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Rip It Up live on Papers Past

16 May 2019

Remember when the pub manager killed the power during a gig by Flying Nun Band The Clean? Were you there when someone sang “Flick, the Little Fire Engine” at a Toy Love gig?

Refresh your memory on Papers Past, the National Library’s website for digitised newspapers and magazines.

Rip It Up was the influential New Zealand music magazine, started by Murray Cammick and Alastair Dougal in 1977. There were 377 issues published over 38 years, before the magazine closed in 2015.

National Library has been working with music entrepreneur Simon Grigg, who purchased the Rip It Up archive when it was put up for sale in 2016, and together have made the first 102 issues available online.

“Rip It Up was a massive influence on New Zealand popular music, particularly during the late 1970s and 1980s”, says Dr Michael Brown, Music Curator at the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the National Library).

“It gave local scenes around the country national exposure, stoking interest especially in the rise of independent music. Many notable music journalists and critics featured in the pages of Rip It Up.”

Andrew Fagan, frontman of iconic 1980s band The Mockers says, "Just to get a mention in the local news segment made a new fledgling band feel probably more relevant than they deserved to feel. To get on the front cover was a gratifying acknowledgement of national recognition. It made you feel like you'd arrived.... As soon as a pile of Rip It Ups appeared in the local record shop they were gone.”

“It served as a platform for everyone who was bothering to make music locally. The International acts almost paled into insignificance given the significant role it played for us locals."

Papers Past is The National Library’s online collection of digitised historical newspapers, periodicals and documents. It provides full-text access to 148 newspapers and 27 periodical titles, the Donald McLean Papers, and the Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives (AJHRs) and covers the period from 1839 to 2017. With over 6 million pages available to search for free, Papers Past is one of the leading research resources in New Zealand.


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