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First published in November 2011, last updated October 2012

One of our best known identities and fellow musicians Ian Brown “Brownie”, passed away in Auckland on 20th November 2011 after a long battle.  


E te Hoa Ian.  Haere, haere haere, Haere koe ki o tini Aitua. Ma te Atua i runga hei manaaki, hei tiaki kia koe.  It is with deep regret and sadness that I and my family have just learnt of the passing of Ian Brown which apparently happened in November 2011.  I am absolutely shattered.  I knew Ian over a very long period of time as I was his lead Guitarist in his Band Sound One for many years with his wife Manu being our lead Singer.  We played and performed all over the place and he was a very accomplished and professional keyboard player.  He was one of the very few people who had that Roland Sound.  Thank you Ian for the friendship that we had developed over the years.  To Manu and son Warren and other family members our heart goes out to you all.  I will never forget all the good times we shared together.  May you now rest in peace.  Tino Arohanui. - Thomas Grey and whanau, Brisbane, Australia
Hi, Warren Brown here, Ian's son.  Dad played through the sixties in bands in Christchurch, backing bands like the Invaders, the Radars, and many more, before leaving to live in Aussie because you couldn't get a Hammond organ here at the time.  He had his own 5 piece band over there and sometimes he backed other bands, one of which was Cold Chisel in the early days.  He was in the band before in an outback Pub, and Jimmy said "where you going mate, don't pack that organ up".  He said they stacked speakers all the way to the ceiling, right the way along one side of the Pub.  He could hardly hear himself play it was that loud!  When he returned to Auckland in 1979 he started gigging around Auckland and formed the Sound One Band, taking the name from the Roland company Sound One, where he worked selling music gear around NZ.  He sold 2 million dollars in one year and was salesman of the year.  He also backed some of the members in Herbs.  I asked Willie Hona if he would do a gig for my Dad doing the Herbs numbers.  Back then Willie was a grand a gig (just him), and he said out of respect for Ian he would do it for 50 bucks and free beer.  Ian met his wife Manu who's amazing voice lifted them to another level again, having 7 piece bands with the likes of Ben Tawhiti, George Bennett, Tom Grey, Bill Wolfgram, Ted Ramaka, Bill Sevesi, Alan Witana, Richard Pihama, and many more.  Dad was a special person with music in his soul.  The first song he ever played me was 'Love is in the Air' in the seventies.  I will never forget that Hammond organ sound, and every time I hear a Hammond I will think of you.  Love you Dad, you taught me any song I ever wanted to hear.  I will never forget our journey - Warren Brown
Sorry to hear this, my sympathies to his family and friends - Johnny Croot
Many of us old school guys knew Brownie as a big generous guy who played alongside some of the Maori musician legends from the 60’s and 70’s.  He started his playing days in ChCh in the 60’s and was one of those guys that everyone knew and respected.  A league fan who lived in Brookvale Sydney for many years before returning home and living in Auckland.  He was a well-known figure in the music industry and for some years represented Soundone/Roland in the formative years.  A keyboard player with a pedigree known across the club circuit in Auckland and upper NI where he performed alongside his wife Manu (herself a fine musician) and some of the greats such as Martin King, Dick Smith, Bill Sevesi, Bill Wolfgram - Nev Claughton
(click here to email me your tribute to Ian and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

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