Creating New Zealand's first local hit involved a lot of trial and error, as a company best known for making radios grappled with how to make records. Sixty-six years later Neil Finn visited musician Jim Carter, whose Hawaiian-style guitar is part of the magic of the original 'Blue Smoke' track. Finn "gently persuaded" Carter to help him record a new version on a laptop in just a few hours. Alongside newsreel shots of WWII soldiers, this evocative clip features footage of two musicians from different generations sharing memories, and making music about saying goodbye.
The career of TV infomercial queen Suzanne Paul took an unlikely turn in 1994 when she reinvented herself as a dance music diva (although the steps in question seem to be more inspired by line dancing). Paul told Metro magazine she did it to demonstrate she was more than "the intense over the top woman who sold things on television". Audio samples of her TV sales pitches — "1000s of luminous spheres" — blend in surprisingly well with Pitch Black member Paddy Free’s music (Boh Runga contributes vocals). The video was shot at the Staircase Nightclub on K Road.
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.
This single for Mint Chick Kody Nielson's solo project possibly takes its name from the music-hating creatures in Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, or a Balinese mushroom with mind-altering properties. Or both. Director Sam Kristofski's video for this shimmering neo-60s pop song — captioned a "Sci-Fi-Delic Experience" — is in the ‘hipster surrealist’ mode (typified by Spanish collective CANADA). Model Zippora Seven hikes in the woods, overseen by a golden Buddha with laser beam eyes worthy of Flash Gordon. The trippy animation is by Daniel Foothead.
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.
Before forming When The Cat’s Away, Debbie Harwood collaborated with Johnny Bongo (John Quigley) on this one-off project which won them Most Promising Group at the 1987 NZ Music Awards. The music video was funded by Harwood with money earned from waitressing. Director Jed Town (of Fetus Productions) keeps his palette very aqua but resists the temptation to get more literal with the subject matter, instead opting for layers of abstract watery textures to frame Harwood’s vocals (although a brief glimpse of a gnashing shark hints at Town's more macabre side).
A simple performance-based video for this perfect south seas pop song. Craft-work decorates the frames, and the flickering moody street scenes look genuinely artful but were apparently caused by a camera jam in the clockwork Bolex used to shoot the clip. The video was filmed in London and edited at TVNZ Christchurch.
"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.
This dense, swirling number from Look Blue Go Purple’s first EP provides a more jaundiced view of the tale of the faithful Penelope waiting 20 years for Odysseus to return from the Trojan War. The video, directed by Pat O’Neill, is another example of a Dunedin band celebrating its local environment, and features LBGP driving a classic Borgward Isabella in and around Hoopers Inlet on Otago Peninsula, intercut with a performance from a mask party at The Oriental Tavern (with a rare on-camera appearance by Dunedin music identity Roy Colbert – in an ape’s mask). [This video is made available by The Film Archive]
In this charming clip Look Blue Go Purple show they know how to do video clip clowning around as well as the Flying Nun menfolk. It features the Nun trademark grainy imagery, and a touch of Len Lye-style film scratching. Not surprisingly for a song called 'Cactus Cat', there are lots of shots of cactuses and cats, both real and animated. Assorted early Flying Nun luminaries make guest appearances, including a young Robert Scott. Watch out for the so-not-LA Dunedin take on the handbag dog.