Margaret Urlich

Margaret Urlich, who died from cancer on 22 August 2022 aged 57, was one of the most successful singers New Zealand has ever produced. She emerged on the scene as co-lead singer of Peking Man, an Auckland band that scored a No.1 single in December 1985 with ‘Room That Echoes’. The following year Urlich joined the part-time, but very successful When The Cat’s Away and in mid-1987, the singer announced that she was leaving Peking Man to pursue a solo career. Using Sydney as her base, the singer sold a massive 240,000 units in Australia of her 1989 debut album Safety in Numbers.

When Peking Man and Margaret Urlich signed to CBS Australia, the company wanted to massively increase the sales by the label’s local repertoire, both at home and abroad. When Peking Man recordings arrived on the desks of Australian executives at CBS, they made it clear that, for the Australian market, it was Margaret Urlich that they were interested in, not the band.

Margaret Urlich photographed for the When The Cat's Away Live in Paradise tour, 2001
Photo credit: Photo by Anthony O'Dwyer
Chameleon Dreams, 1992
Margaret Urlich, London, May 1988
Photo credit: Photo by Kerry Brown
Margaret Urlich on Debbie Harwood's 2007 Classic Hits radio series Give It A Girl
Peking Man - Room That Echoes
Margaret Urlich with When The Cat's Away, late 1980s
A Margaret Urlich publicity shot for the Safety In Numbers album
Margaret Urlich - Boy In The Moon (1992)
Margaret Urlich, 1989
Margaret Urlich - Only My Heart Calling (1990)
Margaret Urlich, 1989
An early When The Cat's Away publicity shot: Dianne Swann, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby (front), Margaret Urlich and Annie Crummer.
Photo credit: Paul Ellis
The CBS press release for the 1989 New Zealand Music Awards
Margaret Urlich - Escaping (1989)
Safety in Numbers, 1989. Artwork by Polly Walker and Debbie Watson.
Margaret Urlich - Burnt Sienna (1993)
Margaret Urlich, 1989
When The Cat's Away full length documentary - clip 1
Margaret Urlich at the 1996 New Zealand Music Awards
A late 1980s Margaret Urlich publicity shot
When The Cat's Away: Debbie Harwood, Barbara Griffin, Margaret Urlich, Sharon O'Neill, Kim Willoughby and Annie Crummer, with Noel Crombie behind Sharon and Kim
Margaret Urlich, London, May 1988
Photo credit: Photo by Kerry Brown
When The Cat's Away - Melting Pot
Peking Man - Good Luck To You
Margaret Urlich on the cover of the June 1986 Rip It Up
Margaret Urlich in 1993
Margaret Urlich - Guilty People
Margaret Urlich - Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night) - 1989, NZ version
Margaret Urlich, Rosanna Raymond, Megan Douglas and Margaret's manager Gilbert Egdell, Brighton, May 1988
Photo credit: Photo by Kerry Brown
Second Nature (1999), with a painting by Justin Boroughs. The album, released by Thom Marketing, covered New Zealand classics.
Peking Man: clockwise from lower left - Tim Calder, Pat Urlich, Neville Hall, Perry Marshall, Margaret Urlich, Jay Foulkes and John Fearon
Photo credit: Photo by Regan Cameron
Margaret Urlich in a CBS publicity shot, circa 1989
Margaret Urlich
A 1988 Margaret Urlich publicity shot
Photo credit: Photo by Kerry Brown
Margaret and Pat Urlich in the January/February 1986 Shake! magazine 
A 1988 Margaret Urlich publicity shot, taken in the UK by Kerry Brown
Photo credit: Photo by Kerry Brown
When The Cat's Away full length documentary - clip 2
Margaret and Pat Urlich in the January/February 1986 Shake! magazine
When The Cat's Away
The cover of the promo only Four Songs sampler CD, 1989
Margaret Urlich in 1995

Peter Urlich, former lead singer of Th’ Dudes, is Margaret’s cousin.

Margaret Urlich’s Safety In Numbers achieved Triple Platinum sales in Australia, that is over 210,000 albums sold. Two other New Zealand women have achieved this figure – Jenny Morris with Shiver and Lorde with Pure Heroine.

Margaret Urlich was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2021. 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.


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