis - drums, vocals

Eddie McDonald - bass, vocals

Labels:

HMV


Columbia