The ten greatest Australian songs
Wouldn't you know it: AC/DC is coming to town the same week as Australia Day (January 26)! In honor of the only country we can think of with its own international holiday, we celebrate 10 essentials of Aussie rock:
1. The Living End,"Prisoner of Society"
The Living End is Australia's greatest punk-rock band and "Prisoner of Society" was the best-selling Aussie single of the '90s. People like to make cracks about Australia's convict history, but that's where they get their rebellious nature—and "Prisoner" embodies that spirit perfectly.
2. The Church, "Under the Milky Way"
Prog-rockers driven by guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper's 12-string Rickenbacker, The Church's "Under the Milky Way" remains one of the best Australian songs recorded after 1980.
3. Men at Work, "Down Under"
"Down Under," a reggae-infused pop song about an Australian world-traveler extolling the virtues of his home country (like Vegemite sandwiches), has become a source of patriotic pride for Aussies.
4. AC/DC, "It's a Long Way to the Top"
Not just the greatest Australian rock band of all time, but one of the greatest in the world (hence, well, this whole page).
5. Kasey Chambers, "The Captain"
Chambers melds her experiences on the empty Nullarbor Plain in south-central Australia, her love of Lucinda Williams, and personal struggles with family, lovers and celebrity into unforgettable alt-country tracks that linger long after a first listen.
6. The Easybeats, "Friday on My Mind"
The greatest Australian pop band of the '60s, and the first to score an international hit with "Friday on My Mind."
7. The Vines, "Get Free"
Post-grunge garage rockers The Vines, along with acts like The White Stripes and The Strokes, reminded the world that rock still, you know, rocked earlier this decade.
8. INXS, "Original Sin"
One of Australia's biggest rock exports, scoring numerous international hits in the '80s and '90s, such as "Devil Inside" and "New Sensation." But it was "Original Sin" that launched them into the Aussie rock scene stratosphere.
9. Hunters and Collectors,"Throw Your Arms Around Me"
The '80s pub band infamous for its raucous performances and inviting fans onstage to join in the percussive mayhem.
10. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, "Where the Wild Roses Grow"
Cave is a snarling, growling tall-tale teller of ballads and frenetic rock with morals implicit in every dark thought he has about death, religion and violence. Minogue is as big as Madonna to the Aussies and Brits, notorious for her dance-friendly, frustratingly infectious pop numbers. In 1996, the two teamed up for this haunting tale of love and murder.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.