Looking for the Real Thing

The Parker Project, Music Video, 1991

In 1991 Push Push’s 'Trippin' reign at the top of the charts was ended by a synth-reggae cover of Johnny Nash soul song ‘Tears on my Pillow’. The number one debut from The Parker Project was followed by this single, also released on Trevor Reekie's Pagan label. It made it to number 24 in the charts. The video, directed by Peter Cathro (I Love My Leather Jacket), was from the first year of NZ On Air funded music videos. It cuts between black and white shots of the singer making his way to an Auckland school hall, and colour images of him singing with the backing of a Samoan choir.

Home Again

Shihad, Music Video, 1998

This Shihad classic has a classic video to match. With primary colours accentuated and the energy levels of Shihad turned up to match, the band members perform and bustle about in a film studio in one extended shot, without any edits. The time and motion tomfoolery is surely handled; someone has had the bright idea of putting developing Polaroid photos at the bottom of the frame, in order to show that the whole video is unravelling in one continuous scene. Directed by Mark Hartley, Home Again was judged Best Video at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards.

Pink Frost

The Chills, Music Video, 1984

The video for this classic Chills song works not for its earth-shattering concept, nor its production values or performances (which are largely nonchalant). It looks miserable, nihilistic even. But — through luck or good management — the video for this Chills classic works, clinging to the melancholy essence of the song like a shrunken homespun. Observant viewers will notice a single bird  — not unlike the lonesome outcast portrayed by Martin Phillipps — flying back against the flow. 

History Never Repeats

Split Enz, Music Video, 1981

A classic music video for a classic song (from the Waiata album) that is very much of its time. Features Noel Crombie's art school-infused clothes, make-up and surreal sets, giant beach balls, a hula hoop, and a young and endearingly-geeky Neil Finn out front. The video was one of the first (the 12th!) broadcast on US MTV after it launched in August 1981.

Be Mine Tonight

Th' Dudes, Music Video, 1979

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.

Six Months in a Leaky Boat

Split Enz, Music Video, 1982

Reflecting the nautical themes found on chart-topping album Time and Tide, the classic 'Six Months in a Leaky Boat' demonstrated that Tim Finn was far from out of good ideas, even though he was soon to leave the band he had sailed with for so long. Opening with scene-setting Eddie Rayner instrumental 'Pioneer' and images of boats at sea, the video soon reveals Tim Finn and band below deck, in sailor's garb. Finn's much-loved line about refusing to be overcome by "the tyranny of distance" was likely inspired by the 1966 book by Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey. 

Apple Pie Bed

Lawrence Arabia, Music Video, 2009

A piece of classic pop, this jaunty love song was co-written by former Brunettes member Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) and The Phoenix Foundation’s Luke Buda — and it won the pair the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award in 2009. Director Luke Savage’s warts-and-all video won’t land him a lot of work making lingerie commercials as his suburban swingers’ slumber party celebrates the human body and its imperfections in a way not often seen in music videos. Meanwhile, Milne remains poker-faced in the midst of the fleshy jiggling and wobbling.

Behold My Kool Style

Dam Native, Music Video, 1996

Directed by prolific music video maker and now feature film director Jonathan King, this clip won Best Video at the 1997 NZ Music Awards. The sepia-tinged print, colonial photo studio-styled art direction and details (tokotoko and Edwardian suits) are beautifully realised and make for an effective back-drop to the song’s political lyrics. DJ Sir-Vere: “an original Aotearoa classic”  

Death and the Maiden

The Verlaines, Music Video, 1982

"Shall we have our photo taken?" This lo-fi classic offers up a time capsule to a long ago day down south, with The Verlaines performing in a Dunedin flat in the company of various Flying Nun friends, and a wandering pet bunny. Director/cameraman Peter Janes recalls that the clip was shot "in a beautiful old house on Stuart Street", before everyone "took off to Cargill's Castle and made it up as we went along." Vocalist Graeme Downes' 18 mentions in the chorus of a word starting with 'V' are a namecheck not only for his band, but for infamous French poet Paul Verlaine. 

Dance All Around the World

Blerta, Music Video, 1971

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.