Canterbury country music star John Hore Grenell has died

John Hore Grenell at his home in White Cliffs, Canterbury in 2014.

KIRK HARGREAVES / Stuff

John Hore Grenell at his home in White Cliffs, Canterbury in 2014.

New Zealand country music legend John Hore Grenell has died at the age of 78.

Fellow band member, producer and friend Dave Maybee said Grenell died in Christchurch on Wednesday evening.

Grenell made his first record in 1963 and was most famous for his version of Welcome to our World in 1990, which was featured in a Toyota advertising campaign.

He also represented New Zealand at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee in 1966 and 1974.

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Grenell loved horses and bred Appaloosans.

KIRK HARGREAVES / Stuff

Grenell loved horses and bred Appaloosans.

Maybee said Grenell was a shy country boy with an incredible voice.

“He was quite a shy star,” he said.

“He was blessed with a one-in-a-million voice. That voice of his about him was really, really special. He rose to stardom very early and was thrust into national and international fame from a young age.

“At times, he did struggle with that. He was a simple farm boy from Ranfurly, really. “

Grenell ran a farm in White Cliffs, Canterbury and bred horses.

Grenell had a one-in-a-million voice, friend Dave Maybee said.

KIRK HARGREAVES / Stuff

Grenell had a one-in-a-million voice, friend Dave Maybee said.

“He ended up with a small farm where he raised Appaloosa horses. He established quite a reputation with horses. He was an amazing horseman himself, ” Maybee said.

“That side of him was very close to nature.

“A lot of his songs were about that and how we have to look after and preserve our world.”

Maybee remembered Grenell recording the vocals for a 14-song album in just one day.

“Working with John in a studio was quite extraordinary. He was one of very few singers who could really sing in tune, ”he said.

“There were no breaks. He just sang. And he would get it in one or maybe two takes. “

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