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Top Ten Tunes

Andrew Denton

Broadcaster, Comedian, Producer

Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to the Dayglo Disco ... and PLEASE ensure you have your wristbands in order tonight: the bouncers are WAY vigilant tonight. But here we are, the night is young, you're all looking delightful in the new lighting. So what's to stop an all-nighter? What indeed. And tonight, all the way from Sydney... for many years now a DJ of impeccable credentials -- starting we think at Triple J or M -- somewhere up the far end of the dial. And then graduating to the telly and becoming Australia's premier interviewer on shows like Denton and of course Enough Rope. He's talked to everyone from the famous and grand -- Bill Clinton, Bono, Matt Damon, you name it, to the obscure and humble. Like the humble Prop of this humble vineyard. Take a look -- hundreds of first class interviews on You Tube...BUT not tonight -- that's for dancin', and look, there's Andrew on the way up to the stage right now. Wonder if you remember the earlier show where Denton insisted all musical guests were required to do their version on Stairway to Heaven, and then a later show where they would have to pick a random song, blind out of a barrel. Brilliant ideas and loadsa fun. The man has done masses of other stuff, as producer, sketch comedian -- so talented you could kill him. BUT, leave that for another time -- tonight it's Dayglo time, it's DJ time, and here he is -- wit, raconteur, wine enthusiast, husband of the marvellous Jennifer Byrne, and above all music lover... A big Dayglo riot if you please for the one and only ANDREW DENTON!

How on earth did the Romans ever build an empire -- or Bo Derek a career -- on a number as limiting as ten? So many darling children have had to be slaughtered so that these Brave And Transient Few may be brought before you. Apologies to Van Morrison, Billy Bragg, Lennon & McCartney, Prince, k d lang, Prodigy, Joe Cocker, Toots and The Maytals...oh the carnage goes on and on.

Here are ten songs, each of which I could put on repeat and listen to all day.

  1. Four Seasons in One Day - Crowded House

    A lot of people have talent. Not many have a gift. Here, the most fertile sibling rivalry since the Marx Brothers comes to full flower. If intelligent life on the far side of the universe picked this up on their shortwave they would definitely come to check us out.

  2. Paradise Circus - Massive Attack

    Massive Attack have consistently produced some of the most interesting music (and videos) of the last 20 years. There are many of their songs that could have sat on this list -- Protection, Better Things, Teardrop, Live With Me ­ - but Paradise Circus, from Heligoland, gets the nod because Hope Sandoval's vocals are the nearest you can come to being vocally undressed. The slightly unsynchopated handclaps become mesmerising once you notice them. An astonishing clip can be found on Vimeo, with the song set around the reminiscences of ageing porn star Georgina Spelvin (Devil In Miss Jones). Here's a taste: “An orgasm is that point in time that can't be measured. A mystical instant that doesn't really exist in this dimension”

  3. Slip Slidin' Away - Paul Simon

    Excuse me, while I open some windows...

  4. Sailing To Philadelphia - Mark Knopfler

    The number of truly great lyricists in contemporary music is not large. The number who can put those lyrics to great music is pitifully small. Cue Paul Simon and a song which, when I first heard it as a teenager, struck me as sweet and hummable but not much else. It was only when I rediscovered it in my 40s that I realised I was hearing the breakout hit from the never released Sartre, The Musical. The verse: “I knew a father who had a son. He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he'd done. He came a long way just to explain. Kissed his boy as he lay sleeping then he turned around and headed home again” cuts me to the quick every time.

  5. Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

    When Arthur Miller died, the gist of the obits about him went like this: “Did two great things then, after that, it was all downhill”. I remember thinking ‘hey, how many people get to do one great thing, let alone two? Isn't that enough? In that spirit, I will make no mention of Money For Nothing and, instead, celebrate this beautiful piece of songwriting and storytelling, made transcendent by the perfectly matched voices of Knopfler and James Taylor.

  6. Fix You - Coldplay

    There is a well somewhere - I know it - rarely and mysteriously accessed, from which comes our universal songbook. In the words of e e cummings “here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud”.

  7. I Want You Back - The Civil Wars

    ‘Stadium rock?,' I hear you mutter, your lip sexily curling into the beginnings of a sneer. Yes. Stadium rock. An Anthem, no less. And if you've been in a stadium when Coldplay fills the sky with Fix You, you'll know why. It's quite something to see 20,000 people completely united in a mass display of public introspection. I believe Mr Chris Martin may be another one with The Gift.

  8. Season Man - Tony Joe White

    All I know about The Civil Wars is that -- wonderfully -- they cancelled their last US tour because they were fighting. I should know more but I prefer just to listen to this song over and over. As a non-musician, it continues to confound me that, just when everything must surely have been written, somebody pulls something as gorgeous as this out of thin air.

  9. Deeper Water - Paul Kelly

    Recorded, I believe, in one take. Louisiana swamp anyone?

  10. (What's So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love And Understanding? - Elvis Costello

    This song has an uncanny effect on me. It makes me want to burst into tears. Every time. I've tried to put my finger on it. It's not the mum dying of cancer, it's the image, I think, of the little boy being carried “up and over the waves” by the man. Something about it -- the whole cycle of Australian boyhood/ manhood -- speaks to me, even though I've always viewed beaches with great suspicion as places where Men With Real Pectorals go.

Thanks Andrew -- perfect.

Now Ladies and Gents, shock announcement last month you may have picked up on: Denton is retiring from television. Now it can be revealed why -- and it's a no brainer when you think about it -- why he'd retire at the top of his game. It's always 'new challenges'. And in this case -- it's to be Resident DJ at the Dayglo. And ambition common to many young fellas. Welcome Andrew, and we know it's BIG step up, but you'll be fine...

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