This collection rounds up almost every music video for a number one hit by a Kiwi artist; everything from ballads to hip hop to glam rock. Press on the images below to find the hits for each decade — plus try this backgrounder by Michael Higgins, whose high speed history of local hits touches on the sometimes questionable ways past charts were created.
NZ On Screen has selected this collection of 30 Kiwi love songs, which spans 50 years of music. The list ranges widely — from an early Loxene Golden Disc winner for Ray Columbus and the Invaders, to Dragon in the 70s, and in the 80s, everyone from Blam Blam Blam to Prince Tui Teka. Entries from later decades include Tiki Taane and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. That's not even the half of it: along the way, check out a trio of classics whose take on romance is positively oceanic: 'Anchor Me', 'Sway' and 'Not Given Lightly'.
This edition of Prime TV’s history of New Zealand television looks at 50 years of entertainment. The smorgasbord of music, comedy and variety shows ranges from 60s pop stars to Popstars, from the anarchy of Blerta to the anarchy of Telethon, from Radio with Pictures to Dancing with the Stars. Music television moves from C’mon and country, to punk and hip hop videos. Comedy follows the formative Fred Dagg and Billy T, through to Eating Media Lunch and 7 Days. A roll call of New Zealand entertainers muse on seeing Kiwis laugh, sing and shimmy on the small screen.
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.
Described by writer John Dix as "New Zealand's first television pop idol", Mr Lee Grant won hysterical fans while making regular appearances on 60s music show C'Mon, after winning a radio talent quest. Loxene Golden Disc winner 'Thanks to You' was one of three Grant singles to top the local charts. Born as Bogdan Kominowski to Polish parents in a WWII concentration camp, he reverted to his birth name after relocating to the United Kingdom. His acting career includes a minor part in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill, and the starring role on an Australasian tour of Phantom of the Opera.
English born singer Trevor Hales was a household name in the late 60s NZ music scene. After a stint with raunchy Auckland r’n’b act The Pleazers, he launched a solo career as Shane. He was spotted by TV producer Kevan Moore who had turned up to an Auckland club to audition another vocalist for a resident slot replacing Mr Lee Grant on pop show C’mon — but Hales got the job instead. His biggest hit came with ‘St Paul’ — written about Beatle Paul McCartney — which topped the charts and took out the Loxene Golden disc for local song of the year in 1969.
After being spotted by television producer Christopher Bourn at the 1966 Loxene Golden Disc Awards, Maria Dallas was asked to star in series Golden Girl, grooving and bopping through country and crossover numbers. On a WNTV-1 stairway to nowhere set, she duets on Loxene winner ‘Tumblin’ Down’ with the song’s writer Jay Epae. Her other four numbers include ‘Rustle Your Bustle’ (by Kiwi Sam Freedman), and ‘Engine Engine No 9’. Guests The Dallas Four make their TV debut with a version of doo-wop classic ‘Stay’. The band went on to provide backing vocals for pop show Happen Inn.
‘Everyone’s Gonna Wonder’ was penned by part American, part Kiwi Chris Malcolm, who passed through New Zealand in 1967. Busking in a Wellington wharf coffee house, he spied “a starry-eyed couple sitting, staring into each other’s eyes and totally oblivious to the surroundings, so I wrote a song about them.” After HMV producer Nick Karavias heard it, it became the debut single for his young charges the Avengers. This promo films a studio session. On the back of lush vocal harmonies the track rose to number seven on the Kiwi hit parade; it also earned a Loxene Golden Disc nomination.
Thanks to You topped the New Zealand music charts three weeks after its release in 1967, and earned Mr Lee Grant the Loxene Golden Disc Award. In this performance on C’mon, introduced by the legendary Peter Sinclair, he performs the hit in a distinctive three piece suit against a changing psychedelic backdrop. Mr Lee Grant’s Kiwi tour was split between shows for his sometimes hysterical teenage fans, and cabaret shows for the adults. The combination made him one of the country’s most popular acts, and saw him named 1967’s Entertainer of the Year at the NEBOA awards.
This notorious clip was filmed for Timberjack's appearance at the 1971 Loxene Golden Disc Awards, to accompany their symphonic cover of the song by British band Black Widow. The Wicker Man-esque images of skulls and ritualistic sacrifice would do any of today's "black metal" groups proud — but proved too much for TV1 audiences, who jammed the switchboard with complaints. An alternate version screened a week later with the black and white negative inverted, but proved equally unsavoury and led to an outright ban. Warning: contains nudity and pine needles.