The Exponents

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This article is about the musical group. For the mathematical process, see exponentiation.
The Exponents
Dance Exponents
Origin Christchurch, New Zealand
Years active 1981-87 (Dance Exponents)
1990-2000, 2006, 2010-13
Associated acts Jordan Luck Band[1]
Luck
The Diamond Rings
The Starlings
Basement
Channel 4
Members Jordan Luck
David Gent
Brian Jones
Michael "Harry" Harallambi
Past members Steve Cowan
Martin Morris
Chris Sheehan (Dance Exponents)
Steve Birss
Eddie Olson (Dance Exponents)
David Barraclough
Steve Simpson

The Exponents is a New Zealand rock group led by vocalist and songwriter Jordan Luck.[2]

Their major hits, including "Why Does Love Do This To Me", "Who Loves Who The Most", "Victoria", "I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue)" and "Whatever Happened To Tracey" have been taken up by successive generations of younger New Zealanders, with social commentators going so far as to say that an Exponents concert forms a rite of passage for New Zealand youth.

History[edit]

1980s: Dance Exponents[edit]

The group formed in 1981 after vocalist Jordan Luck and guitarist Brian Jones disbanded their first group, Basement, and relocated from the South Canterbury town of Timaru to Christchurch with their ex-Splash Alley friend, Steve "Fingers" Cowan. Searching for a drummer in Christchurch, the trio met David Gent (bass) and Michael "Harry" Harallambi (drums) from punk band Channel 4. Cowan moved from bass to keyboards and guitar and the five piece became The Dance Exponents. Their first gig was at the Hillsborough Tavern on Luck's 20th birthday and Cowan's 22nd - 15 October 1981. A residency at Christchurch's Aranui Tavern quickly earned them a strong live reputation, and on the recommendation of Jim Wilson they were signed by Mushroom Records by Mike Chunn in 1982.

The band's debut single "Victoria" was a top ten hit and was the start of a remarkable run of hit songs by Luck. Steve Cowan left the group after the release of "Victoria" and was replaced by Martin Morris who only spent six months with the band and left before they began recording their debut album. Sadly Cowan died a couple of years later. "Airway Spies" and "All I Can Do" followed as singles two and three.

With their popularity growing nationally from extensive touring, TVNZ recorded them live at Mainstreet cabaret in Auckland. The show was simulcast on television and FM radio and the companion album released in June 1983 called Live At Mainstreet saw six songs from the Dance Exponents on one side of the album with four songs from The Legionnaires on the other side.

In December 1983 the group's debut album Prayers Be Answered was released. The album featured re-recordings of "Victoria", "Your Best Friend Loves Me Too", "Poland" and "All I Can Do" and two further singles, "Know Your Own Heart", and "I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue)". Prayers Be Answered stayed in the NZ Album chart for nearly a year, selling double platinum in the process - a rare feat for a new New Zealand act at the time . Luck's songs, their exuberant live shows and the group's broad appeal made them one of the most popular new bands in New Zealand in the early 80s.

Chris Sheehan joined the Dance Exponents on guitar in late 1983, just before the release of Prayers Be Answered. Sheehan brought a new edge to the group, best heard on his first recording with them; the Julian Mendlesohn produced single "Sex & Agriculture". In late 1984 Harry left the group and moved to Auckland where he drummed for Grey Parade. He was replaced for a short while by Christchurch drummer Steve Birss, who played only a handful of shows.

As Birss had not had time to settle with the band before they recorded their second album, Vince Ely from The Psychedelic Furs was hired by producer Ian (Fab) Taylor[3] to drum on the album.The album was called Expectations and featured the singles "My Love For You", "Christchurch (In Cashel St. I Wait)" and the Australian only single "Greater Hopes. Greater Expectations" . It was released in New Zealand in May 1985, and shortly before that Eddie Olson joined the band on drums for the nationwide "Expectations" tour.

