Al Dawson was born in Napier grew up in Hastings where he attended central school and formed his first band while attending Hastings boys high school. he made his fist public appearance on stage at Napier sound shell for a Rothman’s talent quest in January 1965 with his band group X where they played an up beat “in the mood”.

Al brought a  new fender stratocaster guitar and a Vox AC30 Amplifier from Sutcliffe’s music shop in Hasting’s and in 1966 joined with successful top/pop group the hand. The hand were billed as one of hawkes bays hottest bands playing widely from Gisborne to Palmerston North. Al’s band frequently played at Napier’s hottest night spot, The Top Hat Ballroom where they preformed with many big name stars of the time, such as Mr Lee Grant, The Chicks, Larry’s Rebels, The Avengers, Fourmyula, Simple Image, The La De Da’s and many others they won the aussie a go a go battle of the hands in April 1967 and then ‘Battle of the sounds’ awards in June 1968.