I See Red

Split Enz, Music Video, 1979

With departed founder member Phil Judd now back in New Zealand, this English-written Tim Finn rocker took Split Enz even further into pop territory and away from their art rock roots. Echoing 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 distinctive suits designed by member Noel Crombie, Neil Finn looks ridiculously young, and endings don’t come much more abruptly than this.

Out on the Street

Space Waltz, Music Video, 1974

“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.

Swing

Savage, Music Video, 2005

This infectious hip hop hit marked Savage’s solo debut, after his previous recordings with The Deceptikonz. A NZ chart-topper for five weeks, it went platinum in the USA (helped by its placement in Hollywood comedy Knocked Up and as the soundtrack for its DVD menu). For her video, director Sophie Findlay created a laundromat from scratch in an empty Otahuhu shop. In it she intersperses an undersized Savage and 70s-themed dancing girls with darker, more contemporary hip hop imagery. It must be all a dream, because the pimply palagi teenager is the tough guy.    

It's a Heartache

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Music Video, 2008

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's version of Bonnie Tyler's wrenching 70s hit was the title track of their debut EP. In director Tim Capper's video, they manage to take the song to new levels of pathos with vocalist Andy Morley-Hall's quest for a slice of vegan apple and rhubarb tart. The location is a crowded Deluxe Cafe (where the ensemble emerged from informal Thursday morning sessions). Age Pryor contributes the solo and, amongst the group's massed ranks, there's a masked nod to absent member and Flight of the Conchord Bret McKenzie.

Back in the Bad Old Days

Street Talk, Music Video, 1979

Hammond Gamble’s Street Talk were a star attraction in the late 70s Auckland pub scene. Their debut album had a heavyweight producer in LA scenester (and Runaways svengali) Kim Fowley. This TVNZ video uses an alleyway set to reflect the band’s “street music” rock’n’roll (with a dash of Springsteen-style bruised romanticism). The band might look new wave, but the rootsier Gamble is after a more conventional look. Whether any self-respecting bluesman would keep his guitar in a rubbish bin is another matter altogether. 

Are You Old Enough

Dragon, Music Video, 1978

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.

Words

Sharon O'Neill, Music Video, 1980

Singer/songwriter Sharon O’Neill did Los Angeles inspired, mid-70s pop/rock as well as many of her contemporaries in California — but it’s hard to imagine opening lines as striking as these ones coming from that West Coast. ‘Words’ was the first single from her self titled, second long player which won her Album of the Year and Best Female Vocalist at the 1980 NZ Awards. After years behind the keyboards, O’Neill shines in this video filmed in front of an audience with a band that includes Simon Morris, Wayne Mason and future Mutton Bird Ross Burge.

Yesterday was Just the Beginning of My Life

Mark Williams, Music Video, 1981

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".

National Scandal

Schtung, Music Video, 1977

Eclectic ensemble Schtung flared briefly in the late 70s. This music video sees the band clutching umbrellas and briefcases, and forming their own brigade of conservatives in suits. Occcasionally betraying their love of silly walks, they stride through Wellington Railway Station, dash madly around the wharves, and climb the steps of Parliament. The (minimal) lyrics allude to politicians failing to fulfill their promises, although they can also be read as being about a failing romance. The song's final seconds include the lines "Pour on water", from nursery rhyme 'London's Burning'.