‘Yesterday was just the beginning of my life’ topped the Kiwi music charts for three weeks. Williams successfully combined soul and pop with an image that merged glam rock with disco.
The Northland-born singer achieved fame in New Zealand before crossing the Tasman in 1977. It all began when the group Face – Williams and schoolmates from Dargaville High – came third in the 1971 New Zealand Battle of the Bands. One of the judges, Lew Pryme, became the group’s manager and eventually persuaded Mark to go out on his own.
An appearance on the television show Free ride helped launch Mark’s career. He became known for his silky voice and intriguing image – unisex clothes and a touch of mascara. The single ‘Yesterday was just the beginning of my life’ was released in 1975, and his debut album Mark Williams became New Zealand’s best-selling pop/rock album of the 1970s.
In 1977, the single ‘It doesn’t matter anymore’ went to no. 1 on the charts. Soon afterwards, Williams moved to Australia, where he built a career as a backup vocalist for the likes of Tim Finn, Jenny Morris, Ian Moss and Richard Clapton, as well as recording his own material.
Probably his best-known work is the platinum single ‘Show no mercy’, which was chosen to launch the 1990 Australian rugby league grand final and continues to be used as a motivational anthem.
Mark Williams became lead singer of the veteran New Zealand rock band Dragon in 2005. He is still based in Sydney.