Still in love with legendary Dragon after all these years

LEGENDARY Australian/New Zealand band Dragon is one of those groups who now generates some serious career statistics.

Formed 40 years ago in New Zealand, there have been 40 different musicians in various line ups of a band that has produced four Top Ten hits along with a string of memorable albums.

Dragon's golden period was from 1975 through to 1979 when they were regulars on Countdown and toured Australia and New Zealand relentlessly.

Rumours of drug use and debauchery swirled around the band in earlier years with one of the bands principal songwriters, Paul Hewson, dying of a drug overdose in New Zealand in 1985 after leaving the band.

The core of the band was brothers Marc and Todd Hunter up until Marc was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 1997. He died in July 1998.

This new 40-track compilation, The Dragon Years, has material from every era and just about every line-up of the band.

The second disc includes 20 tracks from the band with its current singer Mark Williams.

As is the case with most double CDs this one should have been culled to half the size.

Many of the songs on this second disc are solid enough but lacklustre production lets them down even.

Its disc one that contains the gems starting with the bona fide classic, April Sun in Cuba.

This song, along with Are You Old Enough and Still in Love with You, together with the 1983 comeback single, Rain, are worth the price of admission.

The energy and assertion of the band together with Marc Hunter's edgy and driven vocals ensure these songs still sound fresh.

Other songs such as Dreams of Ordinary Men, Sunshine, O Zambezi and Get That Jive still stand up, and their version of Kool and the Gang's Celebration will always get your party started.

Baby boomers may already have the highlight tracks on vinyl and for musical trainspotters the song writing credits are illuminating.

Buried there are details that show how impressive Paul Hewson was as a songwriter.

He wrote or co-wrote all the hits and deserves to be as revered as Neil Finn or Paul Kelly.

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