Tony and the Initials

Tony and the Initials L to R: Don Evans, Tony Eagleton, Alan Ruffell and Harry McConnachie

Original Line-Up:
    Tony Eagleton (Lead Guitar / Vocals)
    Alan Ruffell (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Barry Grehan (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Don Evans (Bass Guitar / Vocals)
    Harry McConnachie (Drums)

Tony and the Initials were a successful Wellington group around from 1960 to 1967.

Their story begins in the UK, when Tony Eagleton and his friend Don Evans were in a backing band for Tommy Steele's brother Colin Hicks. They went on the road as Colin Hicks and the Cabin Boys. Meanwhile, Tony's brother Derek, was already in New Zealand and he persuaded Tony to come and have a look. So Tony and Don put together a band and got a job for the band on the "Dominion Monarch" for the return trip to New Zealand. They liked what they saw, and at the end of the voyage they flew back to Wellington in June 1960.

Tony and his brother took over the running of the Carousel Cabaret in Tory Street. This is where Tony and the Initials began their residency. They were very popular and in huge demand, even providing support for touring artists like Cliff Richard & the Shadows and Adam Faith.

In 1963 they accepted the residency at another popular Wellington night spot, the Caltex Lounge in Taranaki Street. They stayed there until the band folded in 1967.

Over the years there were several changes in members. Barry Grehan was the first to leave. He was replaced by Leo Clarke from the Skyrockets. He played rhythm guitar, but also had a great voice. Harry McConnachie left and replacement drummers included John Philpott, Peter McKee (also from the Skyrockets) and Terry Collier. Pianist Walter Neale was also in the group for a period.

Before breaking up in 1967, the Tony and the Initials recorded 17 singles, four EPs and two albums.

They first recorded on the Kiwi label. For Kiwi there were 11 singles between 1960 and 1963, and an album "On Again-Off Again" in 1963.

In 1963 an EP was released in France on the Pathe label.

Locally there was a switch to the Viking label in 1964. On Viking there were 5 singles, 3 EP's and an album.


The third EP Viking VE 215 released as "Leo Clark with Tony and the Initials" is not shown.

Tony and the Initials can also be found on the following compilations:-


New Zealand Music