Throwback Thursday: Here’s what you missed from the 1978 NZ Music Awards

Before Jono and Ben, before Taika Waititi, before Paul Ego fell off the stage… there was Stu Dennison wearing overalls in Avalon Studios. Alex Casey recaps the 1978 NZ Music Awards, just in time for the 2016 VNZMA’s tonight. 

With the VNZMA’s arriving faster than a free bag of bagel chips hitting the open gullet of a Spinoff mole who weaseled their way into the VIP section, every man and his cat is making predictions as to who will clean up the coveted Tui awards tonight. But instead of consulting feline oracles, flipping coins or yawning loudly because you don’t care for awards anyway, why don’t we take a breather look to the past?

Allow me to transport you back in time to the New Zealand 1978 Record Awards, where every shirt collar screamed an incomprehensible statement and every hairdo touched approximately the ozone layer. If you, like me, weren’t around for the mayhem, please enjoy this extremely handy and extremely relevant recap of the evening’s proceedings. Sorry it’s 38 years late.

1) Good and confusing titles


Long before the VNZMA’s warranted its own 400 year-long slot on TV3, the ‘NZ Record Awards’ would take over an episode of Ready to Roll, a pop music show that began with live performances and evolved into a slick top 20 countdown with the best intro ever.

2) Stu Dennison’s outfit


According to my favourite fashion publication The Daily Mail, overalls are back with an even stronger vengeance than in 1978. Take note, Jono and Ben, your plain old hosting pants and jacket just won’t cut it anymore.

3) John Rowles in spaaAAAace


Why are his eyebrows better than mine? Why is everything so shiny? Is this Westworld? Cutting back from his (a)rousing performance, Stu informs us from his overalls that Rowles couldn’t make it into the Avalon Studios for the live show, so definitely must have sent in a tape from his home studio on Pluto.

4) This guy who is definitely not a spy having a great time


Legit looks like a time-traveller from 2016 who has taken a trip to the 70’s section of First Scene, no?

5) Sharon O’Neill being a sarong goddess


Five years before ‘Maxine’ blew up the charts, Sharon O’Neill was blowing minds with this controversial sarong-over jeans look. She won top female vocalist that year, along with the coveted ‘Queen of the plastic plant’ award.

6) This guy from Golden Harvest playing the guitar with his teeth


And rocking an absolutely stunning bejewelled cowboy hat / crown hybrid. Five stars.

7) These are the judges


Don’t think those humorously oversized bowties are going to distract us for one second from the fact that you lot haven’t learned about diversity yet.

8) Lantern mayhem


Some things never change, including the fact that a bunch of $2 paper lanterns can make everything look good, even when repurposing John Rowles’ space station for Toni Williams.

9) Forget about the price tag


Nothing screams rock and roll like a freshly purchased saxophone.

10) A happy ending


Despite potentially having just robbed the nearest Cash Converters, Hello Sailor came away with the debut album of the year award for “Watch Ya Back”. Now that’s what I call an… outrageous fortune.

The 2016 VNZMA’s are live on TV3 from 8.30pm tonight

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