Thursday, 28 May 2015

Benny Levin collection

Today we have another New Zealand Music Month post featuring the manuscript collection of Benny Levin (1930-1994) an entrepreneur, band manager and concert promoter.

This collection includes personal papers, tapes, audio-visual recordings, posters and photographs from the estate of Benny Levin. A complete inventory is available with the record on Manuscripts Online; it has been sorted and listed thanks to a Lotteries Environment & Heritage Grant.


Fellow show business entrepreneur Phil Warren presented this collection to Auckland Libraries in 1994. As with Benny Levin, Phil Warren’s papers were also donated to the library after he passed away in 2002, we wrote about the collection of Warren’s papers last year.

The Clevedonaires released records on Benny Levin’s label Impact. This is a publicity shot issued by Impact Recording of the Clevedon-based pop group the Clevedonaires.


A great treasure trove of material and a great historic resource, research has been undertaken upon it and the fruits of which have appeared in the wonderful biography and image collections on Audioculture. Seeing as so much great content has already appeared on Audioculture I thought I’d focus on the promotions aspect of Benny Levin’s career and some of the items in the collection that reflect that. 


An interesting feature of this collection are these printing blocks used for printing concert tickets, fliers, programmes and the like. These examples feature a triple bill from the Seventies featuring Mark Williams, Erana Clark and Bunny Walters. You can see how the images of their faces were made on the printing block and then added into the advertisement for their show. One on the right hand side is a printing block for ‘New Zealand’s hottest rock band’ Golden Harvest.


The next image shows the part of the collection that includes back stage passes, car passes, VIP, guest and complimentary tickets. The following are for overseas bands that Levin staged New Zealand tours for: The Angels from Australia and from Lionel Ritchie’s Outrageous tour from 1987. Looking at some of the prices for Lionel Ritchie tour memorabilia on eBay, it certainly appears that this collection is valuable for more than just its research value.

Author: Andrew Henry

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