New Zealand's electronic music pioneers Headless Chickens have won the Independent Music NZ (IMNZ) Classic Record award.

While the band are most famed for their string of Top 10 hits, like Cruise Control and George, the band received the award for their 1988 album Stunt Clown. A much darker and raw experimental record than their later work.

It's an album that has long been regarded as a classic, but now that status is official.

Headless Chickens were one of the first New Zealand bands to explore the sonic possibilities of drum machines, synthesizers and samplers in their music. This gave their music a darker edge and stood them apart from their contemporaries.

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The award will be presented to the band at the Taite Music Prize ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, at The Civic.

Chris Matthews, vocalist and guitarist, commented in a statement.

"When I heard that we'd won the Classic Album award I was shocked and stunned... that there's no prize money! I thought that on the 30th anniversary of the release of Stunt Clown I was finally going to be able to give up my day job. Oh, well, cheers and better living, everyone!"

IMNZ also announced the five finalists for the Best Independent Debut award, which will also be presented at the Taite Music Prize ceremony. Kendall Elise, L.A.B, Strangely Arousing, Daniel McClelland and The Miltones are the acts in the running.