Instantly recognisable with their matching outfits, trendy haircuts and up-tempo, harmony-rich pop singles, sisters Judy and Sue Donaldson rose to become some of New Zealand’s biggest stars as The Chicks.
For a whirlwind five-year period from 1965 they were seldom off our TV screens or radio airwaves. They played countless gigs and toured relentlessly with other New Zealand stars and international artists, including Sandie Shaw, PJ Proby and The Pretty Things.
Although born in Wellington, the sisters moved with their family to West Auckland where one of their neighbours happened to be Kevin Borich of the La De Das. But it was another neighbour who provided the teenagers their break when his friend Peter Posa and Viking Records boss Ron Dalton came visiting.
Posa acquiesced to an autograph in return for a song. Blown away by their natural harmonies, they were offered a deal by Viking and two weeks later they were in the studio recording The Hucklebuck. The song was an instant success and at 14 and 16 years old Sue and Judy found themselves as finalists for Single of the Year.
As so often the case in the 60s, a gruelling tour and recording schedule followed. In one year, The Chicks has released 5 singles, 3 EPs and 2 albums, all while still at school.
The arrival of music television show C’mon was perfectly suited to The Chicks’ visual appeal and spectacular outfits. Weekly appearances and subsequent C’mon national tours ensured The Chicks became a household name.
In 1970 Suzanne and Judy finally called it a day after 6 years of performing and recording. Judy went on to perform with The Rumour with her husband Ross Hindman, whilst Suzanne pursued a successful solo career as well being in Cat Stevens’ band for five years and working as a session singer in London for eight years. She still performs regularly in The Ladykillers.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome The Chicks into The NZ Music Hall of Fame | Te Whare Taonga Puoro o Aotearoa.