APRA Top 100
New Zealand Songs Of All Time

In 2001 to celebrate 75 years of its existence, APRA (the Australasian Performing Right Association), invited its members and an academy to vote on what they believe are to be New Zealand's top songs of all time. They were asked to select songs from a list of 900 entries. The resultant top 100 songs are listed below.

As with any list produced, there will always be controversy involved. It is suggested with this list, that these are the best, but what has not been clearly stated is, what is the criteria. Did the song have to have been written by a New Zealander, or just performed by a New Zealand artist or group. In the fifties, sixties and early seventies, New Zealand artists relied heavily on material from overseas. From this they made hit records out of songs that left the originals in their wake.

If you look at the statistics below the listing, you will see that the Top 100 of All Time is very heavily biased towards the end of the century. New Zealand didn't have its own locally produced record until 1949, but that still leaves 50 years from which to select.  Looking at the list shows that 74% of the songs were from the 80's or 90's. If you add in 1979 and the year 2000 you now have 86% of the songs. Is this really a true representation of the best songs New Zealand has produced over the last 50 years. I have not seen the list of the other 800 songs, and if anyone has access to that list I would very much appreciate seeing a copy.

You could almost call this list the Top 100 New Zealand Songs of the 80's and 90's. Below the list I have named a number of songs that I believe deserved to be in the Top 100. I am sure that you will recall many of them and even be able to sing many of the words, as compared to many in the Top 100 list.

The song "Blue Smoke" is really out of place in this collection. Is it really only there because it was the first New Zealand song recorded? It is also interesting to note that APRA produced a similar list of the Top 30 Australian songs. Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" came in at number 7 on that list as well. Under what criteria do they get classified Australian or New Zealand ?

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with any of those songs listed, I like them all, but what good would it be producing a list if it didn't stir up the emotions of other "so called" musical experts.

