The Songs of Westside

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. Season two of the crime and family prequel continued the tradition, as does season three which debuted on Three in July 2017. The third series is set entirely in 1982. From Mr Lee Grant in a 60s flashback, to Split Enz, this Spotlight features another impressive parade of Kiwi songs, in rough order of when they turn up on screen.

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Watch Your Back

Music Video, 1977 (Rock)

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.  

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Kaleidoscope World

Music Video, 1982 (Pop, Flying Nun, Indie)

This was the iconic Dunedin group's first music video. Directed by Peter Janes, the promo for the song roams around an aptly chilly looking attic while the band performs. As soap bubbles float towards the rafters, there’s fog on the breath of singer Martin Phillipps, who lulls the listener to swim into space with him … “come along baby we'll live in our kaleidoscope world”. The early Chills song was from Flying Nun’s seminal Dunedin Double EP. It was later featured as the opening (and title) track on The Chills’ debut LP, a 1986 compilation of early career songs.

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Beatnik

Music Video, 1982 (Alternative, Flying Nun)

A Texan stops by "One Day At The Coffee Bar", and confronted by kaftan wearing, pot smoking beatniks, tries to enjoy a cuppa. Silly costuming, delightful comic timing and hammy performances afford this clip legendary status amongst NZ's finest.

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Heart and Soul

Music Video, 1984 (Pop)

‘Heart and Soul’ — sometimes called 'You Took Me (Heart and Soul)' — was the biggest hit for rockers The Narcs. It peaked at number four on the NZ singles chart and took away two awards at the 1984 NZ Music Awards. A spare, brooding rumination on love, it represented a departure from the more full on rock’n’roll that marked the band’s sound when they emerged on the Christchurch pub scene in the early 80s. Shot on a blacked out set, the video has all the hallmarks of a test run for a new digital effects suite — although that doesn’t explain the red pyramid at the centre of proceedings.

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Thanks to You

Music Video, 1967 (Pop)

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.

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Tumblin' Down

Music Video, 1967 (Pop)

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.

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Auckland Tonight

Music Video, 1981 (Punk)

One of the great rock'n'roll songs about Auckland is the work of a Christchurch band. 'Auckland Tonight' is The Androidss' claim to fame - and yet it was the b-side of their only single. The work of a band that was never scared of a good time, it extols the virtues of a night on the town with special mention of Proud Scum and Toy Love playing at the Windsor Castle. The TVNZ video careers around rain soaked streets (with a shot of the long-gone Harbour Bridge toll booths) and offers telling glimpses of The Androidss' bête noir - the central police station.

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I Hope I Never

Music Video, 1980 (Pop)

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.  

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Be Mine Tonight

Music Video, 1979 (Pop, Rock)

After three years of playing live, Th’ Dudes began their recording career with this classic, chiming piece of pop from the pens of Dave Dobbyn and Ian Morris. The video was made at TVNZ’s Christchurch Manchester Street Studios. With Dobbyn taking the main vocal, there was no onstage role for Peter Urlich — so he sat dissolutely at a table in the foreground of the empty nightclub set. ‘Be Mine Tonight’ went on to win Single of the Year at the NZ Music Awards, and become an enduring Kiwi classic — three decades later, it closed out the final episode of Outrageous Fortune.

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French Letter '95

Music Video, 1995 (Reggae)

In this video, languid Pacific Island imagery (poi, hibiscus, tamariki, breaching whales) and gorgeous reggae pop are contrasted with images of French nuclear testing. There are punchy "no nukes" slogans and graphics but a great performance from the band does the work effortlessly in this simple, well-crafted video. Originally released in 1982, the hit song was re-released in 1995 to protest resumption of testing: "Let me be more specific - get out of the Pacific!"

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Getting Older

Music Video, 1982 (Flying Nun)

Early standard bearers for the Flying Nun label, The Clean ended their first incarnation with this abrasive, rollicking, darkly-humoured take on the aging process (featuring backing vocals from Chris Knox and some Robert Scott trumpet). Ronnie van Hout, who designed much of the label's early artwork, turned his hand at directing for this clip. Without a budget, he utilised the Christchurch service lanes and aging inner city buildings which housed so many of the local music industry's bars, clubs and rehearsal rooms (and a succession of early Flying Nun offices).

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Blue Day

Music Video, 1984 (Pop, Electronic)

"Things are not always the way they should be", sings Steve Gilpin in 'Blue Day', from Mi-Sex's 1984 album Where Do They Go. Reaching number 24 in Australia and 36 in NZ, it was their last charting single before the band broke up; it's also on the APRA Top 100 NZ Songs list at number 54. The band plays on a darkened studio set, a strong neon-blue visual style complementing the soft, haunting keyboard intro. Artificial light suggests the day outside; pushed up jacket sleeves and genie pants are an unmistakable reminder of mid-80s fashion.

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I See Red

Music Video, 1979 (Pop)

With departed founder member Phil Judd back in NZ, this UK written Tim Finn rocker took Split Enz even further into pop territory and away from their art rock roots. Of a piece with the most energetic New Wave of the time, it was accompanied by a video with an appropriately frenzied performance which former member and Enz historian Mike Chunn rated as one of their most infectious. The band are wearing Noel Crombie’s art-school designed suits, Neil Finn looks ridiculously young and endings don’t come much more abruptly than this one.

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Jumping Out a Window

Music Video, 1981 (Pop)

With its swirling keyboards and dark lyrical concerns (in keeping with the fraught year NZ was embarking on), 'Jumping Out a Window' has become a classic (with a slot in APRA's Nature's Best Top 100). The third Pop Mechanix single, it shows the influence of the friends the band was starting to make — produced by Split Enz' Eddie Raynor and the debut release on Mike Chunn's boutique XSF label. The TVNZ made clip is firmly of its time and one of the broadcaster's more literal efforts (no mean feat in itself) — featuring windows and jumping.