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.

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Today, we pick up in 1994, as we revisit some of the biggest bangers ever to hit the charts.

READ MORE:
Read more: Sounds of Summer: 1978 - 1985
Sounds of Summer: 1986 - 1993

1994

The song:

I Can See Clearly Now

The artist:

Jimmy Cliff

There's something poetic about Bitty McLean's It Keeps Rainin' being washed off the summer top spot by Jimmy Cliff's smiley, reggae song about a 'bright, sunshine-y day'. But in typical Kiwi summer fashion the clouds soon gathered when Don McGlashan's band The Mutton Birds plugged into the top spot with their grungy, surrealistic nightmare The Heater.

John Campbell: A sweet enough song. All obstacles in his way have gone. Good for him. Go Jimmy! I'm up for that s**t. You want to approach summer feeling that way, don't ya? Hopeful and possible and optimistic.

1995

The song:

Here comes the Hotstepper

The artist:

Ini Kamoze

Hot stepping right over the Headless Chickens and their synth-pop nightmare George to take the top spot, the lyrical gangster Ini Kamoze enjoy his time at the top. But the self-proclaimed murderer was eventually taken out by Aussie grunge kids Silverchair and their breakthrough hit Tomorrow five weeks later.

Clint Roberts: This transcends age. It goes well at a party, at a bbq, on a road trip... It might be the perfect summer anthem.

Kanoa Lloyd: This is a Dunedin summer song for me in my teenage years. Drinking cheap nasty beer, in a courtyard full of weeds. It's horrible but nobody's bothered. There's a peak of sunshine, a beer and this song and you're like 'this is living!'.

John Campbell: This was everywhere. It's a very good song. I could imagine listening to this in the car as you drove to the beach. Not that I'm ever going to the beach. I've never voluntarily gone to a beach.

1996

The song:

One Sweet Day

The artists:

Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

Titans clashed in the early weeks of 96 as the dream team of Mariah and Boyz II Men crooned and trilled against hip-hop hero Coolio and his street tough banger Gangsta's Paradise. They wrestled ferociously, both taking and conceding the top spot several times over January. However both teams were blindsided by local-lad-turned-worldwide-one-hit-wonder OMC who bested both to claim Number One. How bizarre indeed.

Clint Roberts: Unfortunately, all I think of when I hear this song is funerals.

John Campbell: I interviewed Mariah Carey once. She was five hours late. Five hours! A total diva and not even remotely embarrassed about being five hours late.

Kanoa Lloyd: This was peak Mariah Carey trilling where she would start one word and then finish it 40 minutes later. I don't mean to be a weirdo but I've only just realised that this song is about somebody that died. How can you know every word of a song and never once think about what it means?

1997

The song:

Thug Devotion

The band:

Mo Thugs

Mo Thugs devotion was solely to the party and this leisurely hip-hop banger blended summery g-funk with frenetically spat raps. But all good parties have to come to an end and it was Gwen Stefani leading her ska band No Doubt through the heartbreak of Don't Speak that shut down the Mo Thugs party after just one week.

1998

The song:

As Long As You Love Me

The band:

Backstreet Boys

The manufactured sincerity of Backstreet Boys' second single knocked N-Trance's sampled disco sleaze of Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy from the top spot. It was one of the boy band's biggest ever hits and sold enough copies over summer to be certified Gold. We loved them for three weeks then All Saints unstoppable slo-jam Never Ever dropped and stole our hearts and Number One.

1999

The song:

Take Me There

The band:

Blackstreet ft Mya

Blackstreet and Mya teamed up on a song written especially for The Rugrats Movie. With all those 90s elements combining this was always hitting the top spot. It was also a certified platinum hit. There isn't a millennial alive who won't remember this.

2000

The song:

S Club Party

The band:

S Club 7

For five weeks over the summer of Y2K New Zealand proved there ain't no party like an S Club Party. They fought off Cliff Richard's Millennial Prayer and Blue's ear worm Blue (Da Be Dee), but Macy Gray crashed the party with I Try to take number one from them.

Clint Roberts: This is an unadulterated, pure candy floss, pop banger.

Jaquie Brown: This is 100% joy. It's stupid and silly. You cannot not have a party when you're listening to S Club Party.

John Campbell: If the choice was between death and an S Club party obviously you'd go S Club. Anything short of that…

2001

The song:

Lydia

The band:

Fur Patrol

Are we surprised to see Fur Patrol here with Lydia? Not at all. Lydia was Fur Patrol's biggest hit; won a Tui for single of the year, became an instant Kiwi classic and made a local style icon out of frontwoman Julia Deans.

Clint Roberts: I had the biggest crush on Julia Deans and I had this on CD.

John Campbell: I remember you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing it, which always made me happy. Over my life as a music fan I've seen people and thought, 'if they'd been based in New York with a label behind them and really pushed they could have sold a lot of records'. You look at some of the songwriters we've had in New Zealand who were really, really good but never got external big label support... But that's a great song.

Jaquie Brown: I remember this being everywhere at all times and thinking how cool Julia Deans was. Her attitude about what she was singing about was so cool. She had the little face piercing and an aggressive fringe. It was so 90s. Everything was black. She was the best.


Join us tomorrow when Kanoa Lloyd reveals, "I've been keeping this close to my chest for a long time. Yuck. I hate him so much!" as we travel from 2002 through to 2009...