Monday, January 12, 2015
When we opened the New Zealand office of CBS RECORDS in 1978, it was a priority of mine to make the company local by investing in the signing of New Zealand talent. Rocky Douche of Marmalade studios in Wellington was a friend and aware of my ambition to sign New Zealand artists and he sent me a demo of three tracks from Upper Hutt youngster JON STEVENS, including a song Jezebel. Danny Ryan discovered Jon at an Upper Hutt talent contest and it was he who had recommended Jon to Rocky.
All three-demo tracks demonstrated the extraordinary voice of Jon but, to my ears, Jezebel was a hit song and the demo itself near a hit record as is. It was Bob Smith who gave Rocky the song, having discovered it in London.
Jon's voice and the song excited me, so I licensed the signing of Jon to CBS from Marmalade. We decided to make Jezebel the first single. I had contracted LA producer Jay Lewis to produce Sharon O'Neill and we had Jay produce Jon too, using parts of the original demo, produced by Steve Robinson.
Jezebel went to No1 on the New Zealand charts in November 1979 and for the follow-up I chose the song Montego Bay, previously a hit for Bobby Bloom in 1970. Montego Bay knocked Jezebel off the No1 chart spot in January 1980, giving Jon back-to-back No1 singles, a first for a New Zealand artist.
Here is the original demo of Jezebel by Jon Stevens, produced by Steve Robinson.
With thanks to Audioculture New Zealand