The first season of Westside continued a grand tradition, one that began on parent show Outrageous Fortune: laying classic Kiwi tunes, where appropriate, into the mix. Later seasons of the crime and family prequel have offered more Kiwi gold. From Mr Lee Grant in a flashback to the 60s, to Split Enz and Hello Sailor, this collection shines the spotlight on an impressive parade of Kiwi songs — in order of their first appearance on the show.
Chosen as the theme tune of Outrageous Fortune spinoff Westside roughly four decades after it was first performed, this guitar and sax-driven rocker appeared on the first album by the legendary, on again off again Hello Sailor. Taken from music show Ready to Roll, this performance sees Brazier and band talking tough in leather about danger on the streets, and "nights like a razor blade". Harry Lyon snarls over his red guitar, Graham Brazier plays a saxophone with a price tag on it, and Dave McArtney adopts classic bored rocker pose.
This was the song that rocketed Mark Williams to fame, and the top of the New Zealand charts. The accompanying album became the biggest selling local pop/rock release of the 70s. Williams has described how Kiwis reacted to him with "either absolute adoration or absolute disgust". Having relocating to calmer climes in Australia, he returned to Wellington in 1981 and recorded a live TV special — from which this version is taken. On first hearing the demo, Williams was not impressed; but the song transformed after the call was made during recording to "swing it a bit".
The 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games were a huge event for New Zealand, and for local television (they helped launch colour telly). The Games needed a song; young performer Steve Allen was commissioned to provide it, after winning a 1973 contest on music show Studio One. The catchy song became synonymous with the event, and a huge hit; later it was reprised to promote the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Here Allen performs the song at a 1985 gala celebrating 25 years of Kiwi television: belting out the "peace and love" message, backed by a large choir and orchestra.
Mike Chunn's post-Split Enz band was formed as a vehicle for his brother Geoff's songs and this single from their second album is the one they are best remembered for (placing 97th in APRA's 'Nature's Best' Top 100 NZ songs in 2001). It's a classic car-as-metaphor-for-love song (although the model in question sounds like it needs some work). The line "come and come get you" is apparently a sly reference to the very continental VW Kharmen Ghia. This TVNZ studio video captured their live energy but inexplicably put them in a graveyard set much to the band's dismay.
'Sierra Leone' was one of those songs that quickly stood out from the pack. Andrew McLennan's synth-pop track won his new band Coconut Rough a deal with Mushroom Records, then became a runaway hit in 1983. The video, slick for the time, features bright colours, a running motif, and African imagery. But the pressure of being in demand for a single song became an albatross around the band's neck. As McLennan told website AudioCulture, "‘Sierra Leone’ became the only song from our repertoire that people wanted to hear and no matter what we did we couldn’t follow it up."
This short clip marks the only known footage of John Hanlon performing his biggest hit 'Lovely Lady', via NZBC talent competition Studio One. The song ended up placing second, but went on to spend 20 weeks in the NZ charts. It reached number one, and won the 1974 APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award. Despite his immense success — he won another Silver Scroll the following year, and earned multiple RATA awards — Hanlon has faded somewhat from New Zealand’s cultural consciousness, since concentrating from 1978 on a career in advertising.
Captured on a single camera, Wellington band Hogsnort Rupert perform their number one hit 'Pretty Girl'. That their performance is interspersed with Christmas footage rather than anything more appropriate to its subject matter suggests that this clip was made for an end-of-year show acknowledging the song's status as New Zealand's biggest-selling single in 1970. It also won that year's Loxene Golden Disc Award. And, of course, it offers a chance for viewers to see the late Alec Wishart performing his immortal line "Come on, my lover. Give us a kiss."
Hello Sailor perform the classic single from their debut album, for TVNZ's cameras. 'Gutter Black' features what composer Dave McArtney called the band’s trademark “whiteman’s attempt to play that ska rocksteady beat” — plus the distinctive sound of amped-up drums and handclaps. 'The song was originally titled 'Sickness Benefit', with lyrics mentioning “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” — as revealed on a 1996 greatest hits compilation. Reconstituted as 'Gutter Black', the song took on a new lease of life as the opening theme for TV's Outrageous Fortune.
