New Zealand’s official Top 40 is 30 years old.
On May 2, 1975 the first New Zealand Top 40 chart was published listing the 40 biggest selling singles and albums for
The first chart was numbered 1 and Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks was the first # 1 album and Helen Reddy’s Free and
Easy was the country’s first top single. This week’s chart (released on Wednesday 4 May), number 1458, will mark the
Weekly, the Official New Zealand Music Chart monitors our favourite albums, singles, compilations, DVDs and heatseeker
It was 1973 when a national sales chart for ranking popular music was first mooted in New Zealand by the Federation of
Phonographic Industries (NZFPI).
But it was another two years before the NZFPI – the predecessor to the Recording Industry Association of NZ – appointed
Heylen Research Centre to compile the first chart.
RIANZ chief executive Campbell Smith –says there are numerous milestones from the past 30 years.
“You’d need a book bigger than a grand piano to publish the highs of the charts,” Smith says. “But one thing’s for sure,
New Zealand music has made a huge impact right across the decades.”
During the past three decades, 30 Kiwi albums have debuted on The Chart at #1. However, only 10 singles have managed the
The strength of New Zealand music in the past five years is illustrated with 21 of the 24 local #1 albums since 2000 all
entering The Chart at #1.
The country’s most successful local act is Neil Finn who has had more #1s than any other Kiwi artist with a total of
nine albums and four singles reaching the weekly sales pinnacle.
Mark Williams’ Yesterday was just the Beginning of my Life was the first #1 Kiwi single on June 27, 1975 and Bill & Boyd’s Bill & Boyd was the first Kiwi #1 album in March 1976. But it took another seven years before Dave Dobbyn’s DD Smash was the
first local act with an album debut at #1 with Cool Bananas in 1982.
Top single by a New Zealand artist is Scribe’s Stand Up / Not Many which spent 24 weeks on The Chart in 2003 – 12 weeks
at #1. The 1986 America’s Cup song Sailing Away was second on nine weeks at #1.
Hayley Westenra has New Zealand’s best placed album of the 30 years with the 11-times platinum Pure spending 19 out of
56 weeks at the top of The Chart in 2003.
Next best Kiwi is Bic Runga with Beautiful Collision on 101 weeks in The Chart, eight of them at #1.
Shania Twain’s Come on Over is the top album of the past 30 years in New Zealand. It spent 104 weeks in The Chart in
1999, 23 weeks at the top.
Today, the raw retail sales data for The Chart is compiled independently with the Top 40 albums rated on retail sales
figures and the Top 40 singles based on a 50:50 data split between sales and radio play information.
Backgrounder history – 1
The Chart reaches 30 – How was the journey?
The Official New Zealand Music Chart is 30 years old this week (May 2, 2005). It’s an interesting road it has travelled.
Ranking popular songs in order started in America with Billboard magazine with the first charts measuring the sales of
New Zealand’s first music survey dates back to 1946, when the Life Buoy (later Lever) Hit Parade began on radio and
continued until the late 1950s. The Life Buoy – named after a popular range of soap – was a Top 8 countdown selected by
radio programming staff.
In the 1960s, Hawke’s Bay radio station 2ZC (later Bay City Radio and now Classic Hits) is purported to have complied
the first Top 20.
In 1966, the first chart selected by the public was introduced. The NZ Top 20 was complied from public voting and
published in The Listener each week. In some ways it was similar to the phone-in, text surveys of today, albeit not as
By 1970 voting was replaced by measuring record sales and the chart became known as the Pop-o-meter. Both charts were
run by the NZBC and measured the popularity of singles only.
The New Zealand Federation Of Phonographic Industries (NZFPI) first mooted a National Sales Chart in 1973, primarily as
a sales tool.
It was to be a further two years before the Heylen Research Centre won the contract to compile the first chart. On 2 May
1975 the New Zealand Top 40 listed the 40 biggest selling singles and albums of the week. In 1977 the NZFPI took chart
compilation in-house and Record Publications Ltd was formed.
The following year the NZFPI became the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, thus RIANZ was born. In 1979 the
Top 40 was extended and became a Top 50.
During the mid 80s the Kuhtze Countdown began on radio based on airplay rather than sales. This concept continued into
the 90s as the Shake 30 and the Powerjam.
Radio industry magazine the Median Strip had been publishing radio station playlists from the mid 1990s, so it seemed
logical to go the next step and compile airplay charts.
Thus the Radioscope 100 and various format airplay charts came into being.
