Hammond Gamble scored his biggest hit with charity single 'You Make the Whole World Smile', which was written by Simon Shattky, Murray Grindlay and Murray McNabb. Promoting Red Nose Day, it was the first local song to top the Kiwi singles chart in different years (1992 and 1993). Sales were further fuelled by a music video which expanded the massed chorus to include a who's who of Kiwi actors and sports stars. In 2010, Anika Moa released a more countrified version of the song.
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.
The video for this Red Nose Day chart-topper makes the most of a powerhouse combination: celebrities and cute babies. Although lead singer Hammond Gamble gets his share of screen time, the video is mostly devoted to close-ups of perhaps the biggest pile-up of famous Kiwis ever to cram into one music video. The faces include appearances early on by actors Simone Kessell, Ilona Rodgers, and Mark Raffety — plus The Wizard, sports legends Grant Fox, John Kirwan and Jeremy Coney, newsreaders Judy Bailey and Anita McNaught, and singers Tina Cross and Suzanne Lynch.
Subtitled 'Waiting for Summer', this Radio with Pictures report looks at live pop music in Auckland in 1982. Chris Knox, Graham Brazier, Hammond Gamble, Ian Morris, Peter Urlich, Michael O'Neill (The Screaming Meemees) and Tony Waine (The Narcs) muse on everything from Auckland vs Wellington, oldies vs youth, to the weather’s impact on songs, and the lack of venues. There are visits to The Gluepot and Urlich’s A Certain Bar. Label directors, booking agents and managers give their (mostly downbeat) take on the state of the scene. Rip It Up editor Murray Cammick talks lyrics.
This episode of the 1987 "mainly country" music show starts with host Andy Anderson touting homegrown talent. Al Hunter sings about Queen Street’s neon cowboy. Auckland’s Working Holiday sing Aretha's blues number 'Won't Be Long' with harmonica player Brendan Power. Jodi Vaughan performs a plaintive country ditty. Gore’s Dusty Spittle suggests listening to Mum's advice about overdoing it, accompanied by an illustrative skit (with actors Mark Hadlow and Alice Fraser). Then it’s Andy’s favourite Kiwi singer, Hammond Gamble. All the guests jam onstage to conclude.
Hosted by Charlotte Dawson, How’s Life? saw a rotating panel of guests responding to letters from viewers in an effort to help them navigate their day to day struggles. In this episode, the panel is made up of Paul Henry, Suzanne Paul, a pre-Outrageous Fortune Robyn Malcolm and ex Department of Work and Income boss Christine Rankin. The issues under discussion include a difficult five-year-old, strangers sneezing on your food, and a teenager who doesn't approve of their ex's new boyfriend. There is also meningococcal awareness advice from Auckland District Health Board.
Director Grahame McLean uses the notorious (then recent) 'Mr Asia' drug smuggling saga as fodder for this Wellington underbelly tale. Hello Sailor’s Harry Lyon headlines as a musician and ex-con who partners with a beautiful journo to investigate a global drug syndicate, in between nightclub sessions with fellow musos Beaver and Hammond Gamble. High on 80s guitar licks, Should I be Good? was made in the tax break era without Film Commission investment. McLean followed it right away with The Lie of the Land, becoming a rare Kiwi to make two movies back to back.
TVNZ ventured back into country music for the first time since That’s Country with this series hosted by actor and musician Andy Anderson. Very much a down home cousin to its big budget predecessor, it bypassed glamour to focus firmly on live performances (with few retakes allowed). Music director Dave Fraser presided over a crack resident band. The guest performers included Midge Marsden, Dalvanius, John Grenell, Beaver, Sonny Day, Hammond Gamble and Brendan Dugan. The music sometimes strayed into other genres. Five episodes were made, but only four screened.
Lancashire-born Hammond Gamble moved to Whangarei as a 12-year-old in the early 60s. He formed Street Talk in Auckland in 1974. They regularly sold out venues like the Windsor Castle and The Gluepot, and were a major drawcard in a burgeoning late 70s live scene. Despite high profile producers — Chris Hillman of the Byrds for their first single and Los Angeles svengali Kim Fowley for their debut album — they failed to make a major impression beyond Auckland. Gamble went on to become a NZ music institution as a songwriter and blues performer.
Hammond Gamble’s Street Talk were a star attraction in the late 70s Auckland pub scene. Their debut album had a heavyweight producer in LA scenester (and Runaways svengali) Kim Fowley. This TVNZ video uses an alleyway set to reflect the band’s “street music” rock’n’roll (with a dash of Springsteen-style bruised romanticism). The band might look new wave, but the rootsier Gamble is after a more conventional look. Whether any self-respecting bluesman would keep his guitar in a rubbish bin is another matter altogether.