Position Song Artist Writer Year
1 Nature Fourmyula Wayne Mason 1969
2 Don't Dream It's Over Crowded House Neil Finn 1986
3 Loyal Dave Dobbyn Dave Dobbyn 1988
4 Counting The Beat Swingers Phil Judd, Mark Hough, Wayne Stevens 1981
5 Six Months In A Leaky Boat Split Enz Tim Finn 1982
6 Sway Bic Runga Bic Runga 1997
7 Slice Of Heaven Dave Dobbyn with Herbs Dave Dobbyn 1986
8 Victoria Dance Exponents Jordan Luck 1982
9 She Speeds Straitjacket Fits Shayne Carter 1987
10 April Sun In Cuba Dragon Paul Hewson, Marc Hunter 1978
11 I Got You Split Enz Neil Finn 1980
12 Whaling DD Smash Dave Dobbyn 1984
13 Not Given Lightly Chris Knox Chris Knox 1990
14 Pink Frost Chills Martin Phillipps 1984
15 Jesus I Was Evil Darcy Clay Darcy Clay 1997
16 Weather With You Crowded House Tim and Neil Finn 1991
17 Blue Smoke Pixie Williams and the Ruru Karaitiana Quartet Ruru Karaitiana 1949
18 Dance All Around The World Blerta Corben Simpson, Geoff Murphy 1972
19 Lydia Fur Patrol Julia Deans 2000
20 Blue Lady Hello Sailor Graham Brazier 1977
21 Drive Bic Runga Bic Runga 1996
22 Chains DLT featuring Che Fu Che Ness, Darryl Thompson, Angus McNaughton, Kevin Rangihuna 1996
23 Dominion Road Mutton Birds Don McGlashan 1992
24 Glad I'm Not A Kennedy Shona Laing Shona Laing 1986
25 I Hope I Never Split Enz Tim Finn 1980
26 Tears Crocodiles Fane Flaws, Arthur Baysting 1980
27 Be Mine Tonight Th' Dudes Dave Dobbyn, Ian Morris 1978
28 I See Red Split Enz Tim Finn 1979
29 Beside You Dave Dobbyn Dave Dobbyn 1998
30 Home Again Shihad Karl Kippenberger, Tom Larkin, Phil Knight, Jon Toogood 1997
31 Outlook For Thursday DD Smash Dave Dobbyn 1983
32 Down In Splendour Straitjacket Fits Andrew Brough 1990
33 Better Be Home Soon Crowded House Neil Finn 1988
34 How Bizarre OMC Alan Jansson, Pauly Fuemana 1995
35 Language Dave Dobbyn Dave Dobbyn 1994
36 Message To My Girl Split Enz Neil Finn 1984
37 Poi E Patea Maori Club Dalvanius Prime, Ngoi Pehwairangi 1984
38 Stuff and Nonsense Split Enz Tim Finn 1979
39 Venus Feelers James Reid 1998
40 System Virtue Emma Paki Emma Paki 1996
41 Fraction Too Much Friction Tim Finn Tim Finn 1983
42 French Letter Herbs Tony Fonoti, Spencer Fusimalohi, Dilworth Karaka 1995
43 Maxine Sharon O'Neill Sharon O'Neill 1983
44 Out On The Street Space Waltz Alistair Riddell 1974
45 Slippin' Away Max Merritt Max Merritt 1976
46 Violent Stellar* Boh Runga 1999
47 Why Does Love Do This To Me Exponents Jordan Luck 1992
48 1905 Shona Laing Shona Laing 1972
49 Anchor Me Mutton Birds Don McGlashan 1994
50 Bliss Th' Dudes Dave Dobbyn, Ian Morris 1979
51 For Today Netherworld Dancing Toys Nick Sampson, Malcolm Black 1984
52 Screems From Tha Old Plantation King Kapisi Bill Urale, Kas Futialo 2000
53 Cheryl Moana Marie John Rowles Nathan Kipner, John Rowles 1970
54 Blue Day Mi-Sex Murray Burns, Colin Bayley 1985
55 Glorafilia Zed Ben Campbell, Nathan King, Adrian Palmer 1999
56 Good Morning Mr Rock 'n' Roll Headband Thomas Adderley 1971
57 History Never Repeats Split Enz Neil Finn 1981
58 In The Neighbourhood Sisters Underground Alan Jansson, Hassanah Orogbu, Brenda Makaoeafi 1994
59 Julia Citizen Band Geoff Chunn 1978
60 Pacifier Shihad Shihad 1999
61 Let's Think Of Something Larry's Rebels Roger Skinner 1967
62 Bursting Through Bic Runga Bic Runga 1997
63 Liberty Greg Johnson Greg Johnson 1997
64 Sweet Disorder Strawpeople Paul Casserly, Mark Tierney, Anthony Ioasa 1994
65 Asian Paradise Sharon O'Neill Sharon O'Neill 1979
66 Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us Blam Blam Blam Don McGlashan 1981
67 Gutter Black Hello Sailor Dave McArtney 1977
68 Long Ago Herbs Lundon, Hona 1984
69 There Is No Depression In New Zealand Blam Blam Blam Richard Von Sturmer, Don McGlashan 1981
70 You Oughta Be In Love Dave Dobbyn Dave Dobbyn 1986
71 Andrew Fur Patrol Andrew Bain, Julia Deans, Simon Braxton, Steven Wells 2000
72 Billy Bold Graham Brazier Graham Brazier 1981
73 Distant Sun Crowded House Neil Finn 1993
74 Suddenly Strange Bic Runga Bic Runga 1997
75 Forever Tuesday Morning Mockers Gary Curtis, Andrew Fagan, Tim Wedde 1984
76 Cruise Control Headless Chickens Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry 1991
77 Pressure Man Feelers James Reid, Matt Thomas, Hamish Gee 1998
78 Private Universe Crowded House Neil Finn 1994
79 Room That Echoes Peking Man Neville Hall 1985
80 Sensitive To A Smile Herbs Dilworth, Karaka, Tumahai 1987
81 E Ipo Prince Tui Teka Ngoi Pewhai Rangi, Missy, Prince Tui Teka 1982
82 Andy Front Lawn Harry Sinclair, Don McGlashan 1987
83 Bitter Shihad Shihad 1995
84 Four Seasons In One Day Crowded House Tim and Neil Finn 1991
85 Heavenly Pop Hit Chills Martin Phillipps 1990
86 Husband House Sneaky Feelings Matthew Bannister 1995
87 Jumping Out A Window Pop Mechanix Paul Mason, Andrew McLennan, Chris Moore, Kevin Emmett, Paul Scott 1981
88 If I Were You Straitjacket Fits Shayne Carter, John Collie 1993
89 I'll Say Goodbye (Even Tho I'm Blue) Dance Exponents Jordan Luck 1983
90 Maybe Sharon O'Neill Sharon O'Neill 1981
91 One Day Ahead Eye TV Sean Sturm, Luke Casey, Michael Scott, Grant Winterburn 2000
92 Renegade Fighter Zed Ben Campbell, Nathan King 2000
93 Part Of Me Stellar* Boh Runga 1999
94 Sierra Leone Coconut Rough Andrew McLennan 1983
95 Words Sharon O'Neill Sharon O'Neill 1979
96 Spellbound Split Enz Tim Finn, Phil Judd 1979
97 Rust In My Car Citizen Band Geoff Chunn 1979
98 Mercy Of Love Shona Laing Shona Laing 1992
99 Can't Get Enough Supergroove Joseph Fisher, Karl Steven 1996
100 Naked Flame Dave Dobbyn Dave Dobbyn 1995