The first major chart change in 20 years happened in 1999 when radio airplay became a factor in compiling the singles
The biggest change since the charts began in 1975 happened last year on 19 April when compilation of the chart moved
from RIANZ to the independent company Media Sauce Ltd.
From then on, sales were collected electronically and were available virtually at the end of each sales period rather
than a week later.
At the same time the Top 50 reverted to a Top 40 and two new categories were added, a Heatseekers chart for upcoming
releases and a DVD chart to reflect the new format.
Back in 1975, the first chart was numbered 1 with Bob Dylan earning the distinction of having the first #1 album with
Blood On The Tracks. Frankie Valli’s My Eyes Adored You was the first #1 single on the new NZFPI survey.
Kiwi chart facts: The history behind the hits with thanks to Andrew Miller
THE HITS THAT MISSED: There have been 30 Kiwi albums debut at #1 but only 10 singles have managed to be #1 out of the
box. In fact of the 24 local #1 albums since 2000, all but three have started their chart run at the top – Hayley
Westenra’s self titled debut hit the top in its second week as did duo Adeaze. Goldenhorse however took nearly two years
to achieve the feat with Riverhead.
FOREVER SINGLE: Margaret Urlich has had three #1 singles. They are, as a soloist (Escaping), as a member of Peking Man
(Room That Echoes) and as part of When The Cat's Away (Melting Pot). All three were on the CBS label. But she's never
had a #1 album.
GETTING CROWDED: Neil Finn has had more #1s in NZ than any other local act – a total of nine albums and four singles.
Two solo #1 albums and one solo single, three albums and two singles with Crowded House and four albums and one single
as part of Split Enz.
FOUR HITS: Split Enz is New Zealand’s most successful Albums chart band landing four #1 albums. Meanwhile The Exponents
are the most prolific hit single makers having racked up more than anyone else – 18 in total (nine as the Dance
Exponents and nine as simply the Exponents) .Crowded House is close with 17, with Split Enz racking up an even dozen.
RE-BRANDED: The re-renamed Shihad had two #1 albums under both of their monikers. The first, The General Electric, as
Shihad, the second the self titled Pacifier. Now the band has re-branded as Shihad, it has already scored its biggest
hit single (Alive #5 earlier this year) and the guys should be set for the top again when the new set’s released.
QUESTION: What do Hayley Westenra, Bic Runga, Stellar*, The Exponents, the feelers and Salmonella Dub have in common?
ANSWER: They've all had two #1 albums apiece in New Zealand.
LONELY FOUR: There have been just four Kiwi greatest hits compilations to make #1 here. Recurring Dream by Crowded
House, Enz Of An Era by Split Enz, Once Bitten, Twice Bitten by the Exponents and Listen: The Very Best Of Herbs.
INSTRUMENTAL: We've had four instrumental local #1 albums-sets by Martin Winch (guitar) ,Carl Doy (piano) ,Brian Smith
(sax) and the NZSO (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra)
THE LONGEST RUN: The longest chart run by any local album is the 101weeks Bic Runga’s Beautiful Collision racked up in
2003-4. Bic’s no stranger to longevity – her debut set Drive spent 64 weeks on the Albums chart.
MULTI-TALENTED: Che Fu has had #1 singles as a soloist, in collaboration with DLT and as part of Supergroove – Without
A Doubt/Machine Talk, Chains and Can’t Get Enough respectively. As well, he's had #1 albums both as a soloist and as a
band member – The Navigator and Supergroove’s Traction).
ABSOLUTELY COOL: Dave Dobbyn's DD Smash has the distinction of having the first album to debut at #1 here. It was Cool
Bananas in 1982.
THE DOUBLE: Scribe is the only local to top both the Singles and Albums Charts simultaneously. It happened in November
2003 when The Crusader debuted at #1 while Stand Up/Not Many continued its record #1 run.
PURE: Interestingly it was Hayley Westenra’s Pure Scribe deposed for a week in the middle of its record-breaking run
atop of the Albums list.
SPECIFICALLY: There've been two doubled sided #1 singles by Kiwis. Scribe's Stand Up/Not Many and the lesser known
Without A Doubt / Machine Talk from Che Fu’s debut album 2 B Spacific.
TOP HALF: Scribe's Stand Up/Not Many is the only Kiwi #1 to rack up double figures on top of the singles chart with a
total of 12 weeks – half of its 24 week chart run.
SOLO BAND: Dave Dobbyn's had #1 albums as a soloist and as a member of a band. The Islander solo and Cool Bananas as the
leader of D D Smash. As well he scored a #1 single Slice Of Heaven when he teamed with Herbs. Then there are his early
hits with Th’ Dudes and his Concert album with Tim Finn and Bic Runga.
