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NZ Top 40 Celebrates the Big 40

40 Years of Popular Music

NZ Top 40 Celebrates the Big 40

Not only is the month of May NZ Music Month, this year it also marks the ruby anniversary of The Official NZ Top 40 Music Charts.

The Charts have measured popular music in New Zealand since May 1975. From the first ever chart topper - Helen Reddy’s ‘Free and Easy’ - to this week’s #1 hit ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, it has seen many incarnations of what Kiwis deem to be the week’s hottest music tracks.

To celebrate the milestone, 16 artists from both here and abroad are being recognised this evening (Wednesday May 27) at a special industry event. The event celebrates local and international acts that have topped the albums and singles charts in four categories: Most #1s, Most Chart Entries, Most Weeks in the Chart, and Most Weeks at #1.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says there have been some interesting hits topping the charts over the years.

“It’s been a lot of fun looking back at the various #1 hits. From New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ in ‘83 to Billy Ray Cyrus ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ in ’92; from NZ’s own Patea Maori Club’s ‘Poi E’ in ’84 to Crazy Frog’s ‘Axel F’ in 2005. And MC Hammer’s ‘You Can’t Touch This’ in 1990 to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ in 2014 – we as a nation have had an eclectic taste in music during the past 40 years,” Vaughan says

“The honours presented tonight highlight that diversity with a mix of some of the world’s biggest stars and some of our most cherished local heroes all being recognised.”

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To commemorate 40 years of The Official NZ Top 40 Music Charts, Recorded Music NZ is also releasing a limited edition 7” pressed on ruby red vinyl with proceeds going to charity.

The vinyl features Tiki Taane’s ‘Always on My Mind’, the Kiwi track that spent the most weeks in the Singles Chart (55 weeks). It also features Scribe’s ‘Stand Up’*, the Kiwi single that spent the most weeks at #1 (12 weeks). Both artists donated their tracks for the project.

“To have these two Kiwi music greats donating their chart topping singles to help others through music is just fantastic,” Vaughan says.

The commemorative ruby records will be available through record stores in June and collectors will be able to choose between a Scribe or Tiki Taane cover.

All proceeds go to the New Zealand Music Foundation ( which supports music-based projects at youth organisations, hospices, schools, medical charities, rehabilitation centres and more across the country. It also provides assistance to those in the music community who find themselves experiencing illness, distress and hardship.

A complete list of the local and international artists recognised is included below.

AchievementLocal actDataInternational actData
Most #1 SinglesDeep Obsession3 x #1 singles Michael Jackson
Katy Perry
8 x #1 singles each
Most Chart EntriesShihad25 entriesMadonna53 entries
Most Weeks in ChartTiki Taane
‘Always On My Mind’
55 weeksNew Order
‘Blue Monday’
74 weeks
Most Weeks at #1Scribe
‘Stand Up / Not Many’
12 weeksPharrell
15 weeks
AchievementLocal actDataInternational actData
Most #1 AlbumsHayley Wesenra
5 x #1 albums eachU213x #1 albums
Most Chart EntriesSplit Enz14 entriesElton John35 entries
Most Weeks in ChartFat Freddy’s Drop
‘Based on a True Story’
108 weeksPink Floyd
‘Dark Side of the Moon’
297 weeks
Most Weeks at #1Hayley Westenra
19 weeksAdele
38 weeks

About The Chart: The Chart is produced by Recorded Music New Zealand from statistics gathered from data collection agency RadioScope. For more information on the Official NZ Top 40 Chart, please see:

*Scribe’s ‘Stand Up’ was originally released as a double A-Side with ‘Not Many’


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