Eighties doowops ditties and dance mixes
TRUTH COUNTS DOWN THE DECADE OF MUSIC THAT ROCKED AND BOPPED NEW ZEALAND
MUSIC took a few twists during the last decade-some surprising but most shortlived. Fads became faster to flourish and fade than ever before as pop culture frantically devoured the old and devoured the old and vomited out new ideas.
The eighties saw the end of punk rock meander into a pit of self doubt and feedback. It was the decade in which disco died, only to be reincarnated in remixes five or seven years later. Rock and roll took a backseat, beaten down by its own baby, the blues. But through it all, pop ditties were the big sellers as the teen market jumped to the jive of anything with a gimmick, a go-go beat or, if all else failed, a gifted artist.
But a countdown of the decade in New Zealand tells it’s own story. 1980 kicked off in the midst of Michael Jackson mania. His Off The Wall album released hit after hit. Jazz king Dave Brubeck toured New Zealand with his quartet,Sharon
O’Neill sent words back from Sydney and later teamed with Jon Stevens, bouncing on the charts with Jezebel, to tour New Zealand.
Pink Floyd found commercial successs and critical acclaim with the wall while Fleetwood Mac found neither with their $1.5m dollar flop, Tusk. British band Recey toured New Zealand with their wide lapelled clothing and thin talents. Split Enz released their biggest selling single, I Got You. Donna Summer relinquished obeyance to disco and converted to Christianity while Blondie’s Debbie Harry kept the faith with Call Me. Marcia Hines, Gary Numan and Devo toured New Zealand.
Tina Cross threw away her boob tube and satin disco trousers and was barely heard of again The Boomtown Rats tured. Jon English toured New Zealand while disco lovers flocked to -try the New York groove called the Chic. No one really knew much about the craze except it involved rubbing naughty bits through clothing. Comic strip characters Kiss toured New Zealand.
John Lennon released Just Like Starting Over. A In 1981 Dolly Parton busted out with the song 9 To 5 and this was immediately confused with Sheena Easton’s Morning Train (ine to five). Willie Nelson caused a stir by playing I Love To Have A Joint With Willie over loudspeakers before his New Zealand shows. Olivia Newton John cut a sweaty single intended for Rod Stewart called Let’s Get Physical, her lily-white im age took a battering.
John Lennon was gunned down. Blondie released a hint of things to come with Rapture. The Blues Brothers hit the big screen-the soundtrack was to change the sound of parties for years to come. Try as they might, who could forget Laurie Dee’s Rugby Deck Of Cards.
Stevie Wonder toured, local ska band The Newmatics did likewise and A Taste Of Honey released the song Sukiyaki. Bob Marley succumbed to cancer, Harry Belafonte visited New Zealand for the first time and junk mixes entered the charts with the arrival of the Stars On 45 Medley. Accordian idiot Joe Dolce released Shaddap You Face.The Oak Ridge Riders released Elvira. 1982 kicked off with a tour by Ultravox, riding the charts with Vienna. Elton John returned to tour as did John Mayall with some of his original Bluebreakers.Blam Blam Blam followed the success of their anthem type hit No Depression In New Zealand with an album called Luxury Length.
George Benson toured. Masterton played host to the Rainbow Music Festival. Mental As Anything and The Pretenders toured. Shakin’ Stevens hit our shores to belt out Green Door. Anne Murray, Donovan and The Troggs all made eappearances. Barry Manilow publicly denied he was a mummy’s boy. John Paul Young toured to promote his single Love Is In the Air. Grace Jones and Elvis Costello toured separately.
The portly Prince Tu Teka hit the top spot with E Ipo and John Rowles made a triumphant return to New Zealand as a Las Vegas star. DD Smash were declared group of the year for their Cool Bananas album. A 19-year-old Derek Metzger charted with Don’t Say Goodbye and a slightly older Des O’Connor toured. french musician Richard Clayderman
performed for lunchtime crowds in Auckland.