THREESOME: Deep Obsession and Scribe share the record as locals with the most #1s on the RIANZ Charts – three a piece.
Deep Obsession – The One And Only, Lost In Love and Cold. Scribe – Stand Up/Not Many, Dreaming and Stop The Music (with
ON TARGET: Tex Pistol (aka former Dude Ian Morris) has the distinction of having the last #1 seven-inch vinyl single
pressed in New Zealand when The Game Of Love hit #1 in mid 1987.
HE AIN’T HEAVY: Four sets of siblings have sung together on #1 singles. Brothers Tim and Neil Finn on Split Enz' 1980 #1
I Got You; brother and sister Pat and Margaret Urlich on Peking Man's Room That Echoes; Rikki Morris and Tex Pistol
(brother Ian) on Nobody Else and brothers Nainz and Viiz Tupa’i – the duo Adeaze – on last year’s #1 Getting Stronger.
The Chart – #1 Albums by Kiwis
The following are the number one albums by Kiwis for 30 years of The Chart between 1975 and 2005.
Year Date Title Artist Label Wks
1976 5-Mar Bill & Boyd Bill & Boyd Stetson 1
19-Nov The World's Great Classics NZSO Deushe Grammophon 1
1980 2-Mar True Colours Split Enz Polydor 2
8-Jun Space Race Mi-Sex CBS 4
1981 19-Mar Waiata Split Enz Polydor 3
27-Sep Jazzercise Carol O"Halloren Music World 1
1982 25-Apr Cool Bananas DD Smash Mushroom 1 NOD
2-May Time And Tide Split Enz Polydor *6
1983 23-Jan Enz Of An Era Split Enz Mushroom 2
21-Aug Escapade Tim Finn Enz 1
1989 8-Sep Piano By Candlelight 2 Carl Doy CBS 4 NOD
1990 22-Jun Submarine Bells The Chills Slash 2
31-Aug Together Again Gray Bartlett,Brendan Dugan,Jodi Vaughn Festival 1
28-Sep Moonlight Sax BrianSmith CBS 3
1992 20-Mar Something Beginning With C The Exponents Mercury 2
24-Apr Woodface Crowded House Capitol 4
1993 19-Nov Together Alone Crowded House Capitol 1 NOD
1994 15-Jul Traction Supergroove BMG 4
1996 12-Jan Once Bitten,Twice Bitten The Exponents Warner 1
12-Jul Recurring Dream The Very Best Of Crowded House Capitol 8 NOD
1997 8-Aug Drive Bic Runga Columbia 3 NOD
1998 26-May Try Whistling This Neil Finn Parlophone 3 NOD
21-Aug The Islander Dave Dobbyn Epic 1 NOD
4-Sep Supersystem The Feelers Warner 1
11-Sep Espresso Guitar Martin Winch Columbia 3
1999 25-Jun Dreaming True Bliss Columbia 1 NOD
26-Sep Mix Stellar Columbia 1
8-Oct General Electric Shihad Warner 1 NOD
2000 25-Aug Silencer Zed Universal 2 NOD
2001 1-Apr One Nil Neil Finn Parlophone 1 NOD
20-May Hayley Westenra Hayley Westenra Universal 4
26-Aug Inside The Dub Plates Salmonella Dub Virgin 1 NOD
16-Sep Navigator Che Fu Epic 3 NOD
14-Oct Thinking Room Anika Moa Atlantic 2 NOD
28-Oct Communicate The Feelers Warner 1 NOD
4-Nov Magic Line Stellar Columbia 1 NOD
2002 27-Jan Listen:The Very Best Of Herbs Herbs Warner 1 NOD
14-Jul Beautiful Collision Bic Runga Columbia *8 NOD
Includes 7 weeks at #1 in 2003
1-Sep Pacifier Pacifier Warner 1 NOD
3-Nov The Datsuns The Datsuns Hell Squad 1 NOD
10-Nov Blindspott Blindspott Capitol 1 NOD
8-Dec Polysaturated Nesian Mystik Bounce 1 NOD
2003 20-Jul Love And Disrespect Elemeno P Universal 1 NOD
3-Aug Pure Hayley Westenra Decca *19 NOD
Includes 4 weeks at #1 in 2004
31-Aug One Drop East Salmonella Dub Virgin 1 NOD
2-Nov The Crusader Scribe Dirty 1 NOD
16-Nov What To Do With Daylight Brooke Fraser Columbia *3 NOD
Includes 2 weeks at #1 in 2004
2004 17-May Always & For real Adeaze Dawn Raid 1
21-Jun One Road Ben Lummis BMG 2 NOD
2-Aug Riverhead Goldenhorse Siren
30-Aug Everyone Is Here Finn Brothers Parlophone 3 NOD
20-Sep Into The West Yulia Columbia NOD
2005 None so far
Wks Weeks at #1
* Weeks at #1 non-consecutive
NOD Number 1 Debut
The Chart – #1 Singles by Kiwis
The following are the number one singles by Kiwis for 30 years of The Chart between 1975 and 2005.