'I Need Your Love' marked the biggest hit for the Kaukau brothers, and vocalist Karl Gordon. This performance sees Gordon grooving in satin blue waistcoat and bellbottoms, while Kevin Kaukau sneaks in a few guitar tricks inspired by Jimi Hendrix, on a guitar with an unusual attachment. Rip it Up writer Ken Williams described how the song's "ethereal, even fragile, drone jumped off the radio". It was judged Single of the Year at the 1978 NZ Music Awards; the band can be seen winning the award in the closing minutes of the Ready to Roll telecast from which this clip is taken.
This feelgood classic was written in Wanaka on the first Blerta tour, for the group's kids' shows. The hope was that a children’s show would win over local audiences when Blerta's busload of merry pranksters rolled into a new town. The song's concept was inspired by a Margaret Mahy story, reshaped by Geoff Murphy. Corben Simpson composed the music, and actor Bill Stalker narrates. It became a top 20 single, but a video was never made. This clip — combining new scenes, and old footage of the Blerta bus and varied escapades — was created for 'best of' film Blerta Revisited.
This 1978 single marked the first number one for the Kiwi prog rockers turned Australian pop stars. It danced around the age of consent (the first line of the song gave the impression the narrator may be in jail). Later the song became the theme tune for 2012 Aussie TV show Puberty Blues. A time capsule of 70s Melbourne, the clip opens on singer Marc Hunter aimlessly wandering the city's streets and tramways, before transitioning to a glossier studio performance. Like many of the band's biggest hits, the song was written by Dragon's resident hook-writer, keyboardist Paul Hewson.
This performance by Hello Sailor was recorded by TVNZ in Christchurch, at the Civic Theatre in Manchester Street. Singer Graham Brazier (who passed away in September 2015) is said to have written the classic song about love, destruction and hurt in 15 minutes. It was a last minute addition to the band’s debut album (and their second Top 20 single of 1977, reaching number 13). 'Blue Lady' was later considered as a possible theme song for an Australian police show. It would have been a strange choice: this Blue Lady came from the wrong side of the tracks. It was junkie slang for a hypodermic syringe.
Jon Stevens performs the song that turned him into an overnight pop star. 'Jezebel', written by little known UK songwriter Edwin Howell, was his debut single. It spent five weeks at number one, knocking Michael Jackson's 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' from the top slot to get there. This performance is introduced by TV presenter Roger Gascoigne and features a guest appearance from a disembodied saxophone. But the real showstoppers are Stevens' trousers which appear to have been sprayed on and, surely set more than a few fans' hearts aflutter.
After three years of playing live, the first single from Th’ Dudes was this classic, chiming piece of pop written by Dave Dobbyn. The video was made at TVNZ’s Manchester St Studios in Christchurch. With Dobbyn taking lead vocal, there was no onstage role for Peter Urlich — so he sits at a table in the foreground of the empty nightclub set. Assistant floor manager Peter Bain-Hogg plucked a passerby off the street to play the waitress. The song would become an enduring Kiwi classic — three decades later, it closed out the final episode of Outrageous Fortune.
With a chorus to do any football terrace proud, the final single from Th’ Dudes (featuring Dave Dobbyn, Peter Urlich and Ian Morris) became one of the great Kiwi drinking songs. It was actually written in Sydney to parody hard-drinking pub crowds; the lyrics namecheck Sydney landmarks (The Coogee, The Cross) and delights unavailable back home (Spanish shoes, falafel). Shot in Wellington's booze barn-like Cricketers’ Arms, the video showcases the excitement of the band’s live show, and offers a snapshot of bar culture in early 80s New Zealand.
A last-minute addition to their 1979 album Graffiti Crimes, 'Computer Games' was a huge hit for Mi-Sex, reaching number one in Australia, two in Canada and five in NZ. Computers and arcade games were a real novelty in 1979 and the band's synth-driven sounds were a perfect match. The video starts with the band breaking into the Sydney data centre for then-supercomputer giant ControlData. Printers spew paper forth, and as the band performs, old school graphics including a driving game and TIE fighters, are projected behind them. Advance one level on green!
