See Me Go

The Screaming Meemees, Music Video, 1981

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).

Riot Squad

The Newmatics, Music Video, 1981

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'.

Hands of My Heart

The Warratahs, Music Video, 1987

The Warratahs were unique in the late 80s NZ music scene — a band playing classic country music with an eye on the mainstream. They enjoyed some chart success but director Waka Attewell's video for their first single almost seems to anticipate that they will make their major impact as a live act — honing their sound on the road in halls, pubs and woolsheds the length and breadth of the land. The location is a school hall in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn, with a room full of dancers responding to the Warratahs' signature warmth and timelessness.

I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue)

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1983

A young, blonde and big-haired (it was the early 80s) Jordan Luck and his fellow band members hang out in Auckland's old Leopard Tavern for this sing-along classic. Model Debra Mains — star of a number of DD Smash videos of the time — smoulders as the spurning lover. A rest-home of elderly extras join in for the famous chorus. The dial phone looks positively pre-industrial. The song was voted number 89 in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand songs of all time; the Dance Exponents' debut studio album Prayers Be Answered stayed in the charts for a year.

Whaling

DD Smash, Music Video, 1984

Dave Dobbyn and his DD Smash sidekick Peter "Rooda" Warren play dress-ups in this Aussie-made music video for the Kiwi classic. A skylarking Dobbyn gets to be a TV journalist, a filmmaker, and even a vicar; but it is heart-throb of the day Warren who bares his chest (and budgie-smugglers) as he is strapped into a sexy speed-racer jump suit. 80s big hair and make-up abound. What the Duran Duran-esque shenanigans have to do with the wistful sea shanty-style song is anyone's guess. Warren's model girlfriend of the time Debra Mains also makes an appearance.

Loyal

Dave Dobbyn, Music Video, 1988

This is a cleverly-choreographed one shot video for the Kiwi classic written by Dobbyn when based in Sydney. (Even if it's debatable whether the moving house/moving on imagery actually suits the lyrics of the song.) Dobbyn's jersey and his video girl's entire get-up firmly date-stamp the romance and real estate story in the 80s, but the song has outlasted the knitwear: In 2001 APRA members voted it the third-best New Zealand song of the 20th Century. Loyal was later used by Team New Zealand as its campaign song for its 2002 defence of the America’s Cup.  

Victoria

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1982

This was the song that started it all for The Exponents. Instead of the usual TVNZ studio cheapie, the promo is a film clip, complete with fantasy 80s Christchurch night-life scenes. The song was inspired by Jordan Luck's onetime landlord, who was trapped in an abusive relationship. Locations include the Arts Centre and deco apartments opposite. Reaching number six, the song would prove to be the biggest hit on a debut studio album packed with classics. Luck later described it as "a strange song to pick as a first single"; but the right one.  

Too Funky

Rick Bryant and The Jive Bombers, Music Video, 1984

The sweat is dripping and the horns aren’t holding back in this characteristically fervent Jive Bombers rendition of James Brown’s 1979 R&B classic ‘It’s Too Funky in Here'. Kiwi soulman Rick Bryant belts out the instruction — “say it again” — to a willing audience at Auckland’s (now demolished) Mainstreet cabaret on Queen Street, and the band follow suit. The trumpeter has sunnies on, and choreographed stage moves signal The Jive Bombers' intent to bring the funk. The band flared briefly but brightly on the mid-80s pub circuit. The song is from 1984 album When I’m With You.