Dave Dobbyn

Dave Dobbyn
Dave Dobbyn
Birth name David Joseph Dobbyn
Also known as Dave Dobbyn
Born 3 January 1957 (1957-01-03) (age 54)
Genres Pop, rock
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano bass
Years active 1979–present
Labels Warner
Sony BMG
Associated acts Th' Dudes
DD Smash
Website www.davedobbyn.co.nz

Dave Dobbyn, ONZM (born 3 January 1957) is an award-winning New Zealand musician, singer-songwriter and record producer. In his early career he was a member of the rock group Th' Dudes and was the main creative force in pop band DD Smash. Since then he has released the majority of his recordings as a solo performer.


Musical Career

Th' Dudes (1975-80)

Dobbyn's first success came with rock band, Th' Dudes, which he joined soon after leaving Sacred Heart College in the suburb of Glen Innes, Auckland. The band's hit song "Be Mine Tonight" (1978) won single of the year in 1979 in New Zealand, whilst their song "Bliss" (1980) has become an iconic New Zealand drinking song.

DD Smash (1980-86)

After Th' Dudes disbanded in 1980, Dobbyn formed pop group DD Smash. The band's first release was the single "Bull By The Horns" (1981), thought to be about Dobbyn overcoming the stage fright he sometimes experienced while performing with Th' Dudes. Their first album Cool Bananas (1982) debuted in the New Zealand charts at number one.

After Cool Bananas, DD smash released Deep In The Heart Of Taxes (1983), an album recorded live at Auckland's popular eighties venue Mainstreet. Their final album, The Optimist (1984), although slicker sounding production-wise than it's predecessor, showed signs of compromise with the dominant commercial, Blue-eyed soul inflected, synthpop sound of the post-New Wave era of British and Australian music which was flooding the New Zealand charts at the time. Dobbyn apparently had his eye on the larger Australian market and it was not long before he had a number one solo hit there.

In December 1984, DD Smash were playing an outdoor concert in Aotea Square in Auckland. During their set a power failure led sections of the crowd to become restless. Some of the crowd started throwing beer bottles and police arrested them. The situation escalated and the riot squad was called in. Dobbyn made negative remarks about the police which allegedly spurred on the crowd. The concert was stopped by the police and sections of the crowd rioted, smashing shop windows along Queen Street. Prime Minister David Lange called a commission of inquiry and as a result Dobbyn was charged with inciting a riot. The criminal prosecution against Dobbyn began June 1985. His lawyer successfully defended him and he was acquitted on the charge of "behaving in a manner likely to cause violence against person or property and using insulting language".[1]

When DD Smash eventually disbanded, partially to make room for the commercially expanding vision of Dobbyn, they left behind them the hit singles "Outlook for Thursday" (1983) and the violin-tinged, perennial classic "Whaling" (1984).

Solo career (1986-present)

When DD Smash folded, Dobbyn began a successful solo career, by writing the soundtrack music for the animated feature film Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale in 1986. The film yielded two hit singles: "You Oughta Be in Love" (1986) and the chart-topping "Slice of Heaven" (1986) recorded with the band Herbs. After the release of the film, Slice of Heaven became one of Dobbyn's best-known songs, frequently used in tourism advertisements aired on Australian television that encouraged people to visit New Zealand. As a result, many Australians jokingly referred to the song as the New Zealand National anthem.

Since 1988 Dobbyn has released seven solo albums and 3 compilations. Solo albums include the Mitchell Froom produced Lament for the Numb (1993), which included members of Elvis Costello's one time backing band. The album was called "un-releasable" by Dobbyns record label at the time and was shelved for a year until its eventual release. [2] Twist was released in 1994 and produced by fellow New Zealander singer-songwriter Neil Finn, whose contribution Dobbyn stated "was crucial to the sound of that record". [3] Twist is also notable for its inclusion of the Maori singer Emma Paki, who was popular in the country at the time of the albums release.

In 1999 Dobbyn joined Jan Hellriegel and Toi Iti to co-write "Read About It", the theme song of the Duffy Books in Homes programme [4] which is still performed by 100,000 children annually.

Dobbyn's hit song "Loyal" (1988) from his debut solo album Loyal (1988) was used as an anthem for Team New Zealand's failed 2003 America's Cup defence. He has also produced albums for Australian singer Grant McLennan and contributed to albums by Jenny Morris, Gyan Evans and Bic Runga. In 2000 Dobbyn toured New Zealand with Runga and Tim Finn. The tour was recorded and the live album, Together in Concert: Live (2000) was released soon after.

In 2005, Dobbyn released his sixth solo album; Available Light. The album received popular and critical acclaim. In the same year Dobbyn performed the lead single from Available Light, "Welcome Home" (2005) at the New Zealand Music Awards awards ceremony. During the performance, Ahmed Zaoui, who was appealing a security certificate issued due to alleged links to terrorist groups, appeared on stage with Dobbyn.[5]

2008 saw Dobbyn release Anotherland his most recent work. The album entered the NZ Top 40 Album Charts at Number 2[6] and remained in the charts for 6 weeks, eventually attaining Gold status.