Band Spats demonstrated they could write a catchy song with 'New Wave Goodbye'. But it needed the addition of singer Jenny Morris, a name change to The Crocodiles and a track called 'Tears' for the public to really sit up and take notice. In the video, drummer Bruno Lawrence hangs around next to a shady lamp post while Morris passes by, and the band's bubblegum coloured costumes positively shine against an all white set. After reaching number 17 on the NZ singles charts, 'Tears' won the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1980.
In 1973 EMI NZ producer Alan Galbraith saddled up Rockinghorse: a supergroup of Kiwi musicians (including ‘Nature’ composer Wayne Mason) to provide session music for the label’s artists. Rockinghorse found success of their own with the third single from the Throughbred album — ‘Thru the Southern Moonlight’. It won Best Single at the 1975 RATA Awards. The band also won Best Group and their celebrations led to a year-long ban from the Lion Breweries pub circuit. Here they funk up the cowbells in a 1974 end-of-year special, for Christchurch-based music show Pop Co.
Coup D'Etat were a short-lived band featuring Harry Lyon (during a Hello Sailor sabbatical) and Jan Preston (from travelling theatre act Red Mole). The band's second single is an ode to "the dangers of having too much fun". The bright, breezy number was written by Lyon, with the familiar Ponsonby reggae beat favoured by Hello Sailor. Peaking at nine on the charts, it won Best Single at the 1981 NZ Music Awards. The pedestrians in Leon Narbey’s video are near Auckland's Civic Theatre on Queen Street. In the same period, Narbey shot the short film of the same name.
One of the great rock'n'roll songs about Auckland is the work of a Christchurch band. 'Auckland Tonight' is The Androidss' claim to fame - and yet it was the b-side of their only single. The work of a band that was never scared of a good time, it extols the virtues of a night on the town with special mention of Proud Scum and Toy Love playing at the Windsor Castle. The TVNZ video careers around rain soaked streets (with a shot of the long-gone Harbour Bridge toll booths) and offers telling glimpses of The Androidss' bête noir - the central police station.
Nostalgia can take many forms: and certainly many a middle-aged memory swirls back to this early Sharon O’Neill video, a nostalgia further fuelled by the long lack of a decent quality master copy. The classic clip about romance in foreign climes — or perhaps a romance that unfurled somewhere else entirely — opens with O’Neill’s backlit image reflected in the water. But it is the scenes of O’Neill in a rippling pool wearing a shark tooth earring that seem to have left the longest impression on males of a certain vintage.
“Watch out young love!”. Even in black and white, Alastair Riddell’s pouting David Bowie riff brought a shock of rock'n'roll verve to the ‘New Faces’ talent section of Studio One — a popular TV show more used to singing families and novelty acts. The judges were mostly bemused by the glam rock onslaught and only grudgingly allowed Alastair Riddell's band to get through to the finals (where they buried them). But rock fans took notice of the x-factor and EMI quickly signed the band. Within weeks 'Out on the Street' had become the first local chart topper in three years.
After four years as part of Hello Sailor, guitarist Dave McArtney stepped out with his own band The Pink Flamingos — and found himself very much the centre of attention in this video made by TVNZ for the Flamingos' debut single. With only his guitar for support, he roams the streets of downtown Wellington stalking the object of his desire, who remains largely impassive despite his protestations — and all but obscured in a haze of cigarette smoke. Locations include an empty Cuba Mall (beside the bucket fountain) and Plimmer Steps. McArtney died in April 2013.
'Azania' is an impassioned anti-apartheid song written for the Auckland reggae band by law student Ross France. Led by original Herbs vocalist Toni Fonoti, it helped to establish the band’s political credentials at a time when New Zealand was split by the 1981 Springbok Tour. Azania was the name given to a post-revolutionary South Africa by the Pan African Congress. There are name checks for black African leaders Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela; and the chant “Angola! Mozambique! Zimbabwe! Azania!” was quickly incorporated into anti-tour protest marches.