The band's third album Amplifier was co produced by John Jansen and Doug Rogers[4] and released on Roger's Zulu label in 1986. Amplifier featured the single "Caroline Skies" and re-recordings of "Sex and Agriculture" and "Only I Could Die (And Love You Still)", the latter becoming the second single from the album. Without the band's approval, Zulu released a recording of "Brand New Doll" as single. It was not featured on the original Amplifier album but was included on the CD when it was released in 1999 along with a re-recording of ""Victoria" made during the original album sessions. After only a moderate response to the album, Eddie Olson left the group and the band moved to Britain in 1987. There, they were a popular draw for expatriate New Zealanders (and sometimes Australians and South Africans) and attracted A&R interest, but did not gain a record contract. During their four year hiatus in the UK, Luck continued to write and accumulated a number of strong songs which were demoed by the band.

1990s: The Exponents[edit]

Interest in the UK demos from PolyGram Records NZ brought the band back to New Zealand in 1990, although Sheehan remained in the UK and went on to form The Starlings. In New Zealand, Harry rejoined the group and to mark the new start of the four original members, they dropped the "Dance" from their name to become The Exponents. Their subsequent 1992 album for PolyGram Something Beginning with C, yielded the group's biggest hits of their career in "Why Does Love Do This To Me" and "Who Loves Who The Most" and the album became the band's first number 1 record in New Zealand. It includes some of Luck's strongest songs and is marked by simple arrangements and Brian Jones' vocal harmonies with Luck. Widely considered a New Zealand classic, it is included in Nick Bollinger's book "100 Essential New Zealand Albums".[5]

In 1992, The Exponents signed to Phonogram Records in Australia and relocated to Sydney to record their fifth album Grassy Knoll. Before they began, Jones left the band and relocated to the UK. With guitars played by Dave Dobbyn and Brent Williams (an old band mate of David Gent who went on to join Pop Mechanix), "Grassy Knoll" delivered the singles "Like She Said", "Don't Say Goodbye" and "House Of Love". With limited promotion in New Zealand, Grassy Knoll went gold but failed to match the success of Something Beginning With C.

Following the release of Grassy Knoll, the band met Rockingham-raised Dave "Duck" Barraclough in Sydney in 1994 and he joined them as guitarist and songwriting partner to Luck. His first contribution to the group was his song "La La Lulu", which was backed by a song co-written with Luck called "Summer You Never Meant". "La La Lulu" returned the band to the singles charts and the two songs featured on the group's first hits compilation entitled Once Bitten, Twice Bitten - The Singles 1981–1995 which was released by Warner Music. The album was a massive success, hitting Number 1 on the New Zealand album charts and selling 5 × Platinum. In 1996, the group recorded a final, one-off single for Warner Music entitled "Do You Feel In Love".

In 1997, the Exponents signed to Sony Music and released their sixth studio album Better Never Than Late, which featured the singles "One in a Lifetime", "Close" and "Change Your Mind". Produced by Eddie Rayner and The Exponents, it reached number 3 on the album chart.

In 1999, Dave Gent took a break from the group and Steve Simpson was drafted in on bass. Shortly after, The Exponents decided to call it quits and went out on a final New Zealand tour in support of their final album Hello, Love You, Goodbye. The record featured Simpson on bass with six new tracks and 8 live tracks recorded at the Pounamu Hotel in Takapuna in 1999. Following the tour, Barraclough returned to Australia and joined Mental As Anything.

2000s: Reformation[edit]

Luck formed his own band, Luck, playing Exponents songs and new compositions with songwriting partner Bryan Bell and he continues to play in the Jordan Luck Band today.

Brian Jones returned to New Zealand in the early 2000s and began working with former Bird Nest Roys singer Little Ross Hollands in their new group The Diamond Rings which also included a rhythm section of fellow Exponents David Gent and Harry. The Diamond Rings released their debut album "The Rasper" in June 2009.