Maori’s On 45 was released to loud groans and huge record buying. Jethro Tull, Mental As Anything and Dragon all
toured. 1983 began well for Solid Gold host Dionne Warwick,she had a chart topper for the first time in eight years with Heart breaker. Simon & amp; Garfunkel performed to two large audiences in Wellington and Auckland.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie was let loose, with bored Boomtown Rat, Bob Geldoff starring. Monte Videbombarded
listeners with the appalling Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop. Reggae pioneer Toots Hibbet brought his band the Maytals to New Zealand. Marvin Gaye released the wonder fully sleazy Sexual Healing, while Australian band The Church toured. A young INXS played two concerts in Hamilton and Auckland.
Barbara Streisand spent 45 weeks in the charts with Memory from the stage show Cats. The Thompson Twins released Love On Your Side to a raving reaction from the British. Duran Duran had one of the quickest rises to the top with Girl’s On Film. The Drongos, relatively unknown in hometown New Zealand, were named New York’s best street band by CBS television. Joe Jackson played two. concerts. Herman’s Hermits, The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Narcs toured New Zealand as Rob Guest headed for Reno to host the annual Miss Nevada pageant.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album,featuring hits like Billie Jean, Beat It and Pretty Young Thing, went double platinum. The Dance Exponents left for Australia as Charlie Pride arrived to tour. A In 1984 Sweetwaters (north and south) was a highlight. Acts such as The Eurythmics, The Pretenders, Talking Heads and Simple Minds headlined. The movie. The Big Chill, was released causing another relapse of Motown mania. The Police performed to promote their latest album Ghost In The Machine.
Emmy Lou Harris was a guest host during That’s Country’s eighth series on television. Kenny Rogers performed
extensively throughout New Zealand, Cliff Richard and Elton John also toured. Young rocker Bryan Adams toured as did the Irish accordion maetros Fosters & Allen, riding high with Maggie.
Chas & Dave brought Ain’t No Pleasing You live to our stages while the bop dance craze hit. Madonna’s first album Lucky Stars was a hit. The Mockers released the Swear It’s True album and Uriah Heep toured. Frankie Goes To Hollywood was an instant sensation. Relax T-Shirts appeared overnight. New Order’s Blue Monday charted for 46 weeks and Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold clung on for 55 weeks. Marvia Gaye was shot and killed by his father. Billy Idol blocked streets while visiting an Auckland record store. He returned a few months later to take the stage. Joe Cocker and Elvis Costello
toured. Midnight Oil visited to play the hits from their platinum album 10 987654321. U2 toured to lukewarm audiences. Tina Turner warmed them up a bit a few days later.
In 1985 Frankie Goes To Hollywood continued breaking records with the third consecutive number one, two Tribes. Spandau Ballet toured. Twisted Sister toured hot on the heels of the hit We’re Not Gonna Take It and Queen toured too. Neil Young and Dr Feelgood made separate visits. DD Smash rocked Australia with The Optimist album. Herbs rocked New Zealand with the Long Ago album. Tom Jones toured and Boy George got bitter about being abused by Dead Or Alive who were riding the charts with Spin Me Around. Iron Maiden and Nik Kershaw toured separately. Hello Sailor re formed and toured. We Are The World was released by a bunch of self-righ-teous swine.
Elvis Costello toured. Ray Charles and Willie Nelson made a jukebox classic with Seven Spanish Angels. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released Southern Accent. Dave Lee Roth made his break from Van Halen final by reviving the 1950 classic Just A Gigolo. Al Jarreau toured. Prince and Michael Jackson started trying to outdo each other in weir behaviour.
Tears For Fears toured. ZZ Top released the Eliminator album. Bronski Beat ignored Donna Summers’ plea to be allowed to join them on the single I Feel Love, the follow up to their smash single Smalltown Boy. A 1986 Bob Dylan toured with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. The Thompson Twins and Dr Feelgood make their Separate ways around New Zealand.
Peking Man’s Room That Echoes went gold. Violent Femmes toured as did Dire Straits and Renee Geyer. Stevie Ray Vaughan toured and so did Peter Paul and Mary. The Damned toured and Dave Dobbyn did the national track with a line-up called the Stone People. Prince released Kiss and Gary Glitter returned with the horrible threat I’m The Leader Of The Gang (I am). Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott died from pneumonia caused through many years of hard living. The movie Absolute Beginners was released. Shona Laing’s Glad I’m Not A Kennedy did well enough in Australia to get airplay in New Zealand.
