Sharon O'Neill

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Sharon O'Neill
Birth name Sharon Lea O'Neill
Born (1952-11-23) 23 November 1952 (age 62)
Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
Genres Rock, pop, new wave
Occupation(s) Singer, musician, songwriter
Instruments vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1970–present
Labels Sony, Polydor

Sharon Lea O'Neill[1] (born 23 November 1952, Nelson, New Zealand) is a singer-songwriter and pianist from New Zealand, who had an Australasian hit single in 1983 with "Maxine" which reached No. 16 on both the Australian Kent Music Report and Recording Industry Association of New Zealand charts.[2][3][4]


O'Neill began her solo career in the early 1970s in her home country after a short stint with kiwi band Chapta, then gained moderate success in Australia with the hit "Words" (AUS #56) and the subsequent singles "How Do You Talk to Boys?" (AUS No. 25, 1980), "Maybe" (AUS No. 38, 1981), "Losing You" (AUS No. 26, 1983), and "Power" (AUS No. 36, 1984).[3][4]

The early 1980s proved her most commercially successful period, composing and performing the soundtrack to the 1981 film Smash Palace, and with the Foreign Affairs album in 1983 spawning her biggest hit "Maxine" (AUS No. 16, 1983)[3] a song which chronicled the life of a Kings Cross prostitute.[5] A legal battle with her then record company Sony caused a delay in her career. During the enforced hiatus, O'Neill wrote songs for ABC TV series Sweet and Sour (1984) including the title song performed by Deborah Conway (later recorded by O'Neill as "In Control") and "Glam to Wham".[1] O'Neill met American keyboardist and songwriter, Alan Mansfield on Dragon's Body and the Beat Tour of New Zealand in 1984—they later became domestic and professional partners.[6]

In 1987 O'Neill returned with her album Danced in the Fire on Polygram which featured some biographical songs about the legal wrangles with Sony.

O'Neill's last album of new material, Edge of Winter, was released in 1990. A mature work, two singles were taken from this album, "Satin Sheets" and "Poster Girl", both of which failed to find chart success.

In 1991, O'Neill collaborated with Robert Palmer and they wrote "True Love" together for Palmer's Don't Explain album. She also contributed vocals on that release. In 1994, O'Neill, Palmer, and Palmer's girlfriend Mary Ambrose co-wrote "Love Takes Time" for Palmer's Honey album. O'Neill contributed vocals to that release, as well as to Palmer's 1999 Rhythm & Blues and 2003's Drive.

In 2001 she toured as a guest artist with New Zealand female act When The Cat's Away. In 2005 she toured Australia as a support act for Leo Sayer and a comprehensive collection of her greatest hits was released on CD. In 2006 and early 2007 O'Neill again toured Australia supporting Leo Sayer.

In August–September 2007 O'Neill toured as part of the 'Countdown Spectacular 2' concert series Australia-wide[7] and toured Australia and New Zealand on The Let It Be Tour (The Beatles tribute show) in November–December 2007.[8]



Year Title Details Peak chart
1979 This Heart This Song
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: 003
1980 Sharon O'Neill
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: SBP237350
1980 Words (reissue of Sharon O'Neill containing one additional track)
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: SBP237350
1981 Maybe
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: SBP237604
1982 Smash Palace EP (soundtrack)
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: SBP237751
1983 Foreign Affairs
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: SBP 237889
1984 So Far: The Best 14
  • Label: J & B Records
  • Catalogue: JB253
1984 How Do You Do?
  • Label: Rainbow
  • Catalogue: 2RCD 109/110
1987 Danced in the Fire
  • Label: Polydor
  • Catalogue: 833557-1
1988 Four Play: Volume 18
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: BA651092-7
1990 Edge of Winter
  • Label: Polydor
  • Catalogue: 843883-1
1991 The Very Best of Sharon O'Neill and Collette (with Collette)
  • Label: J & B Records
  • Catalogue: JB477CD
2001 Live in Paradise (with When The Cat's Away)
  • Label: EMI
  • Catalogue: 07243 537030 2 8
2005 The Best of Sharon O'Neill
  • Label: Sony BMG
  • Catalogue: 82876727862
2013 Original Album Classics
(4-CD boxset containing the albums: This Heart This Song / Sharon O'Neill / Maybe / Foreign Affairs)
  • Label: Sony Music (NZ)
  • Catalogue: 88883787452
2014 Words: The Very Best of Sharon O'Neill
  • Label: Sony Music (NZ)
  • Catalogue: 88843069442
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
NZ[4] AUS[3]
1972 "Love Song" Non-album single
1978 "Luck's on Your Table" 27 This Heart This Song
"This Heart This Song"
"You Take the Sailor from the Sea"
1979 "Don't Say No Tomorrow" (Telethon song) 6 Non-album single
"Words" 22 56 Words
"Baby Don't Fight"
"Don't Let Love Go" (duet with Jon Stevens) 5 32 Non-album single
1980 "Asian Paradise" 24 76 Words
"How Do You Talk to Boys?" 26 25
1981 "Waiting for You" 50 Maybe
"Maybe" 12 38
1982 "For All the Tea in China" 98
"Smash Palace" Smash Palace (soundtrack)
1983 "Losing You" 26 Foreign Affairs
"Maxine" 16 16
"Danger" 78
1984 "Power" 36 Non-album single
1987 "Physical Favours" 25 39 Danced in the Fire
"Danced in the Fire" 98
1988 "Shock to the Heart"/"We're Only Human"
1989 "Water for the Flowers" (shared single with Doug Parkinson) Non-album single
1990 "Satin Sheets" Edge of Winter
"Poster Girl"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Awards Year Category Details Result
RIANZ[9] 1979 Top Female Vocalist Won
1980 Album of the Year Sharon O'Neil Won
Top Female Vocalist Won
1983 Best Film Soundtrack/Cast Recording/Compilation Smash Palace Won


  1. ^ a b "Australasian Performing Right Association". APRA. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  2. ^ Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara, Paul McHenry with notes by Ed Nimmervoll (2002) [1987]. "ONEILL, Sharon". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Retrieved 13 February 2010.  Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
  3. ^ a b c d Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  4. ^ a b c d "Discography: Sharon O'Neill". New Zealand charts portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Taylor, Phil (P J) (24 August 2006). "The Times interview, Sharon O'Neill explain yourself to PJ Taylor". Howick and Pakuranga Times (Times Online). Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "The Countdown Spectacular". Frontier Touring Co. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  8. ^ "The Let It Be Tour entry on Sharon O'Neill". Xazz Media Group. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  9. ^ "NZMAs". Retrieved 2012-09-30. 

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