In 2005 the four original Exponents - Luck, Gent, Jones and Harry got together to record "Geraldine" and "Or A Girl I Knew" with producer Neil Finn for inclusion in a new Exponents hits compilation called Sex and Agriculture: The Very Best Of The Exponents. The album featured one disc of the hits and a second of b-sides and rarities. They played a few shows in support of the album which went platinum and reached number 7 on the charts.

The four reunited again in 2010 to play at the "Band Together" benefit concert for the 2010 Canterbury earthquake. Their 1985 hit "Christchurch (In Cashel Street I Wait)" became the theme song for the concert and the band closed the show with a mass chorus of the song featuring all the artists who performed at the concert.

October 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of the group and on November 14th of that year, almost 30 years after the Dance Exponents first ever show in Christchurch, Jordan, Brian, Dave and Harry got together to play a one off show at The Ferrymead Speights Alehouse, a venue very close to the Hillsborough Tavern where the band made their debut three decades earlier.[6]To mark the occasion, Universal Music released a new best of album called Why Does Love Do This to Me: The Exponents Greatest Hits.

The group’s anniversary sparked interest in the band’s story from Notable Pictures, who secured funding and support from Prime Television and NZ on Air to produce a feature television documentary about the band. Production commenced in August 2012 and in addition to telling the group’s story it documented their return to Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios in Auckland to record some of their earliest songs, most of which had never been recorded or released. Simply entitled The Exponents, the documentary first screened on New Zealand television on Prime on 22 May 2013.[7]

The result of their documentary sessions at the studio was a new album Eight Days At Roundhead that featured seven new recordings, an acoustic version of Caroline Skies and two tracks the band recorded with Neil Finn in 2005.

Eight Days At Roundhead was released on 10th May 2013 as a stand alone digital album and as bonus album packaged with The Exponents Greatest Hits album.

New Zealand Music Awards[edit]

In 1984 The Dance Exponents won three NZ Music Awards:[8]

  • Album Of The Year "Prayers Be Answered"
  • Top Male Vocalist - Jordan Luck
  • Best Group

In 1992 The Exponents won two NZ Music Awards:[9]

  • Single Of The Year "Why Does Love Do This To Me"
  • Top Male Vocalist - Jordan Luck

APRA Awards[edit]

In 2001, to celebrate 75 years of its existence, APRA invited its members and an academy to vote on what they believe are to be New Zealand's top songs of all time. The Exponents had several songs appearing in the top 100:

  • #8 - "Victoria"
  • #47 - "Why Does Love Do This To Me"
  • #89 - "I'll Say Goodbye"