Adam Ant did the music world a favour by taking up acting. Cliff Richard gave one of his classics, Living Doll, its just desserts by cutting it (to pieces) with the cast of the Young Ones. Jimmy Barnes and Tim Finn made separate tours, as did reformed Drag on and Hello Sailor. Dire Straits’ three magnificent albums, Brothers In Arms, Love Over Gold and Making Movies were on the charts at numbers one, eight and 10, respectively. The top single of the year in New
Zealand was Saling Away by All Of Us, narrowly beating Herbs and Dave Dobbyn’s Slice Of Heaven.
In 1987 The Police made megabucks by releasing a compilation of singles called Every Breath You Take. The Kinks broke up. Big acts that toured were David Bowie, The Eurythmics, Genesis, The Bangles, Billy Bragg, Psychedelic Furs, Billy Joel, ZZ Top and Paul Young. The Chills left for Europe as I Love My Leather Jacket entered the New Zealand top twenty. Peking Man became the first New Zealand band on compact disc with the release of their album through CBS Records. Crowded House made New Zealand radio look the fools they were by cracking the US charts with Don’t Dream It’s Over, a song local DJs wouldn’t play.
Dr Feelgood toured promoting their version of See Ya Later Alligator. Huey Lewis & The News announced a tour. Blondie returned in the guise of Debbie Harry with the hit French Kissing in the USA. The Damned played a one-off Auckland gig highlighted by a re-re- lease of Eloise. The Pretenders toured. U2 finally found meteoric success with the release of The Joshua Tree and a New Zealand love affair began with the single One Tree Hill. Hunters & Collectors toured. Pseudo Echo toured to promote the awful remake of the awful disco hit Funky Town. When the Cats Away had their Auckland concert recorded and released as a cassette. Herbs released the Sensitive To A Smile album at a Ruatoria hui.
Jon Stevens resurfaced on the New Zealand charts with. Noiseworks’ song No Lies. In 1988 Pink Floyd toured New Zealand and the Rolling Stones got back together to record and tour. The new-age of child girl stars began with the release of Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now.
INXS cracKed the UK charts with New Sensation. Belinda Carlisle charted in NZ with Heaven Is A Place On Earth. The Who announced their reformation and The Cars split after a disastrous turnout at their US gigs. “People just don’t want to see us anymore,” said singer Rik Ocasek.
Midnight Oil toured New Zealand as Michael Jackson set off on a world tour. Ex-Smiths Morrisey did a video for his Suedehead single perched on James Dean’s grave, most people wished the pair could swop places. Shona Laing feigned surprise after being told her French tour was can celled, Kylie Minogue made a mile stone in music with the release of Locomotion and I Should Be So Lucky. Dance duet Mel & Kim split following Mel’s tragic cancer affliction. Iron Maiden marked a resurging interest in metal with the hit Can I Play With Madness.
Prince’s Lovesexy album was released after having stickers placed on the covers to hide the short-one’s bum. Terence Trent D’Arby was named best international newcomer in the UK for his The Hardline According To album. Natalie Cole turned papa in his grave by releasing Pink Cadillac. 1989 The Bangles split on the eve of their arrival in New Zealand. The Black Sorrows toured.
Debbie Harry returned, this time in the guise of Deborah Harry with the album Deaf Dumb and’ Blonde. Sam Brown slaughtered some old soul classics. Tracey Chapman took her working class murmuring one step beyond boredom. Kiwi lass Colette joined the gathering mass of young blonde dance mixers. Rap hit the big time beginning with a visit by Run DMC and culminating in promising local acts like Double J & Twice The T and Upper Hutt Posse.
Guns & Roses toured to rapturous applause as did victorious U2. Jefferson Airplane reformed. Jesus & Mary Chain and The The made fleeting appearances in Auckland. The Ramones made a brief appearance in Auckland to push their Brain Drain album. A bunch of oldies teamed up under the name of the Travelling Wilburys and did well until the Big 0, Roy Orbision, slipped away for good. UB40 toured before releasing another compilation of covers under the name of Labour
Of Love II. Womack & Womack played in Auckland. Bon Jovi cruised up and down the New Zealand charts at will but crowds were disappointing at their Auckland concert. Margaret Urlich released the soulful scorcher Escaping album.