As one of the performers on a live special celebrating 25 years of New Zealand television, Dinah Lee zips through short versions of two of her biggest hits: 'Don't You Know Yockomo' and 'Do the Blue Beat'. Both songs were originally part of a run of singles that made Lee an overnight star in late 1964. 'Yockomo' was released under her real name of Diane Jacobs, but after quickly selling out, the second printing saw her rechristened as Dinah Lee. This performance took place in 1985 — soon after she had begun making a mark in Australia as a competitive bodybuilder.
This video marked the directing debut of the multi-talented Chris Knox. Capturing the energy of The Clean's legendary first single, the clip memorably broke with local music promo standards (lip-synching, filming inside a studio etc) and set the template for Knox’s cheap but effective DIY method. He shot the band walking (and lying) on the street using a borrowed 16mm camera, set at a slow frame rate. He also played around with negative reversal film, to obtain some of the more distinctive images. 'Tally Ho' got to number 19 in the local charts; the band were "shocked and delighted".
'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and various guitars. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just before the band set off to try to make it in LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms that the band’s tongue was in its chic.
'Dragons and Demons' is a track from Whats' Be Happen? — the first release from the Auckland pioneers of Pacific reggae. The album had a shot of the Bastion Point protest on its cover, however the emphasis in this song — written by original vocalist Tony Fonoti — is more personal than political as it exhorts people to control mental dragons and demons. Fonoti’s devotion to Rastafarianism made him uncomfortable with the band’s growing commercial success, and led to his departure. ‘Dragons and Demons’ received a new lease of life in 2009 when it was featured in Taika Waititi’s film Boy.
This slow-burning Ian Morris/Dave Dobbyn song was the B-side of Th’Dudes first single ‘Be Mine Tonight’. Music videos for both songs were shot in a day at TVNZ’s Christchurch studios, in the era before the music video boom – back when, as Dave Dobbyn puts it, “the state made your videos”. A relatively straightforward performance piece, with some outsized masks for visual relief, it has the band largely entering into the spirit of things — with the exception of Dobbyn who shows up at one point with a strange spot on his forehead, before managing a manic stare.
Was there a cooler band in the world than The Clean in 1982? Skinny suits, round sunglasses, video performances aping the great old Monkees' moves but tuned to the "deadpan" setting. Rubbish dump. Derelict building. Cemetery. Check. TVNZ's Andrew Shaw travelled south to Christchurch to direct this one, but he kept the clip faithful to the band's style for this now iconic tribute to indie nihilism.
This was the iconic Dunedin group's first music video. Directed by Peter Janes, the promo for the song roams around an aptly chilly looking attic while the band performs. As soap bubbles float towards the rafters, there’s fog on the breath of singer Martin Phillipps, who lulls the listener to swim into space with him … “come along baby we'll live in our kaleidoscope world”. The early Chills song was from Flying Nun’s seminal Dunedin Double EP. It was later featured as the opening (and title) track on The Chills’ debut LP, a 1986 compilation of early career songs.
Probably Graham Brazier's best-known track as a solo artist, 'Billy Bold' didn’t garner much radio play when released in 1981, but would go on to become a staple of Hello Sailor live sets. First appearing on Graham Brazier’s debut solo album Inside Out, the ballad is based on the infamous 1981 riots in Toxteth, Liverpool. The song came to Brazier in a dream; he was drawn to the topic because his working class father came from Liverpool.
Blam Blam Blam’s second hit from 1981 was angular and artsy, hook-filled but unsettling: all qualities captured in a theatrical video, directed by Andrew Shaw. Clowns, magicians, fire-eaters and trick cyclists join the band, while actors play out the saga of ‘Don’t Fight It, Marsha’. The actors — including Phillip Gordon (Came a Hot Friday), Michael Hurst and Donogh Rees (Constance) — were directed by Harry Sinclair, who would later join Blam band member Don McGlashan in The Front Lawn. The Len Lye-style scratch effects were by Jenny Pullar, the Blams’ lighting designer.
