This raw and rowdy video gives a fleeting insight into the all-too-short life of Darcy Clay. Recorded on a primitive four-track tape machine, 'Jesus I Was Evil' was a demented fusion of country and garage rock that, combined with Clay's fetching Evel Knievel-style onesies, heralded the arrival of an eccentric new voice. Darcy's school friend David Gunson agreed to shoot the video for a few hundred dollars and a bottle of whisky — editor Ian Bennett ended up getting the whisky. The wry humour and energy captured in the video stands as a fitting testament to his subject.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, TV presenter Helena McAlpine enlisted a chorus of NZ's most recognisable music voices to cover Chris Knox’s classic love song. McAlpine was determined that mothers, daughters, wives and friends get the message that the “best form of defence against breast cancer is to catch it early”. Directed by Toa Fraser, the video for the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation awareness campaign shows a run of well-known Kiwis holding pictures of women they love, in front of a backdrop of Derek Henderson photos. McAlpine died on 23 September 2015.
In this video billowing sails and an impressive array of mid-80s celebrities (musicians, broadcasters, sportspeople) raise their voices in patriotic fervour, to rally support for the first Kiwi challenge for the America’s Cup: “in a boat just called New Zealand”. The bid failed, but ‘Sailing Away’ set a record for the most consecutive weeks at number one by a NZ artist (nine), until the arrival of Smashproof’s ‘Brother’ in 2009. The tune — borrowed from ‘Pokarekare Ana’ — remains both as a reminder of simpler times in the America’s Cup, and an era of questionable haircuts.
Shona Laing's long musical career began with '1905', a song dedicated to Henry Fonda. At 17 years old, Shona took the song to second place on talent show New Faces in 1972. Early the following year it rose to number four on the NZ top 10. This short live clip, thought to be filmed at Christchurch Town Hall, captures Shona in extreme close-up, serving to magnify the emotional intensity of the song. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a mimed performance; her voice is absolutely spot-on, and the crowd reacts with rapturous applause.
Musical shapeshifter SJD (short for Sean James Donnelly) released second album Lost Soul Music in 2001, early in a career that has seen him blending synthesisers, backwards voices, and a love of melody — all while working to ensure that each new album heads somewhere different from the last. His vocal on single 'A Boy' shows echoes of Beck, an artist some have cited as an influence. Co-directed by his brother Kieran and Dominic Taylor, the music video mixes lively, childlike animation with shimmering images of an unusual room and the boy inside...whose head is often a blur.
'Trippin'' was the debut single and biggest hit for early 90s North Shore rockers Push Push, who were powered by the lung-filled squall of future media personality Mikey Havoc. It spent six weeks on top of the Kiwi singles chart, propelled in part by this highly effective, and award-winning performance video from Chris and Tim Mauger. The clip provides ample testimony to the power of guitars, hair, t-shirts, that voice, and a healthy dose of strobe lighting. It's worth noting that, even at this formative stage of his career, Mr Havoc isn't exactly shy of the camera.
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.
On their second single, future BBC radio star Zane Lowe and his 90s hip-hop crew proclaim themselves to be an expression of their "headphones and kerbstones", as they dedicate themselves to "knocking down the doors of the hip-hop frauds". Director Craig Jackson provides an appropriately urban setting in which the crew voice their declaration. As his footage alternates between monochrome and colour, deserted cityscapes (including the old Auckland Railway Station) combine with drifting, jazzy notes to make for a aptly impressionistic scoring of the streets.
Strawpeople Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney took themselves to Hong Kong (with guest vocalist Leza Corban) for this video. Corban's jazzy vocal and the chilled beats contrast with the hustle and bustle of the cityscape (still under the flight path of Kai Tak airport at the time). The trumpet is courtesy of Greg Johnson and the sampled voice is Richard Nixon talking to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. Co-written by Tierney and Casserly with Anthony Ioasa, Sweet Disorder won the 1995 APRA Silver Scroll for songwriting, plus the songwriting gong at the 1996 NZ Music Awards.
In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.