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First published in February 2015

Alan Kingsley-Smith passed away on 05-02-2015 on the Gold Coast, aged 82.  Alan, formerly of Auckland, was well known for his 1960's music store off Queen Street, and for playing and repairing brass instruments.  


Looking back over 50 years of drumming, I have met some amazing people and have a few fond memories.  My Dad bought me my first Baytone red sparkle bongos (imported from Japan and named by Hawkes Bay Agencies) from Harmony House in late '63 to play with the Oratia Primary School Orchestra led by '50s big band leader Ernie Butters at our Christmas concert.  My 1st song: 'Blame It On The Bossanova'.  Then I moved North, joined The Clan and got my first real kit in early '66 from Begg's in Whangarei;  a  miss mash of  'Beverley/Ajax/Olympic/Premier'.  But in April 1967, this shy, tall, gangly 15 yr old moves back to Auckland and starts work in the big city for show promoter Harry M Miller.  Fresh off the Eric Burdon Animals, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick 'n Tich tour, he wanders into a musical paradise just off Queen St.  A softly spoken shop owner shows him a champagne 1961 Ludwig Hollywood set, with cymbals, chrome on brass snare... 185 pounds.  The young chap has been gigging in Northland for nearly a year and has saved almost that much, equivalent of 9 weeks wages for his Dad, a sales manager at Goodyear Tyres.  He's also just teamed up with a band in Blockhouse Bay, soon to be named The Arch, with a talented 14 year old, Paul Hewson on rhythm guitar, so he wants to impress.  Big decision.  So he trades in his trusty white set, that has served him well for over 100 gigs.  150 pounds cash and his old kit and he is set to move forward... and eventually win the '69 Auckland Battle of the Bands, tour and record with Peter Posa and play over 2000 gigs thru the '70s in top residencies and on cruise ships around the world.  I'm still playing here in the USA, with several projects including one of the USA's top Beach Boys tribute acts, STILL SURFIN.  We hope to bring the show to NZ next summer.  But I'll always remember the gentleman who sold me those Ludwigs.  ... thank you Alan Kingsley-Smith. - Peter Grattan
Always a Gentleman. RIP Alan. - Murray Hancox
Nga Mihi Nui Alan from the Reilly boys : ) Rock in peace mate - Mike Reilly
A wonderful person Alan, bought my first guitar and last guitar when I left N.Z. to live in Australia.  Worked several gigs with Alan's band back in the late sixties, he would be known for his quiet speaking voice.  I didn't know he was on the gold coast or I would have looked him up to say hi.  R.I.P. mate sell them a guitar up there in music land ok - Patrick Harrison
I remember Alan well as we bought our first PA (Shure) off him Customs St.  Before that he was off Queen St as you said.  I think after Customs St he moved to another off Queen St location up the hilly bit.  Somewhere buried I have a guitar pick with “Stolen from Kingsley-Smith” written on it.  He left them lying around the shop. - Michael Boase
I have very fond memories of Alan.  He was a gentle, quiet man, with a cheery smile and a very kind nature.  I bought a set of Trixon bongos and some drumsticks from Alan back in 1960 ....and this became the kick start for my next 54 years playing drums.  In the mid late sixties I always looked forward to go into his shop and talk music and instruments.  I send my sympathy to his family and friends - Dave “Red” Williamson  
Sad news to hear Alan Kingsley-Smith passed away.  Like so many muso’s I bought and sold instruments off him at his shop in Rutland St, City, including heaps of gear such as Jansen 650 and 850 combo amps.  Sold him a Jansen guitar and bought a 335 off him which I used extensively.  A great and very humble, softly speaking guy.  RIP. - Roger Skinner  
Another of our great and well remembered musical identities has passed away.  I have fond memories of Alan and the great interest and friendship, when visiting his top music store in Auckland for many years.  His advice, assistance and knowledge was invaluable...and always a great chat and a laugh to go along with it.  R.I.P Alan - Gray Bartlett
Yeah, we all knew him so well, he was such a nice guy.  It's sad when one of the nice guys pass away,,,,,,,,,,, RIP mate,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, - Gib & Ann

I knew Alan in the 60's, worked for him briefly, and taught bass upstairs above his shop for about a year.  Alan had an English accent so I always assumed he had come to NZ as an adult, rightly or wrongly.  I believe Alan worked for Sydney Eady's before he opened his own store in a tiny shop between Queen St and Lorne St in the 60's [the street no longer exists].  Warwick Eady always maintained his name was "Alan Smith" and he added the "Kingsley" to sound more upmarket, I have no way of clearing this up.  Warwick I believe was never happy when an ex-staff member went out in opposition.  Alan played and repaired brass instruments and although I never heard him play in a band  I believe he was more than competent.  He was a small very pleasant man who always struck me as being in the business out of interest rather than just earning a living.  I have never heard a single bad word about his dealings and so I believe he was a very fair trader and from my experience a lovely man.  After I went to work at Sydney Eady I was encouraged not to mix with the competitors as the Eady family were quite jealous of other stores, and even against each other in business.  I lost touch with Alan in the 70's when I gave up playing music and I had not heard of him again until this death notice appeared with the words he had passed away on Australia's Gold Coast.  RIP Alan, I can say from my time about him in the 60's my life was improved by just knowing him. - Bill Belton 

(click here to email me your tribute to Alan and I'll add it in -

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