Friday, 19 February 2016
April Sun in Cuba/Are You Old Enough/Get That Jive/This Time
Dragon are a rock band which were formed in Auckland, New Zealand in January 1972 and relocated to Sydney, Australia in May 1975. They were originally fronted by singer Marc Hunter and are currently led by his brother, bass player/vocalist Todd Hunter. They performed and released material under the name Hunter in Europe and the United States during 1987.
Keyboard player Paul Hewson wrote or co-wrote most of the group's 1970s hits: "April Sun in Cuba" peaked at #2 on the 1977 Australian singles chart; "Are You Old Enough?" reached #1 in 1978; and "Still in Love with You" reached #15 also in 1978. Later hits, from when the band re-grouped in the 1980s, were written by other band members, often working with outside associates: The Hunter brothers, with Todd's partner, Johanna Pigott, wrote "Rain," a #2 hit in 1983, while other, more minor hits were written by the Hunters and/or Alan Mansfield, frequently in collaboration with any combination of Pigott, Mansfield's partner Sharon O'Neill, Marc Hunter's partner Wendy Hunter, or producers Todd Rundgren and David Hirschfelder.
The name Dragon came from a consultation of I Ching cards by early band vocalist Graeme Collins.
Dragon have endured tragedy, adversity and notoriety, and during the course of the band's earlier career, several members died from drug-related causes. Problems began soon after their arrival in Sydney in late 1975, when all their equipment was stolen. Several months later, in 1976, drummer Neil Storey died of a heroin overdose; Paul Hewson of a drug overdose in 1985 and Marc Hunter of smoking-related oesophageal cancer in 1998. Several members of the group including Hewson and Marc Hunter were heavy heroin users during the band's heyday, and The Stewart Royal Commission (1980–1983) which investigated the Mr. Asia drug syndicate obtained evidence that Dragon members were clients.
Two members were involved in a serious car crash in 1977, where Paul Hewson's neck was in a brace as well as having a broken arm and Robert Taylor needed plastic surgery, and Hewson also suffered from debilitating scoliosis and arthritis, the pain of which reportedly contributed to his heroin use. The band also undertook a famously disastrous 1978 tour of the USA, supporting Johnny Winter, which ended when Marc Hunter abused the Texan audience as "faggots" and the band were pelted off stage, while Winter's band were said to have taken bets about how long it would be before Hunter was shot. On 1 July 2008, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) recognised Dragon's iconic status when they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.