Ponsonby People's music - John Elliott

I’m introducing a new feature this month, and thought I’d start with the patriarch, or grand-patriarch, of the Ponsonby News - John Elliott.

He’d probably tell you that he was having a musical renaissance at present, not in small part thanks to my own involvements in music. He’s told me before that he basically missed the entire 1970s in terms of music thanks to being a member of parliament, which I always thought was tragic. Yet, he still managed to introduce me to classic rock as a teenager. I sat down and asked him a few simple questions about his musical background and interests before getting him to make some hard choices.

What was your first concert?
I can still see the young girls screaming and trying to get on stage with the Beatles. We had to stand on our seats to see. It was a great gig. The Beatles at the Auckland Town Hall in 1964. Tickets were one pound, 10 shillings each.

What has been your favourite concert?
It was definitely Queen at Mt Smart in 1985. 35,000 people, Freddy Mercury was at his peak. It was a magic, mesmerising show.

What is your most important musical memory?
I listened every week to the Top 8 or Top 10 on various radio stations when I was a teenager. Sometimes there would be three or four half hour shows per night, driving my parents mad.

Did your parents play music?
My parents mostly played their favourite LPs, and these were largely shows like South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Westside Story. Mum played more than Dad did. There was also Elvis, The Beatles, Little Richard and Bill Haley.

Did you ever learn music as a kid?
I never did.

What are your music listening habits now?
Mainly on YouTube and radio, like Coast FM. I love going out to gigs though.

I asked John to answer this quick questionnaire, which he also was kind enough to expand on in some places.

Beatles or Elvis - I love them both. I can sing several of their songs.
Folk or country.
Jazz or classical.
Drums or guitar.
Dubstep or rap.
Lady Gaga or Beyonce.
Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran.
Standing or sitting (at concerts) - I’m 80, can’t stand all night now!
Mt Smart Stadium or Spark Arena - Mt Smart once, Spark now.
The Kings Arms or the Gluepot Tavern.
Paper tickets or Smartphone.
Real Groovy or Marbecks.
Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd.
Shredding or tapping - no idea what either of them are.
Mozart or Stravinsky.
DJ or live band.
CD or vinyl.
Radio or Spotify.
Album or single - used to be album.