David Hedley is a Wairarapa bookseller who has also had a successful parallel career as a specialist publisher.
Hedleys Books in Masterton is one of the few independent booksellers left in New Zealand and has been family run since 1907.
You wouldn’t expect a Wairarapa bookseller to pepper conversation with references to George Harrison and Jeff Beck; but David is friends with some of the biggest names in rock music.
It started with a collaboration back in the 1970s with a UK company, Genesis Publications, to print limited edition hand-made books.
The owner of that company was good friends with George Harrison and David too became close to the former Beatle. Through Harrison he met Derek Taylor, the Beatles publicist.
“Derek was a great guy. Not only had he had dealings with The Beatles, but also Californian bands such as The Beach Boys, The Mamas and Papas and The Byrds. “
Later in life Taylor entered the corporate music world and worked for Warner Brothers Records for a time and at Apple Corp.
David co-published, with Genesis, Taylor’s limited edition memoir, 50 Years Adrift (In An Open-Necked Shirt), a project with which Harrison was heavily involved.
Fifty Years Adrift was a huge success not least David says, because Harrison agreed to help promote it.
“I was talking to George at his home Friar Park and he said ‘Do you think the book will sell?’ And I said ‘Well it will sell if you help promote it!”
Harrison came to Australia and New Zealand in 1986 to promote the book which sold out all 2000 copies.
“He was being a great friend to Derek, he was very good to his friends and there was quite a network in that sense.”
David has been involved in a string of publishing projects that have touched on the world of pop and rock and roll.
He’s just finished publicity in California with guitar legend Jeff Beck for a limited edition memoir, BECKC01, and he says he has another publishing project coming up with another music icon, Mick Fleetwood.