|Screaming Meemees. Image: Simon Grigg|
By some really strange turn of history, the APRA Silver Scrolls never happened back in 1981, and no one at APRA can remember why, apparently.
"Nineteen eighty-one was a watershed year in our history. I'm not sure why the Silver Scroll was not awarded, but as often happens in times of social and political unrest the music scene was never more vibrant and exciting," says Apra boss Anthony Healey (via NZH).
1981 was a bloody great year for local music, largely driven by the blossoming indie label scene (Ripper, Propeller, Flying Nun), giving rise to fantastic records by Herbs, The Clean, The Swingers, Newmatics, Blam Blam Blam, and the Screaming Meemees (who hit number one on debut with See Me Go, as did the Swingers).
Simon Grigg (Propeller Records, Audioculture) recalls that back then "APRA was a dusty room in Queen Street then which we didn't pay much attention to.
"It did nothing for us - many writers were not even allowed to join as I recall - and none of the people who are nominated here probably got a cent from it - except maybe Enz who were not NZ-based anyway. Mike Chunn changed all that later in the decade, although to be fair the changes began with Paul Rose at AMCOS."
The funny thing is, when you look at the list of Silver Scroll winners during the 1980s (below), it's all turgid rockers like Hammond Gamble, The Narcs, and Mother Goose, or earnest singer songwriters. The retrospective finalists are way cooler. Although, based on Grigg's comment, probably over half of them weren't even APRA members in 1981.
The finalists chosen for the retrospective award are:
• Counting The Beat by The Swingers
• No Depression In New Zealand by Blam Blam Blam
• One Step Ahead by Split Enz
• See Me Go by The Screaming Meemees
• Tally Ho by The Clean
NZ Herald's Russell Baillie had a guess at the potential finalists, his guesses were pretty damn good...Baillie writes: " In last Saturday's paper, I had wondered about whether the award might nominate Dean Waretini's 81 number one The Bridge - in te reo, though done to a borrowed Italian tune, or the Newmatics' political ska of Riot Squad and Graham Brazier's Billy Bold. But nervy white guy pop-rock bands of the era it is, it seems..."
The list of Silver Scroll winners during the 1980s suggests that it was a very mainstream event, based on the winners....
1980 Paul Schreuder "You've Got Me Loving You"
1982 Stephen Young - Mother Goose "I Can't Sing Very Well"
1983 Stephen Bell-Booth "All I Want Is You"
1984 Hammond Gamble "Look What Midnight's Done to Me"
1985 Malcolm Black and Nick Sampson - Netherworld Dancing Toys "For Today"
1986 Tony Waine - The Narcs "Abandoned By Love"
1987 Dave Dobbyn "You Oughta Be In Love"
1988 Shona Laing "Soviet Snow"
1989 Stephen Bell-Booth "Hand It Over"
Meanwhile, back in the present....
The finalists for the 2015 award are:
• Back Into Your Life by Clap Clap Riot
• Call The Days by Nadia Reid
• Can't Keep Checking My Phone by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
• Collarbones by Thomston
• Cool It by She's So Rad
• Dark Child by Marlon Williams
• Do You Remember by Jarryd James
• Get Out Alive by Mel Parsons
• Just In Case Allelujah by Eyreton Hall
• L.A.F. by Broods
• Little Pieces by SJD
• Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
• Naomi by Martin Andrews
• Perfect Health by Mulholland
• Special by Six60
• Touch by Maala
• Unplugged by SJD
• Water Underground by Anthonie Tonnon
• Welcome Back by King Kapisi
• Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde
The winner of the APRA Silver Scroll Award is decided by the votes of APRA’s members - over 10,000 New Zealand songwriters and composers. Voting for the award is now open, and closes on Sunday 9th August.
The APRA Silver Scroll Awards will be held at Vector Arena in Auckland on Thursday 17th September.