This muscular early 90s cover of The Fourmyula’s pastoral 1969 classic comes from the first album by Don McGlashan’s band The Mutton Birds. The award-winning music video was directed by Fane Flaws — the first of six he made with the band (after previously working with McGlashan on The Front Lawn’s Beautiful Things clip). Guest vocalist Jan Hellriegel features amongst the battery of kaleidoscopic and psychedelic digital effects used to evoke the joys of nature. In 2001 the original tune was voted best NZ song in 75 years by songwriters’ association APRA.
Mike Chunn's post-Split Enz band was formed as a vehicle for his brother Geoff's songs and this single from their second album is the one they are best remembered for (placing 97th in APRA's 'Nature's Best' Top 100 NZ songs in 2001). It's a classic car-as-metaphor-for-love song (although the model in question sounds like it needs some work). The line "come and come get you" is apparently a sly reference to the very continental VW Kharmen Ghia. This TVNZ studio video captured their live energy but inexplicably put them in a graveyard set much to the band's dismay.
Hamilton hard rockers Knightshade produced a run of sweaty, riff-heavy 80s anthems. This live performance of ‘Out for the Count’ comes from a 13 May 1987 show at The Galaxy in Auckland, which was recorded for both a 1987 album and a Radio with Pictures special. The other featured band was Stonehenge. Knightshade vocalist Wayne Elliott is joined by Gael Ludlow (then better-known as presenter of nature show Our World). The live album Out For The Night Live! made it to 37 on the Kiwi charts. ‘Out for the Count’ had previously got to number 26 on the singles charts in November 1986.
In 1973 EMI NZ producer Alan Galbraith saddled up Rockinghorse: a supergroup of Kiwi musicians (including ‘Nature’ composer Wayne Mason) to provide session music for the label’s artists. Rockinghorse found success of their own with the third single from the Throughbred album — ‘Thru the Southern Moonlight’. It won Best Single at the 1975 RATA Awards. The band also won Best Group and their celebrations led to a year-long ban from the Lion Breweries pub circuit. Here they funk up the cowbells in a 1974 end-of-year special, for Christchurch-based music show Pop Co.
Featuring a marine odyssey told through cutout-style animation, this Paul Hershell-directed music video compliments a chilled out tune from Opensouls’ acclaimed debut album Kaleidoscope. After a nature focused opening, the cheerful demeanour begins to dissipate as the soft red textures become more harsh. A pirate attack sees the video descending below the waves, introducing a world of calming blue. But submarines and sea mines abound, mirroring the song’s relaxed exterior which hides the energetic trumpets underneath.
A Swanndri clad Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) goes back to nature in this video directed by Stephen Ballantyne and shot at Arthur's Pass in Canterbury. A 60s tinged number from his first solo album, 'Talk about the Good Times' is a scathing dismissal of a former friendship anchored in an urban setting of gyms, box shaped apartments and expensive coffee. Fresh air, the bush, the wide open spaces of the river bed and Greg Chapman's Disney-esque animated animals make for a pastoral idyll to counteract the falseness and paranoia of city life.
Boh Runga and Stellar* enjoyed a breakthrough year in 1999 with their synthesis of guitars and electronic beats realised on Mix, a chart topping debut produced by Tom Bailey (of Thompson Twins fame). Jonathan King's video for 'Part of Me', the album's second single, creates a repressive, futuristic world of glass, concrete and steel where the only plants seen are those grown in strictly controlled conditions. But in amongst the soulless conformity, surveillance cameras and sterile suits, it might be too soon to completely write off Mother Nature.
With its swirling keyboards and dark lyrical concerns (in keeping with the fraught year New Zealand was then embarking on), 'Jumping Out a Window' has become a classic, including a slot in APRA's Nature's Best Top 100. The third Pop Mechanix single, it shows the influence of the friends the band was starting to make —it was produced by Split Enz' Eddie Rayner and the debut release on Mike Chunn's boutique XSF label. The TVNZ made clip is firmly of its time and one of the broadcaster's more literal efforts (no mean feat in itself) — featuring windows and jumping.