NZ MUSIC OVERVIEW
“The tyranny of distance didn’t stop the cavalier, so why should it stop me?”
It’s a refrain from one of our most famous songs that perfectly sums up making music in New Zealand. These Shaky Isles are a world away from the musical epicentres – it’s a 12 hour flight from Los Angeles, 20 from NYC and 24 from London – and yet our musical creatives have continued to create and craft a soundtrack for generations of Kiwis which are uniquely us.
With the advent of radio in the 50s and 60s, Anglo-American music flooded the airwaves, and impressionable young musicians were inspired into being the next Elvis, Beatles, Stones, Dylan and others. That early music sounded a lot like it’s influences, but importantly, they were here; introducing audiences to the ‘sinful’ delights of rock ‘n’ roll.
Local music continued to evolve from there, and whether it was our geographic isolation, the multi-racial influences, our innate ‘Kiwi-ness’ or a bit of everything, music began to develop that sounded a little less like they were from “over there” and a lot more like they were homegrown.
The journey of our musicians and music industry are a direct reflection of the changing face of our culture; who we were, who we are, and what we might become. Over the following pages we have put together playlists from each decade which serve as an introduction – or a reminder – of the wealth of talent we have had, and continue to have, in New Zealand.