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.



The song:

Float On

The band:

The Floaters

40 years ago, this slow and sexy RnB jam hit the number one spot on our charts and stayed there for a staggering 10 weeks. We bloody loved it. Right up until Paul McCartney and Wings came along with the Mull of Kintyre. Then we floated on.

John Campbell: This is a really good song. I was 14 in 1978 but it's vivid in my recollection. I never bought it, obviously. In 1978 I was listening to super white music. Which was my loss.


The song:

Dreadlock Holiday

The band:


In late 1979, four English rockers from Manchester thought it was totally fine to write a reggae song about a white man on holiday in Jamaica who gets accosted by the locals. While neither the lyrics nor the video would make it past today's woke standards, in 1979 this was a bona fide summer banger, spending nearly two months on top of our charts.

Jaquie Brown: When I first heard this song I was in a bar on Queen St with two friends and they were singing it. I was like, 'what is this? I'm into it!'.

John Campbell: I hate that f***ing song. It is a truly staggeringly s**t song. It's a s**t, lazy, glib piece of songwriting. If I never hear it again it'll be too soon.


The song:


The artist:

Jon Stevens

Millennials won't recognise this Kiwi chart topper's name – but they'll know his brother, former NZ Idol judge Frankie Stevens. Before Frankie found fame, his 19-year-old brother Jon was a teen sensation hitting the top of the charts with his debut single Jezebel – beating international superstar Michael Jackson to the top spot. More impressively – Jezebel was knocked off the top spot by Jon's follow up single Montego Bay, which spent another three weeks at number one.

John Campbell: I was 16 and knew people who knew Jon Stevens. It was exciting that somebody not many degrees of separation from me was number one. I always liked that he's saying, 'she wooed me, then screwed me, but what the hell?'. He's philosophically resigned to the fact that some woman used him that way. I was desperate to be used in that way in 1980.


The song:

Shaddup Your Face

The artist:

Joe Dolce

The fact this parody track hit number one – and stayed there for an inordinate amount of time – should be a national shame. But it wasn't just us. Shaddup Your Face was a global sensation, topping charts in 10 countries, including the UK.

Kanoa Lloyd: My dad used to sing this all the time,

Jaquie Brown: It's so rude and so glorious. You could legitimately say to people, 'Oh, shuddupa your face'. We don't often get songs where you're encouraged to insult people.

John Campbell: The worst song ever written.


The song:

How Great Thou Art

The artist:

Sir Howard Morrison

Veteran performer Sir Howard Morrison enjoyed a career comeback when he released this chart-topping bilingual hymn, which was recorded at the 1981 Royal Variety performance, where he performed in front of Queen Elizabeth II.

Clint Roberts: Sir Howie has a big place in my heart. I'm from Rotorua, which he is too. Once on a school trip to the Rotorua Aquatic center we went in and Sir Howard Morrison was having a shower. One of the kids in my group goes, 'That's Sir Howard Morrison' and another kids goes, 'Nah. He's dead'. And Sir Howard Morrison leans around the corner and goes, "Oh no, I'm not."


The song:

Pass the Dutchie

The band:

Musical Youth

Thirty-five years after this summer anthem first hit the charts, it remains a staple of the great Kiwi barbeque playlist. Musical Youth beat Culture Club and Michael Jackson to take the top spot and stayed there until Marvin Gaye passed them on the left-hand side with Sexual Healing.

Jaquie Brown: This is the first song I ever bought in my whole life. I was in love with all of them but especially Calvin, the little one. On car trips we would sing this song over and over and over. I know it off by heart. They're from South London where I was from.

Kanoa Lloyd: I like everything about it apart from I don't know what a dutchie is.


The song:

Uptown Girl

The artist:

Billy Joel

Forget the summer of 1969, the summer of 1984 may have been one of the most hotly contested in music history. Billy Joel beat the likes of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Culture Club, Lionel Richie and Duran Duran to win the chart battle with this doo wop-inspired upbeat ballad and secure himself an invite to every wedding in the world forevermore.

Clint Roberts: This is one of those songs that you've been punished with at every single wedding and every single parents' birthday party your entire life.


The song:

Caribbean Queen

The artist:

Billy Ocean

Billy Ocean won a Grammy Award for this track, which slid its smooth groove straight to the top of the charts in December 1984 and stayed there for a solid six-week run. Ironically, it was knocked off its perch by Band Aid's festive banger Do They Know It's Christmas, which hit the Kiwi charts a full month after Christmas. And that kids, is what life was like before the internet.

Join us tomorrow when Clint Roberts reveals, "I think of him in a leather jacket or in speedos and that's it," as we travel from 1986 through to 1993...