Ronnie Sundin

When a local version of Elvis was needed, Johnny Devlin stepped forward; when the fashion shifted to teen idols, someone a little less confronting was needed. In 1960, the chosen one was Ronnie Sundin, a 16-year-old from Auckland.

Sundin was still at Avondale Technical College and about to sit School Certificate when Viking Records released his debut single in September 1959. In the USA, the original version of ‘Sea of Love’ had yet to reach No.1 in the R&B charts when Sundin recorded it, with ‘Waltzing Matilda’ on the B-side.

Al Paget Sextet at the Shiralee, 1964: Geoff Bolton, Ken Flaherty, Rod Gibson, Ronnie Sundin, Al Patchett
Photo credit: Geoff Bolton Collection
Ronnie Sundin
Ronnie Sundin with Bill Sevesi and his band, circa 1960
Ronnie Sundin with Wellington broadcaster Michael Woolf – Joy magazine, February 1960.
Ronnie Sundin's only longplayer, issued in 1960 by Viking Records. Left to right, Hugo Spemann, Sundin, Rudy Spemann, Bill Sevesi, Don Stacey, Alex Patchett. Bass player Malu Natapu was obscured behind Sundin when his image was enlarged.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
Ronnie Sundin, with his Hofner semi-acoustic guitar, in a photo session likely to have taken place in Wellington in 1960.
Photo credit: Dominion and Evening Post collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, Ref: EP/1960/0475-F. 
Ronnie Sundin signing autographs in Christchurch in 1960. Second from left is Dianne Jacobs, better known to most as Dinah Lee.
Al Paget Sextet at Bayswater, 1963: Jeff Bolton, Ronnie Sundin, Rod Gibson, Val Fisher, unknown, Al Patchett, Trevor Salisbury
Photo credit: Geoff Bolton Collection
The Ronnie Sundin fan club flyer
Ronnie Sundin in the early 1960s. 



While on tour in Christchurch, aged 15, Sundin signed an autograph for a young fan: the promoter's daughter, Diane Jacobs. She would soon be well known as singer Dinah Lee.

‘Sea of Love’ was revived in 1989 for a hit film of that name, starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin. The soundtrack featured Tom Waits singing the song.

Al Paget first played with Sundin when he was 21, and a member of Bill Sevesi’s group the Jesters; he was then called Alex Patchett.

The "Teen Beat" column in Joy magazine hails the Howard Morrison Quartet, Ronnie Sundin, The Keil Isles and Red Hewitt as the successors to Johnny Devlin, late 1959

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