Born Terry Fidow in Samoa, he moved to New Zealand at age 8, growing up in Ponsonby, where he spent time with the King Cobras gang. Fidow spent his fiery early 1960s years as a jobbing vocalist in Auckland (including a period fronting Freddie Keil's band) and in the mid-1960s, fronting The Nitebeats.
He stepped out first in front of Auckland’s rockin’ rollin’ Rebeltones before moving to Wellington for a residency at Club Cabana then home again to the Shiralee in Customs Street West, central Auckland. It was there that he heard and joined The Nitebeats – Billy Peters (guitar), Allan Hodgson (drums), Peter Cox (bass), Ray Peters (guitar) and Gary Hollis (piano). They were a young instrumental act with the swing of the Bill Black Combo and Fats Domino, chopping out the instrumental rock of the day.
The Nitebeats played spots at Auckland venues ... and around the upper half of the North Island at beaches, small towns and dances
The Nitebeats played spots at Auckland venues – the Civic Wintergarden, the Treble Clef Night Spot in Hobson Street, the Jive Centre at the Hobson Street Trades Hall and the Ellen Melville Hall in High Street – and around the upper half of the North Island at beaches, small towns and dances.
The band’s fluid line-up evolved to include Alex Behrens (drums), Peter Jones (rhythm guitar), Buddy Wilson (rhythm guitar), Gary Hollis (piano) and the experienced Errol Timbers (lead guitar). In 1964 they featured at the Beatle Inn (in Little Queen Street), the Shiralee and the Orange Ballroom (Newton Rd, off Symonds Street), with one-nighters in the provinces.
Their finest recordings were the Terry Dean penned ‘I’ll Keep Walking’, ‘If I Can’, and ‘Do The Dance’, prime pieces of infectious dance music, recorded at Viking Studios.
Terry Dean was also making a name for himself on television shows, including In The Groove (with The Nitebeats performing all their singles) and On The Beat Side, where Dean did a convincing Elvis impersonation of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ in the show’s nostalgia spot.
After an abortive stint in Sydney, Terry Dean and The Nitebeats called it a day in 1965, with Dean/Fidow eventually heading back to Samoa, after a spell in Sydney as a solo act then a period with Bill Wolfgramm back in New Zealand.
Terry Fidow passed away in 2005.
Alex Behrens - drums
Terry Dean - vocals
Gary Hollis - piano
Peter Jones - rhythm guitar
Billy Peters - guitar
Leo Sleeman - bass
Errol Timbers - lead guitar
Allan Hodgson - drums
Peter Cox - bass
Johnny Willetts - guitar
Errol Timbers became a potter in the 1970s before moving to Brisbane in 1989 where he still lives and plays. Over the years he's played in several successful club bands both in Australasia and further abroad.
In Sydney Terry Dean was offered, signed, then walked away from a singing contract in the NSW clubs and one that promised Hawaii - the gig instead went to a young John Rowles. He was homesick.
Terry Dean was briefly managed by future pirate radio legend Derek Lowe.