Claude Papesch

Claude Papesch was a blind multi-instrumentalist from New Zealand.[1] He played with many New Zealand outfits as well as well known Australian blues groups, Chain and Savage Rose. He also was a solo artist and released recordings of his own. He has an important place in New Zealand rock & roll history.

Claude Papesch
BornNew Plymouth, New Zealand
Died2 February 1987
InstrumentsOrgan, piano, saxophone
LabelsHis Master's Voice
Associated actsJohnny Devlin & the Devils, Chain, Savage Rose


Papesch was originally from New Plymouth. He moved to Auckland when he was young.[1]


New Zealand

In the late 1950s, he was a member of Johnny Devlin's band Johnny Devlin & the Devils. He played both piano and saxophone while the group.[2] In 1964, he was the musical director for two of New Zealand's major record companies.[3] Also in that year, he wrote a song for Wellington singer Maurice Cook which was recorded with an orchestral backing. He had multiple roles in the recording session as arranger the, directing the recording session, playing the piano and adding his vocal backing.[4] In 1966, it was reported in the edition of 7 May of The New Zealand Herald that he was the head tutor of the New Zealand College of Entertainers in Auckland. He was also its founder.[5]


Papesch came over to Australia with Tim Piper and they both played in an early formation of Chain.[6] His keyboard playing was evident on the B side of a Chain single, "Mr. Time".[7] He was with the group from August to October 1969. Then Papesch along with Ace Follington and Tim Piper left Chain to form Savage Rose.[8]

In 1973 his album Hammond Spectacular was released on His Master's Voice SOEX-10021. The following year Hammond Electrique was also released.[9] Lyn Barnett helped with backing vocals on Hammond Electrique.[10]


He was elected Deputy Mayor of the Blue Mountains City Council in 1984. He also represented the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Rylstone districts. Due to illness, he left his public position.[11] He was also an active member of the Labor Party.[12]


Papesch died on 2 February 1987 at age 45. He was survived by his partner, son, and daughter.[13]


Act Title Release info Year Notes
Claude Papesch and the Peter Posa Combo "In Apple Blossom Time" / "Danny Boy" Zodiac Z45 1065 11960 NZ release
Claude Papesch "In The Chapel In The Moonlight" / "Sweetie Baby" Philips 338041PF 1964 NZ release
Claude Papesch "Yoshiko" / "Chapter Four" Philips PF 338051 1964 NZ release
Claude Papesch "The Way You Look At Him" / "Something You Got" His Master's Voice HR.230 1965 NZ release
Claude Papesch "Not The Way To Move Me " / "Petra" EMI EMI-10882 1975 Aust release[14]
Title Release info Year Notes
Hammond Spectacular His Master's Voice SOEX-10021 1973 Australian release
Hammond Electrique Zodiac ZLP 1055 1974 NZ release
Hammond Electrique His Master's Voice SOELP-10175 1974 Aust release[15]


  1. Audio Culture, 1 August 2016 – Claude Papesch Profile – Keith Newman
  2. Behind the Rock and Beyond, By Leon Isackson – GET 'IM FOR THE BAND and RYANNY GETS A PADDLE
  3. Count Down, 14 August 1964 – Vol. 1 No.9 Page 9 A tribute to Claude Papesch by Pete Gordon
  4. The Auckland Star, 24 October 1964 – Claude Papesch versatile
  5. The New Zealand Herald, 7 May 1966 – Pop artists learn their trade in a serious academy
  6. I Remember when I was Young: The Matt Taylor Story, By Toby Burrows, Phil Riseborough – Page 82, Page 83
  7. Tomorrow is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, 1966–1970, edited by Iain McIntyre – Page 140 16. 'Mr. Time' – Chain
  8. Milesago – CHAIN
  9. DiscogsClaude Papesch Discography, Albums
  10. Discogs – Claude Papesch – Hammond Electrique, Credits
  11. Audio Culture, 1 August 2016 – Claude Papesch Profile – Keith Newman
  12. Milesago – CLAUDE PAPESCH
  13. – Claude Papesch
  14. Discogs – Claude Papesch Discography, Singles & EPs
  15. Discogs – Claude Papesch Discography
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