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 1994, as we revisit some of the biggest bangers ever to hit the charts.

Read more: Sounds of Summer: 1978 - 1985
Sounds of Summer: 1986 - 1993
Sounds of Summer: 1994 - 2001

Sounds of Summer 2002 - 2008


The song:

Black Box

The artist: Stan Walker

New Zealand was incredibly proud to see homegrown talent Stan Walker win the seventh season of Australian Idol, and his debut single went on to spend ten weeks at the top of the New Zealand Radio Airplay Chart.

Kanoa Lloyd: It was the first song he released after Idol. Ask Stan how he feels about this song next time you see him. Ask him to sing it for you. He'll love it!

Jaquie Brown: I remember watching the video and thinking, 'this kid is making it, he's doing it, this kid is going to go so far'. I have real feelings of excitement for him thinking about it. When it comes on the radio I sing along.

Clint Roberts: This is one of the great Stan Walker tracks. Your first song after Idol you don't write, you get given a song by the Idol gods. He got given a great one.


The song: Grenade
The artist:Bruno Mars

This lyrically dark song comes from Bruno Mars' debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Number one in 15 different countries, Grenade went double-platinum in New Zealand, spending 29 weeks on the charts.

Clint Roberts: I like Bruno Mars but this song is depressing. Have a bit of self-respect. All the things he says he'll do for this person who won't do the same for him. He's like, 'I'll jump on a grenade for you, I'll run in front of a train for you, but you won't do the same'. Calm down then. Maybe that's why. He's too keen. He's like, 'what do you want me to do? I'll throw my hand on a blade for you. You want me to do that?'. The girl's like, 'No. I barely even know you'.

John Campbell: I took my son to see Bruno Mars when he was about 11. I had no expectation. I hadn't really bothered to think about his music. But boy, it was a great show. The whole Motown showbiz thing, the band all dancing, all the brass moving together… it was old school, old fashioned show business. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I want songs to either be sad or to tell me stuff that I don't already know. They're the only two things I want from music. When you buy the Whitakers chocolate that has the caramel in the inside and it's just so bad and you shouldn't be eating it, but s**t it's good and you eat way too much and you feel sick and have a sugar rush.. that's Bruno Mars.


The song: Wild Ones
The artist: Flo Rida ft. Sia

A number one track in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Norway, this Flo Rida song was one of a number of hits this year that introduced mainstream audiences to Australian singer-songwriter Sia.

Clint Roberts: I met Flo Rida and at the time he had a guy who must have been his nutritionist. I was doing an interview and the guy stops the interview to go, 'Hey Flo! It's time for a banana,'. And he pulls out a banana from his back pocket. Flo Rida turns to us and goes, 'I gotta eat.' He has the banana and then goes, 'Alright man, let's get back to the interview'.


The song: Thrift Shop
The artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This comedic hip-hop track was a sleeper hit that went on to spend nine weeks at number one in New Zealand. The song made a star out of Macklemore, who later chose to shoot a music video here.

Jaquie Brown: I love that he's got a sense of humour. It's so funny what he's talking about. A lot of people love to hate Macklemore, don't they?

Kanoa Lloyd: The only bad thing about this song is that I listened to too many times at the time.


The song: Happy
The artist: Pharrell

Written for the film Despicable Me 2 and released with a 24-hour, continually looping music video, Pharrell Williams' viral hit Happy spent a 12-week consecutive run at the number one spot on the New Zealand charts in early 2014.

Clint Roberts: NOPE. If you've worked in radio in the last five years this song doesn't make you happy. I reckon I would have heard this song around 600 times. It's a station changer for me.

John Campbell: You'd have to have a hard heart to not like this song. It's just beautiful, joyful. It's never failed to elicit a smile from me.

Jaquie Brown: Everywhere I went I was singing it. I was happy. It fills your soul up with sunshine. I feel like I could hear it every week and still be alright with it.


The song: Uptown Funk
The artist: Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

Legendary British DJ and record producer Mark Ronson released Uptown Funk, featuring Bruno Mars, for his fourth studio album Uptown Special. Despite a copyright lawsuit alleging it copied Zapp's Mo Bounce to the Ounce, Uptown Funk became a rapid global phenomenon.

Clint Roberts: This is another song that got thrashed at parties at that time. It got put on and then someone would go to the iPod and put it on straight away again. I'm still sick of it.

Jaquie Brown: I don't like it. It's the kind of song I'm supposed to like because it's got all the elements but there's something about it that irritates me and I can't put my finger on it.

Kanoa Lloyd: I enjoy it a lot. I think it's a good summer banger. I love Mark Ronson. I don't think he's ever done anything bad as far as I'm concerned


The song: Love Yourself
The artist: Justin Bieber

This is where Ed Sheeran's hat trick begins – he has a writing credit on Justin Bieber's Love Yourself, the third single from his fourth album Purpose. Number one in fifteen countries, the mostly acoustic track was named 2016's best performing single on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Campbell: I interviewed Biebs when he was little. Little Biebs. He was the sweetest boy. There was a period where it looked like he wasn't gonna survive this business. I had friends with kids who were just screaming Bieber maniacs, who cried in his presence at gigs and stuff. I wish him well. He can write songs but I don't think this is one of them. Love Yourself? Is it about masturbation?


The song: Shape of You
The artist: Ed Sheeran

Released just six days into 2017, Shape of You has remained undefeated ever since - with over 2 billion streams, it's still Spotify's most-streamed song of all time.

Kanoa Lloyd: I know that saying things like this gets people into trouble but Ed Sheeran's not my favourite. This would probably be the Ed Sheeran song that I enjoy the most. He wrote songs for Justin Bieber and I think the more Justin Bieber-y Ed Sheeran is, the more I like him. This is like that.


The song: Perfect
The artist: Ed Sheeran

The fourth single from Sheeran's 2017 album Divide, Perfect peaked at number one in 16 countries, spending no less than 36 weeks at the top of New Zealand's charts.

Jaquie Brown: I think Ed Sheeran has the most beautiful voice. I think he's so talented and I do like a lot of his music but he will forever be an autumn guy. I think of him and he's autumn. Maybe it's to do with the hair…