Singer/songwriter Sharon O’Neill did Los Angeles inspired, mid-70s pop/rock as well as many of her contemporaries in California — but it’s hard to imagine opening lines as striking as these ones coming from that West Coast. ‘Words’ was the first single from her self titled, second long player which won her Album of the Year and Best Female Vocalist at the 1980 NZ Awards. After years behind the keyboards, O’Neill shines in this video filmed in front of an audience with a band that includes Simon Morris, Wayne Mason and future Mutton Bird Ross Burge.
‘Cruel’ was former Fast Crew member Dane Rumble’s third solo single (and Top 20 hit). It was recognised at the 2010 APRA Silver Scrolls as the year’s most played local song on NZ radio and television. The sound of this lively piece of synth pop belies the lyric’s bitter break-up recriminations, which in this video director Ivan Slavov translates into an intergalactic tale of heartbreak featuring a lovelorn android. Inspired by Rumble’s long standing fascination with NASA’s Hubble telescope images, it won Best Solo Video at the 2010 Juice TV Awards.
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.
On ‘Lady Lywa’, Nathan Haines swaps his trademark saxophone for a flute, serving up a slice of sleekly sophisticated cool. The video captures a live performance at London’s Lovebuzz Studios, with a sharply suited Haines leading a five piece ensemble of seasoned players — including his long term collaborator, keyboardist/producer Mike Patto. The track was penned by Haines, and features on his 2013 long-player Vermillion Skies, which debuted on the local top five on release, and won him his third Best Jazz Album Tui at the 2014 New Zealand Music Awards.
This Janice Weaver song was originally recorded by American singer Morgana King (who played Mama Corleone in the first two Godfather films). Allison Durbin's epic version featured backing from Quincy Conserve and was produced by Howard Gable (who she later married). The biggest selling release by a New Zealand artist in 1968, it topped the local singles chart and won the Loxene Golden Disc. Durbin's performances from the televised Loxene awards show and a TV special have long since been lost but this grainy Australian TV clip of her finest moment survives.
Following the demise of Pacific Funk band Big Sideways, vocalist Debbie Harwood launched a solo career with this cover of an Ashford and Simpson song written for Gladys Knight and the Pips. The single was dedicated to recently deceased Dragon keyboards player Paul Hewson, and it won Harwood a NZ Music Award (at a ceremony which provided the impetus for the formation of When the Cat’s Away). The video, produced by TVNZ at Avalon, is a straightforward studio performance, but is notable for the extended, two minute long tracking shot that comprises its second half.