White Rabbit guitar legend rockets back to stardom
At home in Te Awamutu, golden guitarist Peter Posa is on the top of the Kiwi music charts and on top of the world.
His album ‘White Rabbit: The Very Best Of Peter Posa’ is fast approaching platinum, (15,000 sales) after debuting at the top of the album charts in early August, displacing 18-year-old Justin Bieber.
And Father’s Day sales could see the sound-of-the-60s album stay atop the charts for a fifth week.
The 70-year-old hasn’t enjoyed such reaction to an album (he has recorded 20) since his original multi-platinum selling debut The White Rabbit was released in 1963.
Thousands of Kiwis took part in a nation-wide "hunt" to come up with a title for the catchy tune.
Viking Records "backroom boy" Murdoch Riley (85) recalled radio station DJs were "creatively" fuelled with carrots to encourage fans.
Mr Posa was then just 23.
“I never expected it to be this huge. Almost platinum in five weeks is incredible,” Mr Posa told NBR ONLINE.
“It’s marvelous for an old bugger like me.”
Sony Music strategic marketing and promotions manager Scott Morrison agrees four weeks at No 1 is remarkable.
“When was the last time a 70-year-old has done that? Or any New Zealand artist for that matter?” Mr Morrison asks.
It was Mr Morrison who approached Mr Posa about releasing the remastered collection last year. It had been 15 years since previous collection, The best of Peter Posa, was released in 1998 and Sony felt that was time to bring him back.
Mr Posa selected the track list and oversaw remastering of the original tracks to 2012 standards.
While it includes the must-have classic White Rabbit, which made him a household name, the album has a different track list to the 1998 best-of compilation.
“We all thought it would work but we’re pleasantly surprised considering the market is so tough,” Mr Morrison says.
“It’s happy music. It makes people feel good."
He acknowledged selling physical music albums is easier when you’re marketing to Mr Posa’s older fan base.
Marbecks Queen St says White Rabbit: The Very Best Of Peter Posa' is the perfect album for its customers.
"People that buy CDs are the age group who grew up listening to him," sales assistant Bryan Clifford says.
More life in the album and in me, says Posa
Peter Posa will celebrate his 71st birthday at a local cinema in Te Awamutu this month.
But he says he's feeling 20 years younger after the album's successful release.
"It's motivated me to such a height. I've got to follow it up with something," he says. "Otherwise, I'll come down with a crash."
"If it's another album, I'll have to record a new one, because another nostalgia album won't beat this one, he says.
"This is the very best."
If he's up to the task, Sony Music says a new album is certainly a possibility.
Mr Posa commuted to Auckland during the remastering which has given his chosen songs a much "bigger" and far richer sound, he explains.
"And there's numbers not on the original collection so it's a better variety and better genre of music now."
It includes a bit of jazz and some Latin American to make it "more sparkly".
"If I say it's good it must be good because I am the most critical bugger in the world."
For interested guitar fans: Mr Posa plays a Gretsch Tennessee Rose and a Gibson 335 in the White Rabbit album.
These days Mr Posa prefers a Yamaha acoustic electric.
"I like the acoustic sound. I think it's more expressive."