In 1983, I discovered the New Zealand / Australian rock band Dragon. And fell in love with them. I played their hit song “Rain” on my college station practically every hour on the hour. When I wrote for Goldmine magazine, I begged the publisher to allow me to interview members of Dragon for a feature article in the magazine – which allowed me to interview several members of the band. Even today, I posses a fully autographed copy of Dragon’s “Body and the Beat” LP, which is framed and hanging in a place of honor on my living room wall.
Oh, you’ve never heard “Rain”? Let me help.
I did mention that Dragon was a New Zealand / Australian band – the Hunter brothers, Marc (lead singer) and Todd (guitar) were from New Zealand, while other members came from various other locales. Drummer Terry Chambers (former XTC) was from England, while keyboardist Alan Mansfield (who joined the band as songwriter and producer in 1983) is from the United States.
Alan stayed in Australia with the band, and performed on several more Dragon albums, including the LPs Dreams of Ordinary Men, Bondi Road and Incarnations. He married popular NZ singer-songwriter Sharon O’Neill, and together they penned songs for John Farnham’s album Age of Reason. Alan would produce two of Sharon’s 1980’s LP’s, and the duo would go on tour with such artists as Robert Palmer and Leo Sayer.
I’m mentioning Alan Mansfield, because I just saw this notice in the Sharon O’Neill Facebook page.
A Message from Sharon (Posted by Page Admin)
Kia Ora everyone….just checking in…..how are you all holding up?
I am so happy to have been able to do my few concerts in Aotearoa circa Valentine’s Day 2019. Then towards the end of that year, an ugly, evil little virus wormed its way slowly into our lives then picked up speed into 2020, taking our breath away and leaving us in horror and wonder. What happened to 2020? Something turned the music way down low.
On top of all that, I have something to share with you all….Alan, the true love of my life has been diagnosed with cancer. This is a new and strange path for us both. It’s Alan’s cancer, but mine too because we have always weathered the ups and downs of life together as a team and this hurdle is no exception.
He is in the best of hands at Chris O’Brien’s Lifehouse here in Sydney, an extraordinary facility we are thankful to be part of and it gives us an inner strength of awareness. Needless to say we are arm in arm, taking bold strides and aiming for blue skies and new songs. Please take care and do whatever it takes to stay COVID safe.
Sending positive thoughts and love for happy days to come.
Damn it. I hate this. 20 years ago, cancer previously claimed Dragon’s amazing frontman, Marc Hunter. And now, this.
Cancer is a tough foe. But the world has made tremendous strides in the treatment and curing of cancer. Today, the first question isn’t, “How long do I have left to live,” so much as it is, “What kind of treatments are there to help me survive for as long as possible?”
Heck, we’ve come to the time when some people have lived a longer lifespan post-diagnosis than they did pre-diagnosis.
But that being said, send some blessings and love and support to Alan and Sharon. And a prayer that the oncologists they use are knowledgeable enough and skilled enough to give so many more years to their relationship and to their life.
Keep Alan in your heart and in your prayers. And if you have the chance, please consider a donation to the Chris O’Brien Lighthouse in Sydney at this link.
Let’s make this work. I know that there’s plenty of support for Alan from family and from friends and from Dragon fans around Oceania.
Oh, yeah, and those Dragon fans in the United States … we gotcha covered, too. Swift recovery, good man.
How did I not see videos of this band on MTV back in the day? Simple answer might be “Rain” wasn’t in heavy rotation.
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