At the 2007 APRA Silver Scroll Awards on 18 September, Jordan Luck was named by Mike Chunn[10] as the first inductee to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.[11]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Details Peak chart
positions
Certifications
NZ
as Dance Exponents
1983 Live At Mainstreet
  • Label: Mushroom Records NZ
  • Catalogue: L38017
3
1983 Prayers Be Answered
  • Label: Mushroom Records NZ
  • Catalogue: L38077
  • Producer: Dave Marett
4 NZ: 2x Platinum
1985 Expectations
  • Label: Mushroom Records NZ
  • Catalogue: RML53163
  • Producer: Ian Taylor
7
1986 Amplifier
  • Label: Zulu Records
  • Catalogue: ZCD001
  • Producer: John Jansen and Doug Rogers
18
as The Exponents
1992 Something Beginning With C
  • Label: PolyGram Records NZ
  • Catalogue: 512210-2
  • Producer: Duffy
1 NZ: 3x Platinum
1994 Grassy Knoll
  • Label: Phonogram Records Aust.
  • Catalogue: 522913-2
  • Producer: David Hemming[12]
9 NZ: Gold
1995 Once Bitten, Twice Bitten: The Singles 1981 - 1995
  • Label: Warner Music NZ
  • Catalogue: 063012558-2
  • Producer: Various
1 NZ: 5x Platinum
1997 Better Never Than Late
  • Label: Sony Music NZ
  • Catalogue: 487708-9
  • Producer: Eddie Rayner & The Exponents
3
1999 Hello, Love You, Goodbye 48
2005 Sex & Agriculture: The Very Best Of The Exponents
  • Label: Universal Music NZ
  • Catalogue: 9875421
  • Producer: Various
7 NZ: Platinum
2011 Why Does Love Do This to Me: The Exponents Greatest Hits
  • Label: Universal Music NZ
  • Producer: Various
31
2013 Eight Days At Roundhead
  • Label: Universal Music NZ
  • Producer: Various
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
NZ
Released as Dance Exponents
1982 "Victoria" 6 - Prayers Be Answered
"Airway Spies" 11 - Non-album single
1983 "All I Can Do" 23 - Prayers Be Answered
"Know Your Own Heart" 19 -
1984 "I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue)" 18 -
"Your Best Friend Loves Me Too" - -
"Sex and Agriculture" 11 - Non-album single
1985 "My Love for You" 14 - Expectations
"Christchurch (In Cashel St I Wait)" 14 -
"Greater Hopes, Greater Expectations" - -
"Caroline Skies" 24 - Amplifier
1986 "Only I Could Die (and Love You Still)" 35 -
1987 "Brand New Doll" - - Non-album single
Released as The Exponents
1991 "Why Does Love Do This To Me" 3 NZ: Gold Something Beginning With C
"Who Loves Who the Most" 3 NZ: Gold
"Whatever Happened to Tracey" 6 -
1992 "Sink Like a Stone" 28 -
"The Exponents" EP - -
"Erotic" EP 27 -
1993 "House of Love" 25 - Grassy Knoll
1994 "Like She Said" 25 -
"Don't Say Goodbye" - -
1995 "La La Lulu/Summer You Never Meant" 13 - Once Bitten, Twice Bitten
1996 "Do You Feel In Love" 23 - Non-album single
1997 "One in a Lifetime" 24 - Better Never Than Late
"Close" - -
"Change Your Mind" - -
2011 "It's Rugby" - - Why Does Love Do This To Me: The Exponents Greatest Hits

Videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1982 Victoria Simon Morris[13]
1982 Airway Spies -
1982 All I Can Do -
1983 Know Your Own Heart -
1983 I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue) -
1984 Sex & Agriculture -
1985 My Love For You Salik Silverstein
1985 Greater Hopes Greater Expectations Salik Silverstein
1986 Only I Could Die (And Love You Still) Salik Silverstein
1991 Why Does Love Do This To Me Kerry Brown
1991 Who Loves Who The Most Kerry Brown
1992 Whatever Happened To Tracy Kerry Brown
1992 Sink Like A Stone Kerry Brown
1993 Erotic -
1994 House Of Love -
1994 Like She Said -
1995 La La Lulu -
1996 Summer You Never Meant -
1996 Do You Feel In Love -
1997 One In A Lifetime Andrew Moore
1997 Close -
1997 Change Your Mind -
1999 Big World Out Your Window -
2011 It's Rugby Andrew Moore

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jordan Luck Band
  2. ^ Sweetman, Simon (18 February 2011). "New Zealand's best songwriter". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ian-taylor-p130668/credits/date-asc/ Ian (Fab) Taylor
  4. ^ Doug Rogers
  5. ^ "100 Essential New Zealand Albums"
  6. ^ Jones, Bridget (17 October 2011). "Thirty years of The Exponents". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Baillie, Russell (25 April 2013). "Tell Me What Happened To The Exponents". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  8. ^ RIANZ NZ Music Awards 1984 Winners [1], accessed 20 August 2011.
  9. ^ RIANZ NZ Music Awards 1992 Winners [2], accessed 20 August 2011.
  10. ^ APRA NZ Music Hall Of Fame: Mike Chunn's speech [3], accessed 20 August 2011.
  11. ^ APRA NZ Music Hall Of Fame: Inductees [4], accessed 20 August 2011.
  12. ^ David Hemming: Red Socks: About Me [5], accessed 22 August 2011.
  13. ^ NZ On Screen [6], accessed 23 August 2011.