5 Aug 2013

Singer of NZ classic dies

5:36 pm on 5 August 2013

The singer of one of New Zealand's best known songs, Blue Smoke, has died. Pixie Costello, also known as Pixie Williams, was 85.

The song, written by Ruru Karaitiana and sung by Ms Costello, marked the beginning of the New Zealand recording industry, being the first record to be wholly produced in the country.

Chris Bourke, author of Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music, says the song is important.

"There's always been music in New Zealand. What the significance of Blue Smoke is it's the start of an industry where there's a local record label putting out local records by local artists and written by locals as well. Blue Smoke really got things rolling."

Mr Bourke says in 2011, Pixie Costello's daughter Amelia and a team of music professionals digitally remastered 13 of her songs and put them on a CD.

Following the launch, The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand recognised PIxie Costello, presenting her with a Triple Platinum Award for Blue Smoke and Single Platinum Award for the Let's Talk it Over.