Sandy became notorious for her skimpy outfits. One revealing zebra-skin bikini was banned on staid New Zealand television in the mid-1960s.
She was our first pop superstar of the TV age – a 1960s New Zealand Paris Hilton. Liverpool-born dental assistant Sandy Edmonds rose to become the swinging, groovy face of youth on pop show C’mon, even though her musical contribution is barely remembered.
New Zealand’s 1960s began with the first flickering black-and-white TV broadcasts, helping connect us to global pop culture. Johnny Devlin touched off the ‘youthquake’ of the late 1950s, but the Beatles visit in 1964 really kick-started the long 1960s pop party. TV shows like Let’s go and C’mon boomed as local youngsters dressed up like their shaggy counterparts overseas.
Edmonds embodied the promise of teenage freedom. She became a mascot for the Royal New Zealand Navy and a clothes horse for trendy mod fashions. She was hyped as a New Zealand version of blonde bombshell Ursula Andress; one risqué costume Sandy Edmonds wore, based on Raquel Welch’s cave woman bikini in One million years BC, was banned on TV.
It was all about the look. Few remember the string of covers she sang, which included 'Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows' and the infamous 'I love onions'. But in the mid-1960s Edmonds outshone rivals like Dinah Lee and drew thousands to personal appearances.
Edmonds headed for Australia in 1968 and, after a brief nightclub career, she dropped out of sight. A ‘Where’s Sandy’ website was launched in the 1990s as rumours flew of her being captured by bandits in the Khyber Pass. In 2005 she was found to be designing high fashion in Melbourne. The sound of Sandy, an album of her recordings, was released later that year.
Sandy Edmonds – groovy queen of the jet set