Montego Bay

Jon Stevens, Music Video, 1980

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.

Little Things

TrinityRoots, Music Video, 2001

This (mostly) black and white video stars late great actor Wi Kuki Kaa (Ngāti, Utu). The concept is simple but impactful: a close-up on Kaa's eye leads the viewer in and out of a series of memories. In combination with Kaa's performance — seated on a veranda, as family activities take place around him — Chris Graham's video works superbly to convey the essence of the song. The cinematography is by Adam Clark (Boy, the Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night). Julian Arahanga (Broken English) appears among the moving celebration of whānau and community.

Opportunity

Mr Lee Grant, Music Video, 1967

Taken from hit music show C’mon, this short clip has Mr Lee Grant performing his first number one hit ‘Opportunity’. After leaping to attention — and suffering an awkward landing — he recovers quickly to offer a jaunty performance on a psychedelic set, complete with American flag motif. The song (a cover version) charted in May 1967, helping cement Mr Lee Grant’s position as one of the country's premier pop stars. He would top the local charts twice more — and come close another time — before leaving New Zealand in March 1968, in an attempt to conquer the United Kingdom. 

I Will Not Let You Down

Don McGlashan, Music Video, 2006

Directed by dancer turned choreographer Shona McCullagh, this music video features sun-kissed close-ups of singer Don McGlashan, and evocative images of a lone dancer (Rachel Atkinson) floating above an empty road. The ballad marks a rare solo single for McGlashan that was composed by somebody else: Sean James Donnelly (aka SJD). The song featured on McGlashan's first solo album Warm Hand (2006). It was later included on the soundtracks of Kiwi feature films Out of the Blue and The Tattooist, and an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 remake 90210.

It's My Sin

Jan Hellriegel, Music Video, 1992

After roughly five years with band Cassandra's Ears, Jan Hellriegel went solo and managed to hit the top five of the Kiwi charts with both her first album, and first single. Hellriegel followed her debut hit 'The Way I Feel' with this, the title track from her 1992 album It's My Sin. The song highlights Hellriegel's distinctive voice; Matt Noonan's monochromatic video makes a different kind of music, by concentrating on close-ups of her face. In a 2017 YouTube conversation about the song's lyrics, Hellriegel argued she had become less judgemental about the idea of taking the less trodden path. 

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.

I Need Your Love

Golden Harvest, Music Video, 1977

'I Need Your Love' marked the biggest hit for the Kaukau brothers, and vocalist Karl Gordon. This performance sees Gordon grooving in satin blue waistcoat and bellbottoms, while Kevin Kaukau sneaks in a few guitar tricks inspired by Jimi Hendrix, on a guitar with an unusual attachment. Rip it Up writer Ken Williams described how the song's "ethereal, even fragile, drone jumped off the radio". It was judged Single of the Year at the 1978 NZ Music Awards; the band can be seen winning the award in the closing minutes of the Ready to Roll telecast from which this clip is taken.

Saturday Nights

Tiger Tones, Music Video, 2008

A grainy low-fi look belies the intricacies of this music video by Christchurch indie pop rockers Tiger Tones. The look of super-8 film and the bulk of the video being shot out the window of a moving car almost convince that it’s a simply recut homevideo. The subtly CG titles, slo-mo close ups of the band and lightning cuts matching the rapidly shrieking guitar suggest however, that something a bit more clever is at play. At the time of the song’s release Tiger Tunes had won Best Breakthrough Act at the 2007 bNet Awards, and were in the process of releasing their debut album.

Lightwork

Che Fu, Music Video, 2006

The video for this hymn to the joys of co-operation from Che Fu’s third album Beneath the Radar had its origins in the shot of him dressed like a Japanese warrior on the cover of his previous album The Navigator. Director and animator Shane Mason and artist Gary Yong (aka Enforce1) from The Cut Collective set out to provide a back story for that image. Taking inspiration from anime and old samurai films, they placed Che Fu in a post apocalyptic world with a band of guerrillas on a mission to reactivate music towers closed down by an evil overlord.

Duet (Lonely I Be)

Steve Abel and Kirsten Morrell, Music Video, 2006

This appropriately moody music video saw director Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition) collaborating with musician Steve Abel, who had contributed to the soundtrack of Habicht's movie Woodenhead. The video moves between two puppets on a lonely plain, and close-ups of Abel and the guest vocalist who joins him on the track: Kirsten Morrell from Goldenhorse. The song is taken from Abel's award-winning debut album Little Death (2006). Habicht and Abel would work together again on the video for Abel's song 'Best Thing'. The puppets were created by Kiwi Oliver Smart.