When the Cat's Away (band)

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When the Cat's Away
Origin Auckland, New Zealand
Genres Pop
Years active 1986–present
Labels CBS, Peach
Associated acts Sharon O'Neill
Members Annie Crummer
Margaret Urlich
Debbie Harwood
Kim Willoughby
Past members Dianne Swann

When the Cat's Away is a New Zealand female vocal group, supergroup and covers band. They are best known for their cover of the Blue Mink assimilationist song "Melting Pot", which became a New Zealand number one hit for them in 1988.[1]

The group originally consisted of five members: Annie Crummer, Debbie Harwood, Dianne Swann, Margaret Urlich and Kim Willoughby, forming at the New Zealand Music Awards in 1986. All five singers were each well known and successful in their own right.

The group had hits with "Melting Pot" and "Free Ride" in the late 1980s and toured extensively, becoming one of the biggest live acts in New Zealand at that time.[2]

In the 1990s, Swann officially left the group, and the other members pursued solo careers and other projects.

In 2001 they reformed and released a cover version of Sharon O'Neill's 1980 single "Asian Paradise". Shortly after that, O'Neill returned their gesture by teaming with them for a nationwide tour. A live album recorded during that tour "Live in Paradise" went platinum.[3]



Year Title Details Peak chart
(sales threshold)[4]
1987 When the Cat's Away: Live
  • Label: CBS
  • Catalogue: CAT LP001
2001 Live In Paradise
Attributed to: When The Cat's Away & Sharon O'Neill
  • Label: Peach Records
  • Catalogue: 537030 2
  • NZL: Platinum


Year Title Peak chart
(sales threshold)[1]
1987 "Sanctified" Non-album single
1988 "Melting Pot" 1
  • NZL: Gold
Non-album single
1990 "Free Ride" 12 Non-album single
2001 "Asian Paradise" 16 Non-album single


Year Nominee/work Award Result
1988 When The Cat's Away Listener Television Awards - Entertainment Programme Won[6]
1989 When The Cat's Away New Zealand Music Awards - Best Group Won[7]
1989 Ross McDermott/Annie Crummer ("Melting Pot") New Zealand Music Awards - Best Producer Nominated[7]


  1. ^ a b "When The Cat's Away". Muzic.net.nz. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "When The Cat's Away". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Class of 81". Eventfinder. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Debbie Harwood bio". Debbie Harwood. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "When The Cat's Away discography". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "1988 Winners - Listener Television Awards". Kiwi TV. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "1989 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 

External links[edit]