After Neil Finn-penned single ‘I Got You’ took Split Enz to number one, another Neil Finn song was chosen to announce follow-up album Waiata (aka Corroboree). The video — which screened in the early days of music channel MTV — is surprisingly understated, while retaining touches of familiar Enz weirdness. After walking past coloured silhouettes of the rest of the band, Neil arrives on a set designed on a theme of black, etched with lines of colour. Tim mimes enthusiasm while sitting on the floor, keyboardist Eddie Rayner moonwalks, and the Enz step on out of there.
Auckland band The Screaming Meemees shared a 45 with The Newmatics before releasing this infectious ska-pop number which became an 80s classic. In August 1981 it was the first single to enter the NZ Top 20 at No.1 and they were rewarded with a breakneck trip to Wellington for a TVNZ video made at the Avalon Studios. More produced than many early 80s Avalon clips, it comes complete with masks, white roses, pooled water and a stained glass window (perhaps inspired by reports that the ex-Catholic school boys based their early songwriting on hymns).
The Swingers have long been umbilically tied to one composition: 1981 chart-topper 'Counting the Beat’. But the band's debut single makes clear that their gift for percussive pop was there from the start. The accompanying video sees the trio getting down to it in their union jack-emblazoned shirts; the lyrics channel the same kind of sexual frustration as Stones classic ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. The result is arguably in the same realm of catchy. After reaching number 19 in NZ, ‘One Good Reason’ featured in Aussie film Starstruck. Strawpeople later released a funked up version.
This song is from New Zealand’s troubled winter of 1981. The Springbok Tour gave the term “riot squad” currency throughout the country — but the Auckland live music scene and the police were already enduring a very fraught relationship. This number from Auckland ska/soul band The Newmatics, released on the band’s Broadcast OR double 7" EP, was actually written about a 1980 police raid on XS Cafe in Airedale Street. The Keystone Cops music video is classic early 80s TVNZ Avalon and features actors Ross Jolly and Michael Wilson as two thirds of the 'blue shadow'.
This classic alternative national anthem by Auckland post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam became a theme song for New Zealand’s long, troubled winter of 1981 as the country was wracked by social and political division and the Springbok Tour. Poet and playwright Richard von Sturmer wrote the lyrics while the music was by Blams member Don McGlashan. The video features a band performance shot on the roof of TVNZ’s Shortland Street studios and shows a curious penchant for celebrity lawn mowing. The performing Marmite and Vegemite jars are, however, the real deal.
A Texan stops by "One Day At The Coffee Bar", and confronted by kaftan wearing, pot smoking beatniks, tries to enjoy a cuppa. Silly costuming, delightful comic timing and hammy performances afford this clip legendary status amongst NZ's finest.
‘Heart and Soul’ — sometimes called 'You Took Me (Heart and Soul)' — was the biggest hit for rockers The Narcs. It peaked at number four on the NZ charts and took away two gongs at the 1984 NZ Music Awards. A spare, brooding rumination on love, it represented a departure from the more full on rock’n’roll that marked the band’s sound when they emerged on the Christchurch pub scene in the early 80s. Shot on a blacked out set, the video has all the hallmarks of a test run for a new digital effects suite — although that doesn’t explain the red pyramid at the centre of proceedings.
Thanks to You topped the New Zealand music charts three weeks after its release in 1967, and earned Mr Lee Grant the Loxene Golden Disc Award. In this performance on C’mon, introduced by the legendary Peter Sinclair, he performs the hit in a distinctive three piece suit against a changing psychedelic backdrop. Mr Lee Grant’s Kiwi tour was split between shows for his sometimes hysterical teenage fans, and cabaret shows for the adults. The combination made him one of the country’s most popular acts, and saw him named 1967’s Entertainer of the Year at the NEBOA awards.
Singer Marina Devcich had been working as an apprentice hairdresser when she won a Waikato talent quest. A signing to Viking Records and a name change to Maria Dallas followed. ‘Tumblin’ Down’ was written by Taranaki musician Jay Epae, and recorded at a session in Wellington. It went to 11 in the pop charts and won the 1966 Loxene Golden Disc Award. Later the song was used to score a series of Telecom ads in the mid-80s. Dallas recorded in Nashville, moved to Australia and had a trans-Tasman career — her single ‘Pinocchio’ topped the NZ charts in 1970.
