Musician and Hit Singer-Songwriter

BY THORSTEN KAEDING

Slippin' Away

Publicity still of singer-musician Max Merritt in an open-necked shirt, head leaning on his hand and looking away from the camera

Max Merritt, year unknown. NFSA: 506220

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1941, Max Merritt went on to become one of the giants of the Australian and New Zealand music scenes in the 1960s and 70s. 

His 1969 album Max Merritt and the Meteors is a landmark album in Australia, helping usher in a sophisticated R&B-tinged rock which perfectly encapsulated where Australian popular music was heading in the 1970s.

His best known song was 'Slippin' Away', off 1975's A Little Easier album. The song showcases Max’s superb voice and smooth musicianship.

Reaching No. 2 in the Australian charts it remains one of the most recognised and loved songs from the period.

Listen to an excerpt from an NFSA oral history interview with Max Merritt, conducted by Nick Weare in 2008. Max talks about being discovered by Harry M Miller in New Zealand after he stole the show as opening act for Johnny O'Keefe:

Max relocated to the US in 1977 but continued to visit and tour Australia. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008 and passed away in Los Angeles on 24 September 2020 after a long battle with the rare autoimmune disease, Goodpasture's syndrome.