Artist No Of Songs
Split Enz 8
Crowded House 6
Dave Dobbyn 6
Bic Runga 4
Herbs 4
Sharon O'Neill 4
Shihad 3
Shona Laing 3
Straitjacket Fits 3
Year No Of Songs
1940's 1
1950's 0
1960's 2
1970's 18
1980's 36
1990's 38
2000 5
Writers No Of Songs
Dave Dobbyn 10
Neil Finn 9
Tim Finn 8
Don McGlashan 5
Bic Runga 4
Sharon O'Neill 4
Jordan Luck 3
Shona Laing 3


Songs That I Believe Are Top 100 Contenders

Artist Title Year
Allison Durbin I Have Loved Me A Man 1968
Avengers Love Hate Revenge 1968
Bluestars Social End Product 1966
Bunny Walters Nearest Thing To Heaven 1974
Chapta Say A Prayer 1971
Chaz Burke-Kennedy Find Her 1972
Corben Simpson Running To The Sea 1973
Craig Scott Smiley 1971
Creation Carolina 1972
Dedikation Wait For Me Marianne 1969
Dinah Lee Do The Bluebeat 1964
Dinah Lee Don't You Know Yockomo 1964
Eddie Low Songs Of Home 1980
Gremlins Coming Generation 1966
Hi-Revving Tongues Tropic Of Capricorn 1967
Howard Morrison How Great Thou Art (Whakaaria Mai) 1981
Jenny Morris She Has To Be Loved 1989
John Hanlon Damn The Dam 1973
John Hanlon Lovely Lady 1974
Kal-Q-Lated Risk Looking Through The Eyes Of A Beautiful Girl 1971
La De Da's Hey Baby 1967
La De Da's How Is The Air Up There 1966
Margaret Urlich Escaping 1989
Maria Dallas Tumbling Down 1966
Mark Williams Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life 1975
Mi-Sex Computer Games 1979
Mr Lee Grant Thanks To You 1967
Ray Columbus and the Invaders She's A Mod 1964
Ray Columbus and the Invaders Till We Kissed 1965
Shane Saint Paul 1969
Simple Image Spinning Spinning Spinning 1968
Ticket Country High 1971
Underdogs Sitting In The Rain 1967

There's just 33 songs (listed in alphabetical order) that would have given the Top 100 a true representation of 50 years of New Zealand Music. No doubt you have others or disagree with me entirely. That is your choice. The debate continues.

New Zealand Music