Hebe earlier posted a link to the video for the Special AKA song "Free Nelson Mandela". I discovered yesterday that New Zealand was the only country where the song reached #1 in the pop chart. It was a top 10 hit in the UK, Ireland and a few European countries,, but New Zealand was the only country that managed #1 - three weeks straight in the winter of '84.
The song was the first time I became aware of Nelson Mandela. I was only nine at the time, and even though I lived in Hamilton and had been aware of the Springbok tour protests (and the dad of the boy at my school who rang up anti-tour supporters and blew a whistle at them), I still didn't know what it was all about.
The song made me aware of things, with the "Sun City" protest song by supergroup Artists United Against Apartheid keeping the momentum going and filling in more gaps the next year. ("We're rockers and rappers united and strong / We're here to talk about South Africa we don't like what's going on" - Run DMC)
It's easy to think about the 1960s as a golden age of political and protest songs, but the '80s didn't do a bad job where it counted, slowly chipping away at the badness.
Also - it says a lot about New Zealand that "Free Nelson Mandela" was followed at number one by "One Love" by Bob Marley.
I remember that ’92 Chili Peppers show. They’d just got a new guitarist in after Frusciante quit (Axel somebody?) and he wasn’t much cop, and it just wasn’t all that great. Until Flea told everyone to take off their tops and fling them round their heads while he launched into Higher Ground, which they dutifully did.
Arik Marshall! Apparently they had no creative mojo with him.
I also remember the top flinging. I hurled my corduroy faux army jacket about, then got a bit tired of it. But yeah, it was generally a bit of a lacklustre performance.
Because I’d gone up to Auckland for the show, I didn’t complete an assessed seventh form geography assignment. I regret nothing.
I think we saw Rolf Harris at school once. He probably felt that Christmas had arrived early.
Rolf Harris came to my intermediate school, which would have been '86 or '87. My memory of it is not his performance, but that he drew a cartoon for a boy in my class who came up on stage for something.
First free concert: the one at Mt Smart Super Top, 1991, age 16
I don't remember what it was called, but there was this big festivally concert planned. Tickets weren't selling so Pepsi picked up the tab and made it free. It was full of people who weren't necessarily fans of anyone. The only act I remember was Snap. Their frontman had a giant drum kit.
First international concert: De La Soul, Auckland Town Hall, 1991, age 16
I was really into De La Soul and had squealed with delight when I heard they were touring. I dragged along my 14-year-old bro who was not into it. But it was a brilliant evening, and really seemed to capture the sprit of young, creative Auckland at that time.
First rock gig: The Baby Animals, The Club, Hamilton, 7 July 1992, age 17
It was at this weird nightclub in Hamilton that is now a Briscoes. I was highly underage, but didn't drink and was terrified of being arrested. I only went because my friend dragged me along. I didn't really enjoy it. It was a bit boganny. The band's lead singer slagged off Hamilton.
Is this the house that was the location for the 1990 film Ruby & Rata?
(You remember all those garage rock bands ready and waiting when The Datsuns had their moment? No?).
My memory of this time is that existing pop-rock bands suddenly started writing more garagey songs, which never quite felt right. There were good garage bands, though, but they weren't necessarily ready or waiting.
I remember a BBC radio profile on the D4. They took the listener on a tour of the King's Arms, as the legendary home of Auckland's indie rock scene (and, like, you could smoke pot in the garden bar). That seemed to be crying out for an actual scene to introduce listeners to, rather than just making it seem like a couple of random bands were fluking it.
It's a sunny afternoon. Therefore, there's only one kind of ranking that matters: Uptown Top Ranking.