And then without explanation or warning she was gone, leaving behind one of the decade's celebrated pop-garage anthems, 'Daylight Saving Time', and a thousand questions as to her whereabouts.
Rosalie Edmondson arrived in New Zealand from Liverpool with her parents as a 15 year-old schoolgirl in early 1964. Fashion conscious Rosalie stood out in a then conservative New Zealand – she had been a regular Cavern Club dweller and knew first hand about The Beatles, she also had a certain je ne sais quoi that set her apart from the average NZ teenager of the time.
Three months after her arrival The Beatles began a tour of New Zealand. She went to their Auckland show and during an unexpected lull in the frenzied commotion she yelled out “UP THE POOL!!” Paul McCartney heard her and announced, “We’ve got a scouse in the audience luds.” The next day her photo appeared in the NZ Herald – showing her leaping into the air in jubilation.
After finishing school at the end of 1964 Rosalie took up a job as a dental assistant in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore.
Shortly afterwards, one afternoon, patrons at local nightclub Delmonico were invited to sing on stage with the band. Rosalie was there and jumped up and belted out ‘La Bamba’.
John Peal, the manager of The Delmonico was impressed and became her manager. Peal invited Eldred Stebbing from Zodiac Records and TV producer Peter Webb to one of her first gigs at The Delmonico. They were both impressed and Peter signed her for the new TV series New Faces while Eldred signed her to a two-year record contract.
Eldred and Rosalie decided to change her name to Sandy because of her long blonde hair. Her first single ‘Oh No Not My Baby’/‘I Don’t Understand’ was released in late 1965.
More TV work followed including the children’s show Ho Heave Ho but the pace really began to pick up in November 1965 when Phil Warren replaced Peal as her manager.
Warren had Sandy promoting everything from apples, hairspray, clothes and hats plus he secured a support slot for her on The Rolling Stones/Searchers tour of New Zealand during February 1966.
In early 1966 Warren lined up TV and cabaret work in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Hawaii followed by five weeks in Sydney that included 27 television appearances.
Back in New Zealand Sandy appeared in the pilot episode of C’mon during November 1966 and that led to the offer of a permanent residency on the show.
SANDY’S SELF-TITLED FIRST ALBUM WAS RELEASED IN EARLY 1967 AND RECEIVED EXCELLENT REVIEWS.
Sandy’s fifth Zodiac single ‘I Love Onions’ was released in late 1966 and became her biggest hit to date. It was her last recording for Zodiac Records after Warren decided to start a new production company with Jimmie Sloggett, James Productions, and distribute its product, including Sandy, through Festival Records.
Sandy’s self-titled first album was released in early 1967 and received excellent reviews. It was also the first album to be released in stereo by a local artist.
After her C’mon commitments finished in May 1967, Sandy flew out for a month of television and club engagements in Hawaii, Tokyo and Hong Kong. A tour of duty entertaining troops in Vietnam was also pencilled in but was cancelled at the last minute.
Sandy returned home to co-headline a month-long C’mon nationwide tour with The Underdogs, Mr. Lee Grant, The Gremlins, The Chicks and Sonny Day.
In the meantime, her next single ‘Daylight Saving Time’/‘The Power of Love’ had been released and been chosen as a finalist in the 1967 Loxene Gold Disc Awards. This meant another nationwide four-week package tour as part of The Loxene Gold Disc Tour (her third national tour in nine months).
With 1967 coming to an end it was time to start work on her second album, which was released in early 1968. ‘When You Walk In The Room’/‘One Day Like Today’ was lifted from the album as her next and last single.
Sandy was starting to become disillusioned with the very heavy workload, plus having little or no say in the songs that she was recording. “I wanted to do a lot more soul and R&B tracks but most of my suggestions fell on deaf ears,” she explained.
Sandy spent most of the first half of 1968 in Sydney and returned home in June to star in her own TV show The Four Faces Of Sandy.
Keith Potger of The Seekers asked Sandy if she would like to audition for the departing Judith Durham, which Sandy declined.
After a second hospital stay in 18 months from exhaustion Sandy was offered a $38,000 record contract with RCA that included a promise of work in London from Nat Kipner, who was working with John Rowles at the time.
However, despite signing it in a flurry of publicity, nothing much came of the London offer and instead Sandy spent the following six months performing with various groups. “I was playing with a group called Climax in Sydney and just decided one day that I would love to take time out and travel a bit.”
And just like that, after years of hard work and several spells in hospital, Sandy closed the door on her entertainment career and spent the next eight years travelling through Asia and India.
Over the ensuing years there were all sorts of speculative conspiracy theories about Sandy Edmonds – it seemed to many that she had simply disappeared into thin air.
And in a way she had. After her travels, by which time people had more or less stopped looking for her (there would be another burst of interest in the 1990s), Rosalie Edmondson settled in Australia, and returned to her first love, fashion.
In the the ensuing years she has run several of her own fashion businesses in Melbourne, and in 2013 continues to do so in a low-key way.
In 2005 EMI released the compilation CD The Sound of Sandy.
Sandy Edmonds died peacefully on 19 December 2022, after a short illness. In a thorough interview she gave Graham Reid for his Elsewhere site at the release of The Sound of Sandy, she said, with a laugh, “My whole life has been one big buzz ball.”
Sandy Edmonds made a short-lived comeback in 1980 in Melbourne as The Sandy Edmonds Band
Sandy's James Productions releases were produced by Jimmie Sloggett and feature Billy Kristian, Bruce King, Murray Tanner, Gray Bartlett and Mike Walker as the band.