Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Night Local: Sharon O'Neill - 'Words' (1979)

Whups, I may have forgotten a couple of Fridays.

ANYWAY, when last we met I issued a challenge to readers on Twitter to nominate a Sharon O'Neill song for the next Friday Night Local post. How did that turn out? Variably.

I can only conclude that because O'Neill is such a significant figure in the not-small arena of Kiwi women in rock, that simply coming up wth consensus was just too darned hard. Guanolad nominated 'Physical Favour's, but lost his bottle on it. Frankly, the late Eighties are not O'Neill's happy hunting ground, and I really think the other end of the decade is where her star shone brightest. On that note, Jamas sggested 'Maxine' - ah, but which video? The Australian one or the NZ one?  Answer: the Australian one is the more recognisable, with its quasi-narrative about the ill-fated streetwalker, but I prefer the local version. It's familiar without being overplayed - and 'Maxine' got a lot of play on both sides of the Tasman.

That was it for the punters, besides occasional commentor Tim who wanted a Shona Laing number (sir, hang your head in shame), and to be honest I thought I'd see Paul S chime in with the theme from 'Smash Palace', a great opener to Roger Donaldson's early masterpiece of kiwi mateship. 'Asian Paradise' has its fans... I'll leave that there. Here's mine instead:

'Words' is from O'Neill's debut and frankly, I can't hear it wthout wanting to sing along, surely the mark of a great pop song. Her voice doesn't have the husky, Christine McVie sound of some of the aforementioned tracks, but melodically it's very sharp, with some great backing vocals (check out the number of mic stands in that video!), and hell, any upbeat song that opens with the line "let me out like the new blood at the slaughter." is worth listening to I reckon.


  1. Too late as usual, but Asian Paradise was my pick - something about a swimming pool, or was it a sauna, or a even a bath in the video?

  2. Marvellous stuff. Who is the band?

  3. Al, ooh I'm sure you remember that video with a little more detail than you're giving there, mister!

    Stu - very hard to tell! I've found a shot of her with her 1980 band, but only the drummer seems to match the video (Brent Thomas or Steve Garden). The rest look more like her mid-70s band. I'll see if I can find the album notes.

    Smashing blouse, there.

  4. According to NZ on Air "O’Neill shines in this video filmed in front of an audience with a band that includes Simon Morris, Wayne Mason and future Mutton Bird Ross Burge."

  5. Curse you, Enright. Wikipedia! (shakes fist)

    To be honest, I'd have been seriously challenged to spot either Mason and Burge amongst that lot, what with the beards and (n)early 80s hair. Still, a top section if that was the case, and apprently Dobbyn may have stood in around then as well. Talent finds talent, I suppose!