Sitting in the Rain is a New Zealand pop landmark. One of the earliest music promo clips, filmed for television in 1967 by the NZBC, it is a cover version by a local band that became better known than the original (by UK blues stalwart John Mayall). The Underdogs were a powerful electric blues combo, but with 'Sitting in the Rain' they knew that less is more; the film clip, used to fill TV scheduling gaps, is similarly unfussy. Like a surly, underground Monkees, the anarchic Underdogs don't hide the fact that the performance is mimed.
The penultimate Pop Mechanix single was an exploration of carnality, anchored by chiming guitars with vocals by Andrew McLennan (Coconut Rough and 'Sierra Leone'). It was one of the first music videos directed by Spot On video competition winner Paul Middleditch, who was still at school. He went on to make videos for Tim Finn and Tex Pistol, commercials, and 2009 movie Separation City. The location was a cold, disused office. “Luckily,” says bass player Paul Scott, “we were into leather jackets, big coats and damn big hair because the place was absolutely freezing”.
A grainy low-fi look belies the intricacies of this music video by Christchurch indie pop rockers Tiger Tones. The look of super-8 film and the bulk of the video being shot out the window of a moving car almost convince that it’s a simply recut homevideo. The subtly CG titles, slo-mo close ups of the band and lightning cuts matching the rapidly shrieking guitar suggest however, that something a bit more clever is at play. At the time of the song’s release Tiger Tunes had won Best Breakthrough Act at the 2007 bNet Awards, and were in the process of releasing their debut album.
The Mockers were at the peak of their mid-80s pop prowess when they released this single. It originated with Andrew Fagan’s Wellington based co-writer Gary Curtis hearing reports of the 1984 Queen Street riot in Auckland (after an outdoor concert which had featured The Mockers). The music video places the band amongst the lions, acrobats, rides and sideshows of the now defunct Whirling Brothers Circus (set up in Victoria Park in inner city Auckland). Fagan is resplendent in a velvet frock coat with lace cuffs, black choker and matching nail polish.
After hit song 'I Got You' proved definitively that art rockers Split Enz could be chart-topping pop stars, their 1980 album True Colours yielded a second classic single. This time it showcased Tim Finn's vocal range. The music video is set in some stately mansion after the last champagne of the night. Finn wanders into the back garden as he mourns the pain of being "haunted by the things that you feel", while the rest of the Enz stand around as part of the tableau. Annie Crummer later covered the track for Eddie Rayner-led project ENZSO.
Jon Stevens performs the song that turned him into an overnight pop star. 'Jezebel', written by little known UK songwriter Edwin Howell, was his debut single. It spent five weeks at number one, knocking Michael Jackson's 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' from the top slot to get there. This performance is introduced by TV presenter Roger Gascoigne and features a guest appearance from a disembodied saxophone. But the real showstoppers are Stevens' trousers which appear to have been sprayed on and, surely set more than a few fans' hearts aflutter.
"Hey you, you’ve got the moves … I can’t refuse!" Aishah and the Fan Club scored a run of pop hits in New Zealand and Malaysia in the late 80s with songs like 'Sensation' and this single (which peaked at No.8 in the charts). This bold studio-set video, directed by Paul Middleditch, won Best Music Video at the 1989 New Zealand Music Awards. With paint splashes, leather jackets, shades, silhouetted choreography, Dr Martens, and slick camera moves and editing, it’s an unmistakably 80s video, coupling the crisp pop beats with a fashion shoot or dance floor vibe.
Looking like Borat out on the town, Monte Video's 'Shoop Shoop ...' invaded the pop charts in 1982. The novelty song written by — and starring — veteran Auckland musician Murray Grindlay reached No 2 in New Zealand, No 11 in Australia, and was released in the UK. TVNZ's chart show Ready to Roll found itself playing host to a hedonistic video filmed at Ponsonby's Peppermint Park nightclub with scenes of flagrant alcohol and tobacco use and a cast of transvestites. Follow-up album Monte Video featured song 'You Can't Stop Me Now', which seemed like a threat.
This 2014 single comes from Nobody / Everybody, the sophomore album by Kiwi guitar pop outfit Clap Clap Riot. Coming a couple of years after ballet psychodrama Black Swan (2010), the video concentrates on a ballet dancer who eventually pirouettes into an alternative reality; from the dance floor to submarine world and a pine forest, where a prone Stephen Heard is doing the singing. The promo was created by director Karlie Fisher and cinematographer Jeremy Toth. Kody Nielson (Mint Chicks, Opossum) produced the song.
Auckland band The Screaming Meemees shared a 45 with The Newmatics before releasing this infectious ska-pop number which became an 80s classic. In August 1981 it was the first single to enter the NZ Top 20 at No.1 and they were rewarded with a breakneck trip to Wellington for a TVNZ video made at the Avalon Studios. More produced than many early 80s Avalon clips, it comes complete with masks, white roses, pooled water and a stained glass window (perhaps inspired by reports that the ex-Catholic school boys based their early songwriting on hymns).