Yesterday’s twin Grammys for Lorde and co-writer / producer Joel Little make it one of the most significant days in New Zealand music history. Winning Best Pop Vocal Performance and the even more prestigious Song Of The Year, Lorde also got strong reviews for her live rendition of the song in question, Royals.
With Royals getting all the attention (nine weeks at US #1 will do that), it’s almost like the New Zealand public have taken for granted the success of the international followup single, Team. Currently sitting at US #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, if Royals hadn’t existed we’d be celebrating Team as the biggest Kiwi hit in the States since OMC’s How Bizarre.
But is that correct? Contrary to popular belief, How Bizarre never went to US #1, peaking at #4 on the airplay chart. Due to differences in how the singles chart was compiled in those days, the song was ineligible for the Hot 100 because it was only a US radio release and could not be physically bought.
So with that in mind, Team would be the biggest New Zealand hit in the States since Crowded House took Don’t Dream It’s Over to US #2 in 1987. The only other contender I can think of is Savage’s 2005 hip-hop smash Swing. Its 2008 remix peaked at a modest US #45, but had a steady sales burn and eventually topped a million units in the States alone.
As it stands, Lorde’s Team is most likely the third biggest hit by a Kiwi act in US history (behind Don’t Dream It’s Over and Royals) and its position this week at #8 is only one behind Royals. Two hits simultaneously in the US top 10 and here’s the one you may not know quite as well as the other: