With a career five decades deep, Sharon O'Neill remains one of our most respected and accomplished singer-songwriters. At Thursday's Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, she will receive the Legacy Award and take her rightful place in the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.
These days the music awards ceremony fills Auckland's Spark Arena, but back in the 70s they were a somewhat smaller affair. In 1978, the awards were broadcast as this Ready to Roll special, shot in front of a small studio audience. In this footage from the event, Sharon gives a stellar performance of her breakout single Luck's on Your Table.
See Sharon perform at the 1978 NZ Record Awards here:
Also filmed in 1978, this footage from lifestyle show Good Day examines the state of the local music industry, outlining the process by which Sharon was signed, and capturing her in the studio, recording a track from her debut album This Heart This Song.
See an excerpt from Good Day - The Music and Record Industry here:
One of Sharon's biggest singles, Maxine was released in 1983. The song tells the story of a King's Cross prostitute - "Case 1352, a red and green tattoo" - drawn from Sharon's observations while living in the infamous Sydney neighbourhood. Offering a fairly close interpretation of the lyrics, the accompanying video caused a bit of a stir, and was initially deemed suitable for screening only after 8pm.
See the video for Maxine here:
Prior to Maxine, Sharon had already unveiled a video, for another great song, that remains quite memorable to Kiwi men of a certain age. Released in 1980, Asian Paradise spoke of romance in foreign climes, with a clip that featured the singer in a spa pool, rocking not too much more than a singular shark tooth earring.
See the video for Asian Paradise here:
Taken from her second long player, Words gave Sharon her first charting single in Australia. Both the single and album were hits in New Zealand, earning Sharon Album of the Year and Top Female Vocalist at the 1980 New Zealand Music Awards (the third year in a row she had won the Female Vocalist gong).
See the video for Words here:
The title track from Sharon's third album, Maybe was another big local hit. A heartfelt break-up ballad, the video finds her pacing around her flat pining for a recently departed lover. More great 80s earrings on display here too.
See the video for Maybe here:
In 1980, Sharon scored a top 5 single with Jon Stevens, duetting together on Don't Let Love Go. Both young stars on the rise, the decision to pair the two artists seems a no-brainer. Less obvious? Perhaps the decision to dress them in the matching green and black ensembles seen in this clip.
See Sharon O'Neill and Jon Stevens performing Don't Let Love Go here: