Sounds of Then – The Great Aussie Playlist


January 28, 2013 by brettdgale

As I stood there in the pose of the great Australian male, endlessly turning blackening snags on the barbie in my Speedos, celebrating our national day in the traditional way, I began contemplating what it means to be Australian.  Where is the ethos of our nation best encapsulated? (other than in middle aged blokes in Speedos of course)

And it struck me that the finest exemplar of Australian culture and expression may be exhibited by our distinctive Australian sound.  Whereas our cinema can be hit and miss, and Australian literature receives an unfair neglect both here and abroad, our musicians capture the uniqueness of this wide brown land.   The idiosyncratic Australian musical feel is all our own, from Johnny O’Keefe to Gotye they have encapsulated the Australian spirit, even when not expressly referring to Australia.

The apotheosis of this movement may have been the bands who came out of the pub rock scene in the 70s and 80s – Cold Chisel, The Radiators, The Angels, The Church, The Sunnyboys, Weddings Parties Anything, Spy v Spy and on and on, culminating in the greatest of them all Midnight Oil.

Thus, combining these two thoughts – Aussie music and BBQs, I realised that it’s time to enrich your next Australia Day, with a music list worthy of our national day.

Now, cliched types constantly talk of the prevalence of the “barbecue stopper” in public discourse, although short of revealing that someone is cheating with someone else’s wife, I severely doubt whether the mythical barbecue stopper actually exists.  Certainly the claims made for certain points of public policy discussion are unlikely to stop any barbecue I’ve ever been to.

But debating what should be on the ultimate BBQ playlist for next Australia Day?  That’s certain to get the VB spilled, the kids out of  the pool  and the blood running high.

So herewith I present 25 songs I definitely want on my playlist for my next Australia Day BBQ – songs about Australia or that evoke a certain Australian spirit, rather than a collection of the best Australian songs of all time.  For me they are emblematic of my Australia and evocative of our land and its people. It’s not a definitive list by far (I could have had 25 Midnight Oil or Cold Chisel songs if I’d wanted) and yes there’s no “Down Under”, but it’s a list no self-respecting Aussie should be without on Aussie Day.

25. The Nose Bleed Section – The Hilltop Hoods  24.  Great Southern Land – Icehouse

23. One Perfect Day – The Little Heroes   22.  The Diamantina Drover – Redgum

21. Sounds of Then – Gangajang  20. Reckless – Australian Crawl

19. Solid Rock – Goanna  18. Saturday Night – Cold Chisel

17. Always Another – Matt Finish  16. Almost With You – The Church

14.  Father’s Day – Weddings Parties Anything  13. Bradman – Paul Kelly

12. They Won’t Let My Girlfriend Talk to Me – Jimmy and the Boys

11. My Happiness – Powderfinger  10. One Country – Midnight Oil

9. I’m Stranded – The Saints

8. Where the Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

7. Alone With You – The Sunnyboys  6. This Is Not the Way Home – The Cruel Sea

5. Cold Cold Change – Midnight Oil   4. The Unguarded Moment – The Church

3. Wide Open Road – The Triffids   2. BowRiver – Cold Chisel

1.  Throw Your Arms Around Me – Hunters and Collectors

What songs would be on your Aussie List?


3 thoughts on “Sounds of Then – The Great Aussie Playlist

  1. Nick Buchan says:

    Solid Rock… check. Great Southern Land… check. Throw Your Arms Around Me… check.

    A solid list, mate, extra props for ‘Bradman’. Let’s see… how about ‘Eagle Rock’ by Daddy Cool?

    Can I indulge in another Australian tradition and appropriate something from New Zealand as ours… maybe ‘Don’t Dream it’s Over’ by Crowded House? 🙂

  2. Rod says:

    Where is Sadie, Locomotion and Ah Shaddapa ya face? On a more serious note am surprised that the Hoodoo Guru’s are unable to get a start.

  3. Alex says:

    If you are talking nationalism, then surely there must be a place for Rolf harris
    And what about the anthemic ‘Treaty’?
    Look forward to separate list(s) that includes post 80s songs….And perhaps some Archie Roach & Kev Carmody…’from little things….’

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