Year Date Title Artist Label Wks
1975 27-Jun Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life Mark Williams EMI *3
1977 3-Jun It Doesn't Matter Anymore Mark Williams EMI 4
1978 31-Mar Tania John Rowles EMI 4
1979 30-Nov Jezebel Jon Stevens CBS 5
1980 25-Jan Montego Bay Jon Stevens CBS 2
14-Mar I Got You Split Enz Polydor 3
1981 3-Mar The Bridge Deane Waretini CBS *2
10-Mar Counting The Beat The Swingers Ripper *3
28-Aug See Me Go Screaming Mee Mees Propeller 1 NOD
18-Dec How Great Thou Art Howard Morrison RCA *5 NOD
1982 16-Jul E Ipo Prince Tui Teka RCA 2
1983 9-Sep Life Begins At 40 Dave & the Dynamos Mardi Gras 3
1984 16-Mar Poi E Patea Maori Club Maui 4
1985 14-Dec Room That Echoes Peking Man CBS 2
1986 13-Jun Sailing Away All Of Us BNZC 9
3-Oct Slice Of Heaven Dave Dobbyn/Herbs Magpie 8
1987 17-Apr Don't Dream It's Over Crowded House Capitol 1
16-Oct The Game Of Love Tex Pistol Pagan 1
1988 15-Jul Sweet Lovers Holidaymakers Pagan 6
7-Oct Nobody Else Rikki Morris/Tex Pistol Pagan 1
9-Dec Melting Pot When The Cat's Away CBS 1
1989 1-Dec Escaping Margaret Urlich CBS 3
1990 9-Feb Welcome To Our World John Grenell CBS 3 NOD
26-Oct To Sir With Love Ngaire Southside 5
1991 12-Apr Trippin' Push Push Tall Poppy *6
31-May Tears On My Pillow Parker Project Pagan 1
1992 21-Aug You Make The Whole World Smile Red Nose Band Polygram 2
1993 20-Aug You Make The Whole World Smile Red Nose Band Polygram 1
1994 25-Feb The Heater The Muttonbirds Bag 1 NOD
4-Mar Hip Hop Holiday 3 The Hard Way Festival 3
20-May Can't Get Enough Supergroove BMG 1
9-Dec George Headless Chickens Flying Nun *2
1996 26-Jan How Bizarre OMC Huh! 3
2-Aug Chains DLT with Che Fu RCA 5
1998 5-Jul We Don't Know How Lucky We Are Fred Dagg Columbia 1
9-Aug Lost In Love Deep Obsession Universal 2
4-Oct Without A Doubt/Machine Talk Che Fu BMG 1
11-Oct Are You That Somebody? Ardijah Warner 1
1999 14-Feb Silly Love Songs Ardijah Warner 1
16-May Tonight True Bliss Columbia 2 NOD
11-Jul Cold Deep Obsession Universal 1
3-Oct Can You Hear Us? Neil Finn Parlophone 1 NOD
21-Nov The One And Only Deep Obsession Universal 2
2000 24-Dec Lydia Fur Patrol Wishbone 1
2002 12-May Sophie goodshirt Cement 1
2003 17-Aug Stand Up Scribe Dirty *6
19-Oct It's On(Move To This) 3 The Hard Way Sony 1
28-Oct Stand Up/Not Many Scribe Dirty 6
Not Many listed from 19 Oct
2004 22-Feb Dreaming Scribe Dirty 1
17-May They Can't Take That Away Ben Lummis BMG 7 NOD
26-Jul Fools Love Misfits Of Science Hoof 4
30-Aug Getting Stronger Adeaze feat. Aaradhna Dawn Raid 1
13-Sep So Damn Beautiful Michael Murphy BMG 1
20-Sep We Gon' Ride Dei Hamo Hi Rhuys 6
2005 24-Jan Swing Savage Dawn Raid 5
4-Apr Moonshine Savage Dawn Raid 3 NOD
Still currently #1
Wks Weeks at #1
* Weeks at #1 non-consecutive
NOD Number one debut