Category Song of the Week

Paloma Blanca by George Baker Selection

Every New Zealand #1 single… 3 Paloma Blanca by George Baker Selection Topped the NZ chart: from 1 August 1975 for five non-consecutive weeks Dutch musician George Baker scored hits in three different decades. 1969’s ‘Little Green Bag’ is an…

Is It Over Now? by Taylor Swift

Every New Zealand #1 single… 8 Is It Over Now? Topped the NZ chart: from 6 November 2023 for 1 week It’s a little perverse for the randomiser to suggest a Taylor Swift song for this column when she’s just…

In The Shadows by The Rasmus

Every New Zealand #1 single… 5 In the Shadows Topped the NZ chart: for 1 week from 23 August 2004. In the last column, I covered ABBA’s ‘Fernando‘. This week the randomiser threw up another track from Scandinavia, from Finland’s…

Fernando by ABBA

Every New Zealand #1 single… 9 Fernando Topped the NZ chart: from 4 June 1976 for 9 weeks 1976 was the year of ABBA in New Zealand. The Swedish quartet topped the singles chart for 15 of 45 possible weeks…

I’m Your Man by Wham!

Every New Zealand #1 single… 6 I’m Your Man Topped the NZ chart: from 16 February 1986 for 1 week Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael met at Bushey Meads School. They formed a ska band with school friends, before paring…

With You by Chris Brown

Every New Zealand #1 single… 8 With You Topped the NZ chart: from 18 February 2008 for 4 weeks Chris Brown was one of the most successful singles artists on the New Zealand chart during the first decade of the…

Star Crossed Lovers by Craig Scott

Every New Zealand #1 single… 3 Star Crossed Lovers Topped the NZ chart: from 12 June 1970 for 4 weeks (non-consecutive). I’d never heard of Craig Scott before. But apparently he was a heartthrob for New Zealand woman of a…

Love Yourself by Justin Bieber

Every New Zealand #1 single… 5 Love Yourself by Justin Bieber Topped the NZ chart: from 7 December 2015 for 10 weeks. Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber was discovered via YouTube. His mother had uploaded videos of Bieber singing onto…

End of the Road by Boyz II Men

Every New Zealand #1 single… 8 End of the Road by BOYZ II MEN Topped the NZ chart: from 18 October 1992 for 7 weeks. Philadelphia vocal harmony quartet Boyz II Men were successful on the New Zealand single charts…

Axel F by Crazy Frog

Every New Zealand #1 single… 1 Axel F by Crazy Frog Topped the NZ chart: from 18 July 2005 for 11 weeks. 2005 just might be the worst year for #1 singles in the history of the NZ chart. There…

Lovesick Blues by Frank Ifield

Every New Zealand #1 single… Lovesick Blues by Frank Ifield Topped the NZ chart: 10 January 1963 for 1 week. 3 The early 1960s are notable for a power vacuum in rock and roll. Many stars of the 1950s saw…

Waterfall by 10cc: Great B-sides

The four members of 10cc were all veterans of the 1960s music scene. Graham Gouldman was a successful songwriter, penning The Hollies’ ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘For You Love’ for The Yardbirds. Eric Stewart played with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.…

Gloria by Them – Great B-Sides

Van Morrison’s enjoyed a long and prolific career. Like Neil Young, he’s continued to released a new studio album almost every year, even long past retirement age. Such is the breadth of Morrison’s discography, the two albums he made with…

Tiny Ruins Album Reviews

Introduction New Zealand is presently enjoying a strong crop of female singer-songwriters. Along with Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins, we also have the weirdness of Aldous Harding and the imagery-laden writing of Nadia Reid. Pop superstar Lorde isn’t a singer-songwriter but shares the…

Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne

My favourite Jackson Browne song is the title track to his third album, 1974’s Late for the Sky. I’ve never fully understood its meaning. There are dark themes throughout the album – the closing track ‘Before the Deluge’ is apocalyptic.…

The Front Lawn Album Reviews

Growing up in Auckland’s North Shore, Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair deferred their chosen careers when they returned from their OEs. McGlashan was a musician. He had already drummed for the Auckland post-punk trio, Blam Blam Blam. He penned the…

Victoria by The Dance Exponents

They’re barely known outside New Zealand, but The Dance Exponents were reliable hitmakers in the 1980s. They kept enjoying success through the 1990s after they shortened their name to The Exponents. They weren’t edgy or pretentious, a pop/rock guitar band…

