Collection

Five Decades of NZ Number One Hits

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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.  

Collection

Kiwi Love Songs

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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'. 

Rain and Tears

The Hi-Revving Tongues, Music Video, 1969

‘Rain and Tears’ was inspired by a reworking of Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major’ by Greek prog rockers Aphrodite’s Child (featuring Vangelis and Demis Roussos). Auckland band The Hi-Revving Tongues had their biggest hit with their version, which topped the New Zealand singles chart in 1969. This footage is from the Loxene Golden Disc contest, where they won the group award, and were nominated for best song. It’s a restrained performance which gives little hint of the band’s more psychedelic sound  — or their enthusiasm for onstage pyrotechnics.

50 Years of New Zealand Television: 3 - Let Us Entertain You

Television, 2010 (Full Length Episode)

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.

Golden Girl - Maria Dallas (Episode)

Television, 1967 (Full Length)

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.

I Have Loved Me a Man

Allison Durbin, Music Video, 1968

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.

Thanks to You

Mr Lee Grant, Music Video, 1967

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.

Everyone's Gonna Wonder

The Avengers, Music Video, 1967

‘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.

Tumblin' Down

Maria Dallas, Music Video, 1967

Singer Marina Devcich had been working as an apprentice hairdresser when she won a Waikato talent quest. A signing to Viking Records and a name change to Maria Dallas followed. ‘Tumblin’ Down’ was written by Taranaki musician Jay Epae, and recorded at a session in Wellington. It went to 11 in the pop charts and won the 1966 Loxene Golden Disc Award. Later the song was used to score a series of Telecom ads in the mid-80s. Dallas recorded in Nashville, moved to Australia and had a trans-Tasman career — her single ‘Pinocchio’ topped the NZ charts in 1970.

Smiley

Craig Scott, Music Video, 1971

Inspired by an Australian musician who was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, this song was first recorded by Aussie singer Ronnie Burns before Kiwi Craig Scott turned it into one of his biggest hits. Released in June 1971, Scott's version would go on to win the Loxene Golden Disc Award. These extended takes of Scott in action were likely cut together with footage taken from other angles — footage which is now missing in action. Thanks partly to regular appearances on music show Happen Inn, photos of Scott and his hair adorned bedrooms across the country in the early 1970s.