It has been nearly fifty years since I released my first album FLOATING. In terms of sales, it pretty much bombed. Were it not for the unshakable faith of the record company head, Tim Murdoch, my career would have ended there and then. Thankfully, Tim persisted and the rest, as they say, is history.
The success of my subsequent albums GARDEN FRESH and HIGHER TRAILS and a handful of singles which still pop up occasionally on golden oldie radio has been well documented. However, in 1977, I chose to walk away from the proverbial spotlight and paid the price by fading into obscurity.
For many years this did not bother me. While I no longer performed live, I continued to write and record when the mood took me and was happy with my lot.
But upon returning to New Zealand after decades abroad I found that being unknown to generations of Kiwis did not sit well with me. As one of this country’s first truly successful singer-songwriters I felt the need to reclaim my proper place in our musical history. Not for reasons ego but for posterity.
This desire only increased when, in the early part of this year, a hereditary renal condition had me knocking on Heaven’s door. Better get this done before I’m done, I thought.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not see myself in the upper echelon of great Kiwi artists: bands that rocked your world with their anthems, artists who persisted through years of ups and downs, starved in their proverbial garrets, stayed in the public eye, and deserved every bit of acclaim they received. I am not of their ilk or stature. I am simply a dilettante who, among other things, writes songs. Furthermore, I continue to write songs to this very day.
Nevertheless, even my most enduring fans are not often aware of anything I’ve produced in recent years. In that sense I’m frozen in the ‘70s — you could say I used to be John Hanlon.
So, having been confronted so profoundly by my mortality the need to leave some record of the work I have produced in my latter years became important to me.
I’m aware that, like me, albums are something of an anachronism. Nevertheless, I can think of no better way to showcase the breadth and depth of my songs across a variety of genres than a good old-fashioned album. In this case quite a long album. Twenty-Three songs. Enough to establish that I still am John Hanlon and I remain a proud and potent Kiwi singer-songwriter. When you hear the songs, I’m pretty sure you will agree.
The album is called NAKED TRUTHS. It will be released on the ODE label in late July 2021.
Here’s one of the songs to whet your appetite 🙂