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'. 

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.

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.

Artist

Mr Lee Grant

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.    

Artist

Shane

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.

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.

Artist

Ray Columbus and The Invaders

Ray Columbus and the Invaders were the first NZ band to have major international success when their early 60s hit 'She's A Mod' topped the charts in Australia. Though actually written by a Brit, Mod has become a much-covered Kiwi classic. The band's place in NZ music history was cemented when the single 'Till We Kissed' won the first Loxene Golden Disc Award in 1965 - but the band disbanded the same year, with Columbus going on to a successful solo career. At the Music Awards in 2009, the Invaders were inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame.

Pretty Girl

Hogsnort Rupert, Music Video, 1970

Captured on a single camera, Wellington band Hogsnort Rupert perform their number one hit 'Pretty Girl'. That their performance is interspersed with Christmas footage rather than anything more appropriate to its subject matter suggests that this clip was made for an end-of-year show acknowledging the song's status as New Zealand's biggest-selling single in 1970. It also won that year's Loxene Golden Disc Award. And, of course, it offers a chance for viewers to see the late Alec Wishart performing his immortal line "Come on, my lover. Give us a kiss."

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.