Music to my ears

As my time winds down in Australia, I have been reflecting on the many happy years I’ve spent here and I’m sure in the future, there will be times when my mind wanders back fondly to my memories of down under.

Music has always been a great passion for me. I love the way it acts as a soundtrack to my life. When a song comes on the radio, the opening few bars are often all it takes to transport me back years, or even decades to another time and place.

Here then, in no particular order, are 10 songs that, whenever I hear them again in the future, (even in the darkest days of a European winter), will instantly remind me of Australia. Click on the links and enjoy the Australiana.

1. Gangajang: Sounds of then

It doesn’t get much more Aussie than this, capturing a feeling of humid nights and watching the “.. lightning crack over canefields”. So iconic it was that Coke adopted it to ‘Australianise’ their advertising.

2. AC/DC: Whole lotta Rosie

Veteran rock band that have been around for as long as I have lived here. Except back when I arrived, they played pubs and now they play stadiums. They still rock, although Angus’s schoolboy outfit is starting to look a little ridiculous – I haven’t worn my own old school uniform for several years now.

3. Icehouse: Great Southern Land

Another classic that I also associate with the rather bizarre movie Young Einstein. Whatever happened to Yahoo Serious by the way? Maybe in a world of litigious search engines, he has had to change his name?

4. Midnight Oil: Beds are burning

A classic Aussie band who took their political views on stage with them at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Lead singer Pete Garrett has since become a Labour politician in a classic case of feisty poacher turned muzzled gamekeeper.

5. Savage Garden: Affirmation

Talking of the Olympics, what an amazing time that was to be in Sydney. Savage Garden played at the ceremony and this track says “Sydney 2000” to me every time I hear it.

6. Wicked Beat Soundsystem: Stay with me till dawn

Great track by a relatively little known Aussie band from slightly more recent times and featuring a remake of an ancient song (from Judy Tzuke) that I confess I have lurking in a record collection somewhere.

7. The Avalanches: Since I left you

Melbourne band that came from nowhere (onto my radar anyway) and then disappeared just as quickly, but left one great album behind, with this track and video being a high spot.

8. The Whitlams: No Aphrodisiac

A beautiful and poignant track from one of Australia’s most talented songwriters (it says here). Seriously, I love this version, recorded with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, it is an awesome version.

9. Paul Kelly: From St Kilda to Kings Cross

Possibly the most instantly recognisable Aussie voice who sings about instantly recognisable Aussie things. Was a toss-up between this and “Bradman” when deciding which to feature, but given that I have lived and worked near Kings Cross for many years, this ode to those seedy suburbs gets the nod.

10. Cold Chisel: Khe Sahn

And to finish, there had to be a ‘Barnsey’ track on the list and this for me is forever associated with groups of blokes drunk on bourbon, screaming out the words in some cavernous pub, probably after an NRL game. Not that I’ve been there, you understand.

There were plenty more I couldn’t fit into a top 10 – INXS for one, not to mention Nick Cave, Kylie, Dave Graney, Silverchair, Powderfinger, Savage Garden, Midnight Oil or even more recently, Gotye, the Presets or Empire of the Sun.

My conclusions? Firstly that music is a powerful trigger and secondly that my strongest musical associations with Australia seem to date back to the 80’s and 90’s. Does that say more about me or about the general memorability of current Australian music? Or maybe a bit of both?

So, who have I missed and more importantly, what tracks would make it onto your own Aussie soundtrack?


3 thoughts on “Music to my ears

  1. I reckon you’ve cited some of the best mainstream artists and songs to be found in Aussie music. You haven’t mentioned any obscure independent stuff – my awful songs for instance – but hey, that’s okay, all good things take too damned long!

    Best Wishes from, Down Under!

    • Thanks Tommy. Gutted I didn’t discover your songs in time – maybe when I revisit the list? Thanks for the kind wishes also

  2. I always thought when listening to the ads on TV in Australia for “Greatest Aussie Hits” that the album would inevitably be empty. One of the many great pleasures in returning to England is that we don’t ever have to listen to Jimmy Barnes again!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s