Evolving from the group Spats, The Crocodiles released their first album Tears in 1980. It included the classic song of the same name. Managed by one-time Split Enz member Mike Chunn, the eclectic pop band underwent many line-up changes in its short lifespan. There was no lack of talent in the turnover, with bandmembers that included singer Jenny Morris, future music video maestro Fane Flaws and future film composer Peter Dasent — plus acting legend Bruno Lawrence, who was replaced by Ian Gilroy (The Swingers). The Crocodiles called it a day in 1981, soon after the final lineup recorded the song 'Hello Girl'.
This was the last music video made by 80s band The Crocodiles before they left NZ for Australia. The clip features new band members Jonathan Swartz, Barton Price (who later found success with Aussie band The Models), and future solo star Rikki Morris, then aged 20. Singer Jenny Morris is in leopard print and pink lycra, and Rikki wears a very 80s combo of high-waisted white pants and argyle sweater, as the band clown around in a supermarket (now a Hutt Valley McDonalds). Dave Dobbyn makes a cameo appearance dressed in drag as Morris's mother.
Band Spats demonstrated they could write a catchy song with 'New Wave Goodbye'. But it needed the addition of singer Jenny Morris, a name change to The Crocodiles and a track called 'Tears' for the public to really sit up and take notice. In the video, drummer Bruno Lawrence hangs around next to a shady lamp post while Morris passes by, and the band's bubblegum coloured costumes positively shine against an all white set. After reaching number 17 on the NZ singles charts, 'Tears' won the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1980.
The Crocodiles were on tour supporting their second album, Looking at Ourselves, when this video was shot in Dunedin. Though he’d left the touring unit, Fane Flaws still provided material and was co-writer of ‘Telephone Lover’. Dunedin’s old Bing Harris Sargood building provides the backdrop for most of the video, while the ‘live’ sections were shot at the now-defunct Shoreline Tavern. Dunedin cameraman Peter Janes directed and filmed the segment for regional news programme The South Tonight.
Possibly channelling the final rooftop concert by The Beatles (a number of The Crocodiles were big Beatles fans), this up-on-the roof video was self-produced by The Crocodiles. It marked Fane Flaws first directing credit — made, with fine business sense, for a song that was never released as a single. The location was near Parliament, with the high shots coming from an unauthorised trip to the top of a nearby Government high-rise. Vocalist Jenny Morris and drummer Bruno Lawrence play ill-matched lovers — as they would do in the video for breakthrough Crocodiles hit 'Tears'.