Quintessentially Aussie Songs

on 28 January 2011 in Slideshows


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Ganggajang – Sounds of Then (This Is Australia) Initially far from a commercial success when it was released in 1985, the song’s evocative lyrics of Australian suburbia and countryside have made it one of the most recognisable ‘Aussie’ songs. Watch video

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    Ganggajang – Sounds of Then (This Is Australia) Initially far from a commercial success when it was released in 1985, the song’s evocative lyrics of Australian suburbia and countryside have made it one of the most recognisable ‘Aussie’ songs. Watch video

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    The Go-Betweens – Cattle & Cane Considered one of the greatest Australian songs, the late Grant McLennan’s ode to memories of his childhood amongst the cane fields of Central Queensland is highly evocative of our great brown land. Watch video

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    The Triffids – Wide Open Road Recorded in London in August 1985, and released as a single in 1986, David McComb’s songwriting masterpiece evokes the huge stretches of highway across arid parts of Australia. Lyrics that marry doomed love with the Australian landscape and instrumentation that almost recreates the heat rising off the bitumen in front of you on the highway. Watch video

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    Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning Midnight Oil’s 1987 single promoting Aboriginal land rights was a worldwide smash, with the lyrics and video incorporating Holden wrecks, bush scrub, red desert and just about every bit of Aussie imagery you can poke a stick at. Watch video

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    Men At Work – Down Under Men at Work’s 1982 worldwide smash hit incorporates every cliché imaginable about Australia – Kombi vans, Vegemite Sandwiches and chundering, and is, along with Paul Hogan and Oprah Winfrey, responsible for every American’s total cultural knowledge of our country. Watch video

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    Cold Chisel – Flame Trees We could have gone with any number of Cold Chisel songs, but this paean to small town Australian life and love was the band’s last hit and possibly their greatest song ever. Watch video

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    Paul Kelly – From St Kilda To Kings Cross Another Australian artist for which you have a smorgasbord of quintessentially Australian songs to choose from, but this tale of swapping life in Melbourne’s St Kilda for Sydney’s King Cross is one of the Aussie classics. Sorry Sydney, but who would want to swap your harbour for St Kilda Esplanade? Watch video

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    The Church – Under The Milky Way Okay, so it’s supposedly a ‘song about nothing’ or an ode to heroin, and the only places that it name checks are in the USA, and it includes a e-bow solo mimicking bagpipes, but this is another quintessential Aussie song. Voted in a poll in 2008 as they greatest song of the last 20 years, it’s hard for many expats to hear this song and not feel a little bit teary and homesick. Watch video

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    The Drones – Shark Fin Blues Another song which topped a recent Triple J songwriter poll of Australian songs, The Drones’ 2005 instant classic featuring Gareth Liddiard’s unashamedly Australian accent and obtuse lyrics evoking colonial Australia is the country writ large in epic blues rock. Watch video

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    AC/DC – Long Way To The Top Like many quintessentially Australian songs, it was written by immigrants from the United Kingdom, features a bagpipe solo and yet is about as Aussie as you get. What could be more Australian than a song about the travails of a touring band and a film clip that features the band performing on the back of a truck as it trundles up Swanston Street in Melbourne. Watch video

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