New Zealand music icon Larry Morris, lead singer and songwriter of the legendary band Larry’s Rebels, has passed away. The band, hailing from Ponsonby, formed in 1964 and quickly rose to fame with their unique blend of garage rock.
Their most significant hit, “Let’s Think Of Something,” earned them a 1967 Apra Silver Scroll award, and they went on to release several hit singles that topped charts in both New Zealand and Australia. Larry’s Rebels released record-breaking albums and had the opportunity to tour with high-profile international acts before Morris departed from the band in 1969.
One of their most memorable performances was a concert at Western Springs in Auckland, where they attracted 18,000 fans. Morris will be remembered as a pioneering figure in the New Zealand music scene, and his legacy will continue through the enduring popularity of Larry’s Rebels.
In an interview with Trevor Reekie on The Mixtape in 2017, Morris reflected on the magic of Larry’s Rebels, saying that the band members may need help to excel. Still, when brought together, they create a magical synergy. He also stated that his greatest regret was leaving the group to have a chance to have a solo performing career, which he believed was a poor decision.
Morris credited the band’s success to a deal he made David Gates, in which he agreed to perform a set at Albert Park where fans would bring a can of food as the only entry fee. In return, Gates promised to make Larry’s Rebels a local number-one hit once the station became legal. The concert was a success, attracting around 2,500 people and truckloads of food, and within a year, Hauraki received their license, and the band’s first number-one hit, “It’s Not True,” was aired.
The band was known for their live performances, covered many overseas recordings, and had the opportunity to tour with renowned international acts, including The Animals, The Yardbirds, Tom Jones, etc. Morris said that getting along with everyone was crucial to tour internationally and mentioned that touring with The Easybeats in April 1967 was a highlight.
Even after leaving the band, Morris remained involved in the music industry, stating in December 2007 he has always considered himself a musician and will stay the same in the future. Even at almost 70 in 2017, Morris said his love for performing and added that he loves working in general and entertaining people with their songs.