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.
The decision to tightly frame lead singer Jeremy Redmore's face in this clip by Stephen Tolfrey was clearly a no brainer. Redmore's performance brings a wholehearted sincerity to a clip that at one point was simultaneously number one on both C4 and Juice TV. Peppy editing, epistolary effects and bold camerawork add the final ingredients to a promo that serves both song and band.
Deep Obsession flared brightly but briefly in the late 90s, releasing a string of Eurodance songs. They are the one and only act to manage three consecutive number ones on the Kiwi music charts. ‘One and Only’ was the third, released after group founder Chris Banks had left the group. That left singers Zara Clark and Vanessa Kelly to get viewers primed for the dance floor. Impeccable music video logic sees the singers clinging to watery fluorescent-lit walls and overseeing a room of fishbowls. An alternative video for the song featured scenes in a desert and underwater.
Shot in sepia tones with barely a level camera angle on offer, the video for 3 The Hard Way’s single has classic hip hop video written all over it. A cruise around Auckland in the back of a convertible culminates in a guest verse from Bobbylon of Hallelujah Picassos. Back at home, a rugby-loving audience assembles for the song’s second half. The unforgettable hook is inspired by 10cc hit 'Dreadlock Holiday', which proved lucrative for the English band when there were issues around clearing the rights. This was one of the earliest NZ On Air-funded videos for a song that reached number one.
Launched for 2014's Māori Language Week, the NZ Music Award-nominated video for 'Aotearoa' is a showcase of Kiwi scenery and musical talent, led by main vocalist Stan Walker. 'Aotearoa' began when TV producer Mātai Smith, aware 1983’s 'Poi-E' was the last te reo song to hit number one, thought it might be nice to repeat the feat (in the end he had to settle for number two). Walker wrote the track with his Mt Zion co-star Troy Kingi and singers Vince Harder and Ria Hall. Hall calls the result “a song to celebrate our nation, our landscape, our uniqueness, our language and our people”.
This short clip marks the only known footage of John Hanlon performing his biggest hit 'Lovely Lady', via NZBC talent competition Studio One. The song ended up placing second, but went on to spend 20 weeks in the NZ charts. It reached number one, and won the 1974 APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award. Despite his immense success — he won another Silver Scroll the following year, and earned multiple RATA awards — Hanlon has faded somewhat from New Zealand’s cultural consciousness, since concentrating from 1978 on a career in advertising.
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.
In the decades between the Sinatras' version of 'Somethin' Stupid' (1967) and 2009's 'Empire State of Mind', someone had the bright idea of pairing two Kiwi singers, and kitting them out in matching green and black. Fresh from two consecutive number one singles, ex Upper Hutt record factory worker Jon Stevens takes lead vocals on this breakup duet, which sees the magical arrival of Sharon O'Neill, 50 seconds in. The result got to number five on the local charts. This clip featured on after school show Tracy '80.
'Saint Paul' was one of the biggest hits by a NZ artist in the late 60s. Written about Paul McCartney by American producer Terry Knight, it borrowed liberally from Beatles songs (eventually with their publisher's permission) and played an early part in the "Paul is dead" conspiracy theories. Shane’s version went to number one and was the 1969 winner of the Loxene Golden Disc for local song of the year. This footage from the awards show comes complete with interview by host Peter Sinclair and as many groovy special effects as TV could muster at the time.
'One Will Hear the Other’ offers all the trademarks of a Shihad classic — epic guitars, driving drums and a chorus tailor-made for joining in at one of the band’s legendary live shows. Directed by Australian Toby Angwin, and shot in Shihad’s then hometown of Melbourne, the video features performance footage of the group projected on to central city buildings, alongside a narrative implying this is the work of a group of guerilla street artists. The song was the lead single from 2008’s Beautiful Machine album, which debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40 chart.