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Sharon O'Neill

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Sharon Lea O’Neill (born 23 November 1952, Nelson, New Zealand) is a singer-songwriter and pianist from New Zealand, who had an Australasian hit single in 1983 with “Maxine” which reached #16 on both the Australian Kent Music Report and Recording Industry Association of New Zealand charts.

O’Neill began her career in the 1970s in her home country, then gained moderate success in Australia with the hit “Words” (AUS #56) and the subsequent singles “How Do You Talk to Boys?” (AUS #25, 1980), “Maybe” (AUS #38, 1981), “Losing You” (AUS #26, 1983), and “Power” (AUS #36, 1984).

The early 1980s proved her most commercially successful period, composing and performing the soundtrack to the 1981 film “Smash Palace”, and with the Foreign Affairs album in 1983 spawning her biggest hit “Maxine” (AUS #16, 1983) a song which chronicled the life of a Kings Cross prostitute. A legal battle with her then record company Sony caused a delay in her career. During the enforced hiatus, O’Neill wrote songs for ABC TV series Sweet and Sour (1984) including the title song performed by Deborah Conway (later recorded by O’Neill as “In Control”) and “Glam to Wham”. O’Neill met American keyboardist and songwriter, Alan Mansfield on Dragon’s Body And The Beat Tour of New Zealand in 1984—they later became domestic and professional partners.

In 1987 O’Neill returned with arguably her best album (if under-rated at the time) Danced in the Fire on Polygram which featured some biographical songs about the legal wrangles with Sony.

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