Max Merritt – The Legend
Another line-up change occurred towards the end of 1964. Mike Angland left and was replaced by Teddy Toi, who had previously been a member of the Sundowners. At the same time, the group came under the management of Graham Dent, who had previously seen the group while managing Johnny Devlin.
In late 1964 there was also a switch to RCA and they went into the studio and recorded a number of songs with Eldred Stebbing. In December 1964 Dent took the group back to Australia. It was a more professional approach this time and Dent organised a month long season at the Rex Hotel. While they were there, they also made their first Australian television appearance on Johnny O'Keefe's "Sing Sing Sing" series.
In April 1965, the second Meteor's album was finally released. Called "Max Merritt's Meteors", it contained a wide range of styles, in keeping with the versatility of the band. From it came the single "So Long Babe"/"You're Treatin' Me Bad". This single was also released in Australia.
With a bit more success behind them, they started living more comfortably in Sydney, but were still not rating with the teenagers in Australia. The top groups around at the time were still Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and a new group called the Easybeats. In September 1965, when Billy Thorpe lost some of his band, he approached Teddy Toi and Johnny Dick to join him. They accepted and Max had to find replacements. A short-lived line-up featuring bassist John Blake and drummer Bill Fleming didn't work out, so Max got Jimmy Hill and Billy Kristian (back for a second go).
Moving into 1966, the group had signed a new deal with the Parlophone label and released one single called "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"/"I've Been Trying", but after only six months with the group, Jimmy Hill left after reportedly having a fist fight with Max. The group had been signed to support the Rolling Stones / Searchers tour in February 1966, so Bill Fleming was called back temporarily for them to be able to fulfill their obligation.
The next person to fill the drummer's seat was Bruno Lawrence. He had been lured to Sydney by Ricky May to join his resident band at the Latin Quarter in King's Cross, a combo that also included Claude Papesch, from the Devils, and rising jazz saxophonist Bob Bertles. Ricky had also begun his own series on television, and brought Bruno in occasionally to play drums with his resident television band. One session in the series featured Max Merritt and the Meteors. Because they werewithout a drummer, Ricky suggested Bruno fill in for the video clip. Liking what they saw, they signed him up for the group.
Bruno soon influenced the group and it wasn't long before he changed their musical style. They recorded a couple of singles on Parlophone, the first, "You Deserve What You've Got"/"I Want So Much To Know You" didn't cause too much reaction, but in July the single "Shake"/"I Can't Help Myself" provided Max with his biggest New Zealand hit to date and also cracked the lower rungs of the Sydney charts. An EP called "Shake" was also released. It contained "I Can't Help Myself", "I Want So Much To Know You", "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "Shake".