December 2019 marks the 40 year anniversary of an important record in NZ history; AK79. Within the grooves of this historical landmark compilation lies a connection to our musical whakapapa as New Zealanders and music lovers. A defining record, having captured a raw snapshot of the punk subculture in Auckland during the late 70s, the much-loved compilation is a living, breathing statement of what came before today.
So the story goes, when the original master recordings of AK79 were discarded in 1982, it only created further demand for this enigmatic record. Responding to the call, an expanded version of AK79 arose, released on CD by Simon Grigg and Roger Shepherd as a joint release by Propeller Records and Flying Nun Records in 1993. This time there were some late additions, including tracks from The Suburban Reptiles, The Spelling Mistakes, The Features and The Marching Girls, along with additional tracks from the original bands on the first pressing. This particular reissue was remastered and mixed by Grigg, and came bundled with additional liner notes by Grigg, Staff and The Terrorways’ own Kerry Buchanan. In November 2008, a bootlegged 2 LP version would come to life for a very special reunion gig in Auckland which involved The Scavengers, The Spelling Mistakes and the first performances from The Terrorways and Proud Scum since 1980 in a rare event. At the time, it was sold at the show with unreleased tracks and a 20-page booklet. Six years later, the AK79 compilation was honoured in its many forms with the IMNZ Classic Record award, presented at the Taite Music Prize ceremony.
40 years on, the spirit of the AK79 still packs a punch and the feeling captured in these recordings are as relevant as ever.
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