A key link in persuading New Zealanders that local music could be as exciting as anything from overseas, Hello Sailor were formed in Ponsonby by Dave McArtney, Graham Brazier and Harry Lyon in 1975. The eclectic rockers won a reputation as an arresting live act, in a scene dominated by covers bands and disco. Their 1977 debut was the first album of original Kiwi music to go gold. After time in the US they disbanded in 1980, but reunions and further albums followed; a new generation was introduced to their music via TV series Outrageous Fortune. McArtney died 15 April 2013; Brazier on 5 September 2015.
Hello Sailor's time in the sun saw them spending time in Ponsonby, LA and Sydney, becoming a legendary live act, and releasing an iconic debut album. This collection features documentary Sailor's Voyage, founder member Harry Lyon's account of the birth of the band, and tracks from Hello Sailor, both together and apart. Some of the solo songs were incorporated into the group's live set after they reunited. Included are 'Blue Lady', 'New Tattoo' and 'Gutter Black’, later reborn on TV's Outrageous Fortune.
As a showcase history of Christchurch on screen this collection is backwards looking; but the devastation caused by the earthquakes gives it much more than nostalgic poignancy. As Russell Brown reflects in his introduction, the clips are mementos from, "a place whose face has changed". They testify to the buildings, culture and life of a city now lost, but sure to rise.
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’s Top 10 most viewed titles of 2015 features two All Blacks, a pair of animated favourites, a number of guitars, the debut episode of Outrageous Fortune, and a documentary about moko. Check out the top 10 list below, and find out more about the top 10 here.
The first season of Westside continued a grand tradition, one that began on parent show Outrageous Fortune: laying classic Kiwi tunes, where appropriate, into the mix. Later seasons of the crime and family prequel have offered more Kiwi gold. From Mr Lee Grant in a flashback to the 60s, to Split Enz and Hello Sailor, this collection shines the spotlight on an impressive parade of Kiwi songs — in order of their first appearance on the show.
Chosen as the theme tune of Outrageous Fortune spinoff Westside roughly four decades after it was first performed, this guitar and sax-driven rocker appeared on the first album by the legendary, on again off again Hello Sailor. Taken from music show Ready to Roll, this performance sees Brazier and band talking tough in leather about danger on the streets, and "nights like a razor blade". Harry Lyon snarls over his red guitar, Graham Brazier plays a saxophone with a price tag on it, and Dave McArtney adopts classic bored rocker pose.
Hello Sailor perform the classic single from their debut album, for TVNZ's cameras. 'Gutter Black' features what composer Dave McArtney called the band’s trademark “whiteman’s attempt to play that ska rocksteady beat” — plus the distinctive sound of amped-up drums and handclaps. 'The song was originally titled 'Sickness Benefit', with lyrics mentioning “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” — as revealed on a 1996 greatest hits compilation. Reconstituted as 'Gutter Black', the song took on a new lease of life as the opening theme for TV's Outrageous Fortune.
'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and various guitars. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just before the band set off to try to make it in LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms that the band’s tongue was in its chic.
This song is taken from the only new album released in the 1990s by Kiwi music legends Hello Sailor. In an AudioCulture profile of the band, writer Murray Cammick praised the Dave McArtney-penned track as one of two strong additions to the Hello Sailor canon (alongside song 'New Tattoo', also from 1994). The music video features the band playing (on a Ponsonby street, in a derelict building) intercut with archive clips (famous sporting moments, returned servicemen, Edmund Hillary, hikoi, the Beatles tour), echoing the song’s lyrical themes of waning memories and nostalgia.