Our top song - but vote kept a secret

By JAMES GARDINER

Secrecy surrounds the voting that saw Nature trumpeted this week as the greatest New Zealand song of the past 75 years.

The Australasian Performing Right Association (Apra) is refusing to say how many votes each song received - and it won't say why it won't say.

Apra New Zealand head Mike Chunn refused to let the Weekend Herald see the 600 voting forms used to choose the top 30.

Nature, Fourmyula's 1969 hit, beat Crowded House's worldwide 1986 smash Don't Dream It's Over into second with Dave Dobbyn's Loyal from 1987, third.

Apra collects royalties for songwriters from throughout the world. Everyone who plays someone else's music in a public place or for commercial gain is supposed to pay.

Mr Chunn said 4100 voting forms were sent out and 600 were returned.

The forms were sent to all 4000 association members who live in New Zealand and to 100 celebrities, music reviewers and others, whose names were drawn out of a hat.

Mr Chunn said that of the 6000 votes available - every voter picked 10 songs with no order of preference - 912 songs received votes.

"From the first dozen votes that came in Nature was number one. It just stayed number one the whole way."

Asked how many votes it received, Mr Chunn said: "I can't tell. We've been asked not to."

By whom? "Head office," he said, "board members, writers, general vibe. You can say, 'Mr Chunn mysteriously couldn't explain why he couldn't tell me'.

"Just generally we're not putting out that info. Don't worry about it, it's cool."

Mr Chunn questioned whether anybody would be interested anyway in how many votes each song received.

Scott Kara, editor of music magazine Rip It Up, disagreed: "It would be bloody interesting to find out."

Mr Kara, who attended the awards night but was not invited to vote, said, "We worked out the average age of the writers in the top 30 is 42."

Suzanne Wilson, bFM radio station manager, said she, too, would like to know the voting numbers.

"Only three of the songs I voted for made the top 30."

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