At the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards Dobbyn won a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his 'talents and contributions'.[7] In 2005 and 2006 he won "Songwriter Of The Year" and "Best Male Solo Artist" respectively, both for his work on Available Light.

Ten songs written by Dave Dobbyn appeared in New Zealand's Top 100 songs (the Nature's Best series) as voted by APRA members. These were:

  • 3: Dave Dobbyn – "Loyal"
  • 7: Dave Dobbyn with Herbs – "Slice of Heaven"
  • 12: DD Smash – "Whaling"
  • 27: Th' Dudes – "Be Mine Tonight"
  • 29: Dave Dobbyn – "Beside You"
  • 31: DD Smash – "Outlook For Thursday"
  • 35: Dave Dobyyn – "Language"
  • 50: Th' Dudes – "Bliss"
  • 70: Dave Dobbyn – "You Oughta Be In Love"
  • 100: Dave Dobbyn – "Naked Flame"

Personal life

Dobbyn is a Born again Christian and has, for most of his career, been happily married to long time sweetheart Anneliese, with whom he has two children Grace and Eli.


Date Title Label NZ
Catalog Number
Studio Albums
1979 Right First Time
Th' Dudes
1982 So You Wanna Be a Rock n' Roll Star?
Th' Dudes
Cool Bananas
DD Smash
1984 The Optimist
DD Smash
1986 Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale
Various Artists
Sony BMG 5
1988 Loyal
Dave Dobbyn
CBS Records 9 460655 2
1993 Lament For The Numb
Dave Dobbyn
Warner Music 13 450992330-2
1994 Twist
Dave Dobbyn
Epic Records 8 477792.2
1998 The Islander
Dave Dobbyn
Columbia Records 1 491456.2
2000 Hopetown
Dave Dobbyn
Epic Records 9 498886.2
2005 Available Light
Dave Dobbyn
Sony BMG 3 5202672000
2008 Anotherland
Dave Dobbyn
2 88697327202
1993 The Collection
(Dave Dobbyn, Th' Dudes and DD Smash)
Columbia Records 4 496084.2
1999 Overnight Success
(Dave Dobbyn, Th' Dudes and DD Smash)
4 496084.2
2001 Where are the Girls?: Th' Definitive Collection
Th' Dudes
FMR Records 31 DUDES2001
2009 Beside You
(Dave Dobbyn, Th' Dudes and DD Smash)
Live Albums
1983 Live
DD Smash
Epic Music 11
2000 Together in Concert: Live
Tim Finn, Dave Dobbyn & Bic Runga.
2 5011402000
2006 2006 Reunion Tour – Live!
Th' Dudes


Year Title NZ
1978 "Be Mine Tonight"
Th' Dudes
1979 "That Look in Your Eyes"
Th' Dudes
1979 "Right First Time"
Th' Dudes
1979 "Walking in Light"
Th' Dudes
1980 "Tonight Again"
Th' Dudes
1980 "Bliss"
Th' Dudes
1980 "On the Rox"
Th' Dudes
1981 "Lipstick Power"
Dave Dobbyn
1981 "Bull By The Horns"
Dave Dobbyn
1981 "Repetition"
DD Smash
1982 "Devil You Know"
DD Smash
1983 "Outlook for Thursday"
DD Smash
1984 "Whaling"
DD Smash
1985 "Magic (What She Do)"
DD Smash
1985 "She Loves Me Back"
DD Smash
1986 "Slice of Heaven"
Dave Dobbyn with the Herbs
#1 #1
1986 "Shouldn't You Oughta Be"
Dave Dobbyn
1988 "Love You Like I Should"
Dave Dobbyn
1988 "Loyal"
Dave Dobbyn
1989 "Space Junk"
Dave Dobbyn and the Lunnettes
1991 "Shakey Isles"
Dave Dobbyn
1993 "Maybe the Rain"
Dave Dobbyn
1994 "Language"
Dave Dobbyn
1995 "Lap of the Gods"
Dave Dobbyn
1995 "Naked Flame"
Dave Dobbyn
1996 "Poor Boy"
ENZSO feat. Dave Dobbyn
1999 "Beside You"
Dave Dobbyn
2005 "Welcome Home"
Dave Dobbyn


  1. ^ Queen Street riot 1984 (from New Zealand history online, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage)
  2. ^ Dave Dobbyn Interview 2009
  3. ^ Dave Dobbyn Interview 2009
  4. ^ Duffy: Books in Homes
  5. ^ Zaoui sings with Dobbyn (from News Talk ZB news story, dated 2006-10-6
  6. ^ NZ Album Chart
  7. ^ Dobbyn Awarded ONZM in 2002 New Years Honours List

External links

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