The Swingers

The Swingers were a New Zealand rock band who were together from 1979 to 1982 and whose biggest single was the song “Counting the Beat”. Formed out of the remnants of the Suburban Reptiles, the founding members were Phil Judd (guitar, vocals), Wayne Stevens (a.k.a. Bones Hillman) (bass), and Mark Hough (a.k.a. Buster Stiggs) (drums). Formed in 1979, the band released the single “One Good Reason” which was a top 20 hit in New Zealand. They also appeared on the Ripper Records sampler AK79 and established a large live following after a residency at Auckland’s Liberty Stage club.

“Counting the Beat” is a single by New Zealand rock band The Swingers released in 1981 from their album Practical Jokers (released in the USA as Counting the Beat). The single was performed by The Swingers; the group’s frontman Phil Judd was previously a member of Split Enz. Although the band had several hit songs in New Zealand, “Counting the Beat” was their only major chart success in Australia, and they are considered a one-hit wonder in that country. The song is well known for its catchy beat and memorable music video.

There were long delays in the release of the song: while recorded in August 1980, the final mix was not ready until November, and the decision then made by Mushroom to not release the song until after Christmas. Between its recording and release, Buster Stiggs had left the band and joined Australian rock group Models.

On its eventual release in February, the song was an immediate hit, reaching #1 in Australia on 2 March 1981 and in New Zealand that May (where it spent 9 weeks in the top two). The song was the number one charting song of 1981 in Australia according to the Kent Music Report end of year chart. As of July 1997 it had sold over 100,000 copies in Australia.


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