Sweetest Thing by U2: Great B-Sides

Irish rock band U2 peaked with their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. Their fifth record, it combined Bono’s fervour with a sweeping sound from The Edge’s effect-laden guitar and atmospheric production from Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. It’s also the…

Dimmer Album Reviews

In January 1994, Straitjacket Fits played their last gig at the Big Day Out festival. Disillusioned by the music industry, Shayne Carter returned to Dunedin and spent years largely away from the music industry. He later described this period to…

Sign of Love by Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann scored her only hit single with her first attempt. She fronted Boston new wave band ‘Til Tuesday, whose debut single ‘Voices Carry’ reached #8 on the Billboard charts. Despite the immediate success of ‘Voices Carry’, it took a…

The Phoenix Foundation Album Reviews

New Zealand indie band The Phoenix Foundation was formed by Wellington High School students in 1994. The group features two singer-guitarists – Polish-born Luke Buda and Samuel Flynn Scott, the son of a prominent NZ cartoonist. Conrad Webbe on keyboards…

Lorde Album Reviews

Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the daughter of a poet and a civil engineer. She grew up immersed in poetry and literature. She built a profile through SoundCloud and talent shows, and in June 2013,…

Singapore by Girls Aloud: Great B-Sides

Lots of dedicated music fans are sniffy about mainstream pop music from the 21st century. And if there’s anything worse, it’s 21st-century mainstream pop that was pre-fabricated for a TV show. Girls Aloud originated from the reality show Popstars: The…

Marlon Williams Album Reviews

Marlon WIlliams grew up in Lyttleton, New Zealand. He toured Europe as a member of the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and started playing guitar in high school. His band The Unfaithful Ways, formed with two friends…

Ween 12 Golden Country Greats

So Long Jerry by Ween: Great B-Sides

One of the most misleading album titles in popular music is Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats. The country part isn’t misleading; Dean and Gene Ween actually recorded an entire album in Nashville with notable musos like Charlie McCoy and Bud…

The Finn Brothers Everyone is Here

Finn Brothers

I’ve already covered the Split Enz and Crowded House catalogues separately – this page covers Neil and Tim Finn’s solo albums and duo projects. I’ve only covered a handful of Tim’s solo albums, but I’ve written about most of Neil’s…

The Beths Album Reviews

The Beths are from Auckland, New Zealand, where they met at jazz school. Guitarist Jonathan Pearce stated that playing jazz provided a “very clear idea of what we didn’t want to do”. Instead, the quartet reverted to the music they…

Blk Girl Soldier by Jamila Woods

Chicago’s Jamila Woods is a writer and a recording artist, and as such she’s able to sing eloquently about racial issues. Her second album, 2019’s Legacy! Legacy!, was a neo-soul masterpiece, so recently I’ve gone back to her 2016 debut…

The Mutton Birds Album Reviews

Don McGlashan kicked around the arty end of the New Zealand alternative scene during the 1980s. He played the drums in Blam Blam Blam, providing lead vocals for the iconic and ironic ‘There Is No Depression In New Zealand’. On…

Grendel by Marillion: Great B-Sides

Marillion were named after JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, and were formed in 1979. Early Marillion were often compared to the progressive-rock era of Genesis – lead vocalist Fish’s theatricality was similar to Peter Gabriel. The core lineup of guitarist Steve…

Neil Young Decade

Sugar Mountain by Neil Young: Great B-Sides

Neil Young first rose to prominence in 1960s folk-rock group Buffalo Springfield, playing lead guitar on their breakthrough hit ‘For What It’s Worth’ and writing ‘Mr Soul’ and ‘Broken Arrow’. Young’s Buffalo Springfield work isn’t his earliest recorded legacy –…

Dave Dobbyn Album Reviews

Every country has a songwriter who’s very successful in their own territory, but hasn’t translated well elsewhere; Australia has Paul Kelly, and Canada had Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip. New Zealand’s equivalent is Dave Dobbyn, a songwriter who emerged…

New Zealand Miscellany

Fat Freddy’s Drop | Fly My Pretties | Aldous Harding | Kerry Logan | L.A. Mitchell | Supergroove Fat Freddy’s Drop Based On A True Story 2005, 6/10Polynesian dub band Fat Freddy’s Drop hit the mainstream in New Zealand in the…

New Zealand Music

As a New Zealander, this site’s naturally biased towards New Zealand artists, so I’ve collated them all onto one area of the site. New Zealand pop music didn’t really start in earnest until later than the rest of the world.…