After hit song 'I Got You' proved definitively that art rockers Split Enz could be chart-topping pop stars, their 1980 album True Colours yielded a second classic single. This time it showcased Tim Finn's vocal range. The music video is set in some stately mansion after the last champagne of the night. Finn wanders into the back garden as he mourns the pain of being "haunted by the things that you feel", while the rest of the Enz stand around as part of the tableau. Annie Crummer later covered the track for Eddie Rayner-led project ENZSO.
In this video, languid Pacific Island imagery (poi, hibiscus, tamariki, breaching whales) and gorgeous reggae pop are contrasted with images of French nuclear testing. There are punchy 'no nukes' slogans and graphics, but a great performance from Herbs does the work effortlessly in this simple, well-crafted video. 'French Letter' was originally released in 1982 and began an eleven week stay on the Kiwi singles charts — despite very little radio play. It was rereleased in 1995 to protest the resumption of nuclear testing: "Let me be more specific - get out of the Pacific!"
Early standard bearers for the Flying Nun label, The Clean ended their first incarnation with this abrasive, rollicking, darkly-humoured take on the aging process (featuring backing vocals from Chris Knox and some Robert Scott trumpet). Ronnie van Hout, who designed much of the label's early artwork, turned his hand at directing for this clip. Without a budget, he utilised the Christchurch service lanes and aging inner city buildings which housed so many of the local music industry's bars, clubs and rehearsal rooms (and a succession of early Flying Nun offices).
"Things are not always the way they should be", sings Steve Gilpin in 'Blue Day', from Mi-Sex's 1984 album Where Do They Go. Reaching number 24 in Australia and 36 in NZ, it was their last charting single before the band broke up; it's also on the APRA Top 100 NZ Songs list at number 54. The band plays on a darkened studio set, a strong neon-blue visual style complementing the soft, haunting keyboard intro. Artificial light suggests the day outside; pushed up jacket sleeves and genie pants are an unmistakable reminder of mid-80s fashion.
With departed founder member Phil Judd back in NZ, this UK written Tim Finn rocker took Split Enz even further into pop territory and away from their art rock roots. Of a piece with the most energetic New Wave of the time, it was accompanied by a video with an appropriately frenzied performance which former member and Enz historian Mike Chunn rated as one of their most infectious. The band are wearing Noel Crombie’s art-school designed suits, Neil Finn looks ridiculously young and endings don’t come much more abruptly than this one.
With its swirling keyboards and dark lyrical concerns (in keeping with the fraught year New Zealand was then embarking on), 'Jumping Out a Window' has become a classic, including a slot in APRA's Nature's Best Top 100. The third Pop Mechanix single, it shows the influence of the friends the band was starting to make —it was produced by Split Enz' Eddie Rayner and the debut release on Mike Chunn's boutique XSF label. The TVNZ made clip is firmly of its time and one of the broadcaster's more literal efforts (no mean feat in itself) — featuring windows and jumping.
After the classic line-up of Sydney-based hitmakers Dragon reformed in 1982, the band found a new lease of life when anthemic single 'Rain' got to number two on the Australian charts (at a time of severe drought). 'Rain' was a departure — written by Todd Hunter and his wife Joanna Piggott, instead of Dragon's songwriter supreme Paul Hewson. The video offers more evidence of a new look, thanks to drummer Terry Chambers (fresh from XTC) and US keyboardist and producer Alan Mansfield. The video is one of three made for 'Rain' — the band rejected a post-apocalyptic version.
‘Still in Love With You’ dates from 1978's O Zambesi, the album that yielded Dragon ‘Are You Old Enough’, their first (and only) number one hit in Australia. One of a series of hook-laden singles penned by keyboardist Paul Hewson, 'Still in Love' became another live staple for the Auckland prog-rockers turned Aussie pop stars. A straight down the line performance video shot against a white-washed studio, the video works thanks to the star power of lead singer Marc Hunter, who brings to the party all of his swagger, charisma and coiffed hair. The band bring their sunnies.