The Avengers (band)

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The Avengers
Years active 1966 - 1969
Status Defunct
Origin Wellington, New Zealand
Music genre(s) Psychedelic rock, pop
Members Clive Cockburn
Dave Brown
Eddie McDonald
Ian 'Hank' Davis

The Avengers were a New Zealand pop-psychedelic rock band, and one of that countries more successful acts of the late 1960s. The group consisting of Clive Cockburn (lead guitar, organ), Dave Brown (rhythm guitar), Eddie McDonald (bass), Ian 'Hank' Davis (drums) formed in 1966, in Wellington.


Wellington promoter Ken Cooper, an ex-member of the Swamp Dwellers, formed the band to play at his new nightclub, the Place, and selected the musicians from other active local bands - Clive Cockburn of the Mustangs, Dave Brown of the Wanderers, and Dave Diver from the Countdowns, and Hank Davis of Napier's the Epics. Diver moved to Christchurch, and was replaced by Eddie McDonald of the Strangers after an audition.

With their name decided as a result of a local Sunday Times newspaper contest, the group started their career in June 1966 performing covers by the Beatles, Herman's Hermits and the Hollies, but soon branched out into more adventurous 1960s psychedelia, closely following the influences of Cream and Traffic. While preparing material for their debut release in the studio, they were approached to assist in recording another artist Val Murphy. Her single 'Lovers of the World Unite'/'There's a Scarlet River Running' was issued under the stage name Valeria Vengers. They had a string of top ten hits in New Zealand. Their first single, 'Everyone's Gonna Wonder'/'Take My Hand' reached number seven on the NZ Hit Parade in September 1967. This was followed by 'Only Once In My Life'/'Waterpipe' which peaked at number ten in January 1968, quickly followed by '1941'/'What Price Love' reaching number six in May 1968. Their biggest chart hit was a cover of Episode Six's 'Love Hate Revenge', which charted at number two in August 1968. Their debut album Electric Recording was issued in May 1968.

They made regular appearances on television and won a number of awards, but the band failed to achieve expected prominence overseas, touring only twice outside New Zealand, both times to Australia. On the second tour, they adopted the name New Zealand Avengers to distinguish themselves from a Brisbane band that had the same name. Basing themselves in Melbourne, they briefly added guitarist John Pugh (ex Cam-Pact, James Taylor Move). In late July 1969, with disenchantment over lack of royalties, the group disbanded, with Clive Cockburn pursuing a career in television, while Hank Davis and Eddie McDonald remained active in music, relocating to Perth, Western Australia to be founding members of Bakery, and later joining Ray Burton's Nightflyers, and the Renee Geyer Band. Although the Avengers failed to achieve international recognition, they established a lasting legacy in New Zealand, and in 1994, their debut single 'Everyone's Gonna Wonder' was covered by the Pop Art Toasters, a group of Dunedin Sound musicians including Martin Phillipps of the Chills and David Kilgour of the Clean.