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Turntable returns to YA

June 16, 2016

Listening to Arthur ‘Turntable’ Pearce on 2YD and the YA stations was like going to church, whether your faith was jazz, blues, R&B or pop. Susy Pointon, who worked in the fledgling New Zealand film industry in the 1970s, is an accomplished writer of short stories. She has written Cotton-Eyed Joe – a series of radio stories about her friendship with Pearce in the 1960s which covers social history, a coming of age memoir, and a portrait of a man with unique ears.

Pearce and DukeThe photo that RNZ is using on its website makes him look like the shipping clerk he was in his day job. I think he’d prefer this photo, with the artist who meant the most to him, Duke Ellington.

Behind the microphone Pearce would get gone, real gone. As far as I can tell he was the first person to play Elvis Presley on New Zealand radio. And in the late 70s – after he’d retired from his job moonlighting on the National Programme for 40 years – he was still listening to new sounds. The 75 year old was championing the Ramones.

Nick Bollinger wrote about Lawrie Lewis’s biography of Pearce in 1998, which probably led to his inclusion in the last volume of the  Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

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