Upper Hutt-born singer Jon Stevens pulled off the remarkable feat of having consecutive number ones on the New Zealand Top 40 with his first two singles. 'Montego Bay' was the second (taking over from 'Jezebel' in January 1980). It was a cover of a one-off 1970 hit for American Bobby Bloom, written for the second largest city in Jamaica. The cut-out palm trees of the studio set were as close as Stevens and band got to the Caribbean. 'Montego Bay' stayed at the top of the chart for two weeks and was voted 'Single of the Year' at the New Zealand Music Awards.
Comprised of veteran players from Auckland’s punk scene, The Bleeders quickly made a name for themselves with their polished take on the then-nascent ‘post-hardcore’ sound of the early 2000s. ‘Out of Time’, a tribute to friends of the band who were killed in a car accident, was their first single for Universal. The accompanying video has singer Angelo Munro stalking the tunnels and ramps of an inner-city skate park before joining an entourage of friends, fans and hangers-on for the song’s anthemic chorus — and a poignant gesture to the heavens.
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.
Flight of the Conchords star and onetime Black Seeds musician Bret McKenzie clearly digs Wellington. In this video for solo project The Video Kid, he goes early morning skateboarding through the capital city. The downbeat groove of the folk-electronica number is a perfect match for a glorious 'on a good day' dawn, as the sun rises over Mt Matthews and the crew cruise down Wellington's Alexandra Road and along Mt Victoria's town belt. Later in the golden light they claim a deserted golden mile (Lambton Quay) for the skaters.
Kora’s formation in Wellington in 2002 saw them associated with the city’s burgeoning dub-roots scene, but the Whakatane brothers’ music mix also extends to elements of funk, soul, rock, house and metal. That genre-defying diversity is in evidence on this track from their debut album, as a relaxed reggae intro gives way to stomping electronica-tinged funk rock. This performance video shot in Auckland at AUT’s Vesbar captures the band in their live element, complete with a crowd-pleasing freeze that turns them into a 3D tableau, and strobe-lit climax.
On ‘Chrysalis’ Wellington producer Benny Tones creates a warm, electronic blend of hip-hop and funk (and 80s video game sound effects) for co-writer Sacha Vee’s soulful vocals. Director Jessica Sanderson (granddaughter of actor Martyn Sanderson) opens her video with Benny walking through darkened inner city Wellington streets. The third busker that he passes morphs into and out of a resplendent, glittering Sacha Vee (and the Legacy Dance Crew) in a hyper-real world which celebrates the creativity of street performers too often ignored by passersby.
Clever lighting and plenty of rain feature on the video for this chart-topping P-Money track. As he had with Scribe's breakthrough hit 'Stand Up', P-Money melds Scribe's rapping talents with loud guitars. Directed by Greg Page, the moody widescreen clip also features Elemeno P's Justyn Pilbrow on guitar, and Sam Sheppard from 8 Foot Sativa on drums. 'Stop the Music' appeared on P-Money's second studio album, NZ Music Award-winner Magic City (2004).
Dave Gibson (ex-Elemeno P) formed this indie-folk family act with his brother and wife. Now based in New York, they share centre stage with their new home in this hyperactive video for their debut single. As daily life in the Big Apple rushes past them, they busk the city’s streets and landmarks apparently unmoved by the commotion (but twitching slightly). There are unscripted cameos from a scene-hogging Batman and a courier van that gets a little too close, but the award for best supporting actor goes to a seemingly endless bottle of orange soda pop.
Released as the follow-up to Emma Paki’s acclaimed debut (‘System Virtue’) this song was produced by Neil Finn. It made it to five on the local charts. Prolific music video director Kerry Brown (Four Seasons in One Day, AEIOU) helms the redemption story. Paki — in full-colour and fern headdress — sings about the power of pounamu, while actor Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Fear the Living Dead) plays a roadie adrift in the city in black and white. When things go awry on K Road outside McDonalds, Curtis heads to the bush for spiritual succour from Paki in a waterfall.
This Elemeno P video sees the band performing inside a storage freezer in an ice cream factory. "There was no legitimate reason for shooting in a freezer," recalls director Greg Page ('Exit to the City', 'Super Gyration'). "I just enjoy torturing the bands I work with." The location was secured through Flying Fish Executive Producer James Moore, whose family owned an icecream factory in Otara. Page recalls the challenges of filming in below freezing temperatures here.