It’s summer party season again, and you can’t have a party without music. So here at NZ On Screen we've pulled together a playlist full of Kiwi anthems, guaranteed to liven up the dreariest office shindig and get you through that ‘challenging’ family Christmas. From Kings to The Clean, Split Enz to Savage, there’s something for everyone. So, put the sausage rolls on, clear out the garage, pull up a crate and get ready to bust out some serious moves.
Our playlist kicks off in the 60s, with the least Kiwi — but arguably most iconic — of our local anthems. Starting life as a little-known Engelbert Humperdinck B-side, there’s no denying, or indeed explaining, the power that 'Ten Guitars' continues to hold over our nation.
Moving through to the 70s, Split Enz’s 'I See Red' and Dragon’s 'April Sun in Cuba' can still be counted on to get the dance floor going. On to the 80s, and things start to get more rowdy, with Th’Dudes’ beer-soaked 'Bliss' and The Swingers’ 'Counting The Beat'. Time for a singalong, so it’s out with 'Slice of Heaven' and The Netherworld Dancing Toys’ 'For Today' – although if you can match Annie Crummer’s vocals, you should probably consider taking your singing career from the garage to the stage.
Best not to attempt that breakdancing throwback to 'Poi-E', even though the song still sounds amazing 35 years on. Maybe it might be wise to grab a bit of a sit-down and a head nod to Herbs 'Long Ago'. Or, if you’re more inclined, perhaps a pogo to The Clean’s 'Tally Ho!', The Androidss’ 'Auckland Tonight', or even Blam Blam Blam’s 'There Is No Depression in New Zealand'. Admittedly the lyrics don’t exactly scream ‘festive season’, but hey, there’s always room for a spot of social commentary right? And that Don McGlashan...he knows a thing or two about a good song.
Heading into the 90s, we’re off with a stone-cold classic — as witnessed in the stands at every All Blacks test. Ever. Is there a single New Zealander immune to the charms of 'Why Does Love do this to Me?' I don’t know (oh-oh-oh-oh). While you’re up dancing, may as well get those tresses shaking to Push Push’s 'Trippin'. Can’t Get Enough? On to some Supergroove then, or perhaps a bit of Three the Hard Way. What’s the time? Must be about time for another goodie from Southside of Bombay. Hey, remember back when – and we’re talking before our Lorde here — that other big Kiwi track went to number one around the world? How Bizarre was that, aye?
Right, time for the oldies to call it a night: we’re on to the 2000s so it’s strictly 'Young Blood' from here on in. Let’s kick things off with a couple of festival favourites – put your hands in the air for Shapeshifter’s 'Electric Dream', and how about some Fat Freddy’s? How many dudes you know roll like this? Well, pretty much just Scribe really. Must be ready for a bit of a chill ay? Better bust out some Che Fu and Tiki Taane. Hey, remember Nesian Mystik?
Wow, can you believe it’s nearly been ten years since Ladyhawke’s 'My Delirium' came out? And five since Ladi6’s 'Diamonds'? Speaking of six, how about some Six60? Man, those guys are Savage on stage.
Ok, it's definitely time for bed. Ouch, reckon that’s going to hurt tomorrow? Ah, Don’t Worry Bout it.
- Nicky Harrop is a longtime Kiwi music fan and sausage roll enthusiast, who has worked for multiple record companies and lived to tell the tale. From 2014 to 2017, she was on the team of both NZ On Screen and sister site AudioCulture.