This summer, we're looking back at 40 years of chart hits as we explore the Sounds of Summer.

Starting in 1978 and going right through to last summer we've collated the 40 songs that were all at one point the sound of summer. These songs all hit the top spot as the year opened to soundtrack New Zealand's summer holidays, our barbeques and our lives.

They were inescapable. They were everywhere. They were the most popular songs in the country. They were all Number One.

We invited John Campbell, Kanoa Lloyd, Jaquie Brown and Clint Roberts to walk down memory lane with us and share their memories of these classic summer anthems.


Today, we pick up in 1986, as we revisit some of the biggest bangers ever to hit the charts.

Read more: Sounds of Summer: 1978 - 1985


The song:

Room that Echoes

The band:

Peking Man (1986)

1986 saw another Kiwi hit take over the summer charts when Peking Man released their sophomore single Room that Echoes. Featuring vocals by siblings Pat and Margaret Urlich, the song went on to win Best Single at the New Zealand Music Awards. Margaret also won Best Female Vocalist, while Pat claimed Best Male Vocalist. Despite their success, the band only recorded one album together.

John Campbell: That's a cracker of a tune. And also, it was us. When I grew up, you'd go a long time between hearing New Zealanders on the radio. There was really great music not getting radio play.

Clint Roberts: This is the year before I was born. I might have been conceived to this song.


The song:

Walk This Way

The band:

Run DMC & Aerosmith

Twelve years after Aerosmith first released Walk This Way, rappers Run DMC covered the hard rock track, putting their own unique spin on things. The result was an international hit record that introduced the world to a new musical genre: rap rock.

John Campbell: I'm a huge Run DMC fan. The fusion wasn't for me but I liked that everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves enormously. I suspect for a lot of white people it was the first time they'd ever heard hip hop artists. It's a great summer song.


The song:


The artist:

George Michael

Having said, 'no thank you m'am' to staying in the almighty pop duo Wham! a year earlier, George Michael needed a grand slam from his first solo outing. But he had the faith and Faith gave him his first solo Number One. It was teen queen Tiffany and her synthtastic cover of I Think We're Alone Now that eventually showed him the door a month later.

Clint Roberts: George Michael feels like a summer artist because I either think of him in a leather jacket or in speedos and that's it. Maybe it's the Club Tropicana stuff…


The song:


The band:

Womack & Womack

Covered by everyone from Elton John to Sugarbabes the deep, dancefloor groove of Teardrops cannot be denied. It knocked local female supergroup When the Cat's Away off the top spot, before conceding to The Proclaimers unstoppable smash I'm Gonna Be five weeks later.

John Campbell: I grew up in really white Wellington and when I got to university I discovered black music. My friend would say, 'JC, you've gotta listen to this,' and he introduced me to the Womacks. There were Womacks everywhere you looked. Bobby Womack was fantastic. This is Linda and Cecil. It's a great song. Funky bass riff. Great vocals, great harmonizing. It's fantastic. A perfect summer song. I love it.

Kanoa Lloyd: If I had to write a list of the Top 10 songs of my life, this is on it. If you're not playing this at your house when I come over for a summer drink I'll never come again.


The song:

Love Shack

The band:

The B-52s

Feel good party band The B-52s kicked off the 90s with the ultimate feel good party song about a funky little shack and a whole lot lovin'. Kiwis loved Love Shack and it stayed in the charts for 25 weeks.

Clint Roberts: This is a party in a song. Everyone knows the words, it's easy to sing. I remember my parents playing this at every party of theirs.


The song:

Ice Ice Baby

The artist:

Vanilla Ice

Despite our scorching hot summer sun Vanilla Ice stayed frozen to the number one spot for five weeks with this ice-cold hip-hop jam. But even the Ice man couldn't withstand the heat of Bart Simpson who yoinked the top spot off him five weeks later with Do the Bart Man.

Jaquie Brown: This is the year I moved to New Zealand from London. I arrived. It was summer. There was nobody around... I think everybody my age can recite this word for word. It's amazing that it's still popular all these years on.

Clint Roberts: It's a jam and it's endured. It's cringe-tastic but if it came on at a party at the right time, you'd 100% get down to this song.

John Campbell: By this stage I was really into hip-hop music and was starting to collect records. I've got an extraordinary collection of vinyl and Vanilla Ice stood no chance of ever being amongst my collection. For me, it was just an inoffensive, s**t song.


The song:

Black & White

The artist:

Michael Jackson

The King of Pop's return was a major, multimedia event. The song went straight to number one around the globe after premiering on the telly in a simultaneous worldwide broadcast that pulled over 500million viewers. The extravagant music video starred Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin, Norm from Cheers, guitarist Slash and some eye-popping CGI.

Kanoa Lloyd: This music video made me feel very… funny. It was the first crush I ever had on Michael Jackson. He's so powerful… he's got the white shirt on. I was six and he was making me feel some type of way... I loved him. All the honeys were listening to it and if you were thinking about being his baby it didn't matter if you were black or white. It really meant something to me. I didn't know what I was at the time. I didn't think I was either of those.

Jaquie Brown: The great thing about MJ is that he had a point of view. He was all about equality way back then and we're only just catching up to him. It was also one of the first videos where they employed that cool effect where the person shook their head and became a new person. It was really new technology.

Kanoa Lloyd: That was mind-blowing.


The song:

I Will Always Love You

The artist:

Whitney Houston

For 11 weeks New Zealand loved Whitney's ultimate power ballad. It starts gently, just that voice alone and unaccompanied, before building to the full force of Houston's full throated, tear jerking power. It's lost none of its impact over the years and can still bring a tear to the eye. Dolly Parton may have written it, but Whitney owns it.

John Campbell: Boy, Whitney… what a downer in every respect. What a heartbreaking story. I had a friend who loved Whitney in an unironic way and would go to her concerts because he said she held the crowd. She was show biz. What a voice! But there's no circumstances whatsoever that I would ever put that song on and listen to it. But I can understand why people did.

Kanoa Lloyd: A perfect ballad. She has the perfect voice. So emotional.

Clint Roberts: New Zealand has a habit of choosing real depressing songs just as we go into summer and it gets plastered all over the radio the whole time. That's a problem when a depressing song becomes Number One when we're going into the party season. That's what I don't like about ballads in summer.

Join us tomorrow when Kanoa Lloyd has a macabre revelation, "I've only just realised that this song is about somebody that died," as we travel from 1994 through to 2001...