Aussie Music 101

Today we’re going to talk about travel, and music.. ;) This one is for all the non-Aussies reading this blog.

If you intend to visit Australia, you may find yourself in a “pub” (place where one drinks alcohol) at some point. In that pub, there may be a live band (a group of people with instruments attempting to burst your eardrums by the power of sound and they might succeed!) and if there is, they possibly won’t be playing their own music.

At this pub, they will be playing all kinds of music, and some of it might be from Aussie bands (the greatest music of all time) so it might be helpful to you to be familiar with the bands and perhaps even learn some of the lyrics ahead of time. So let us take a look at the top 5 Aussie bands you may hear music from.

5. AC/DC (Or, Acca Dacca)

The band has a long and interesting history which you can read about on Wikipedia. But for the purposes of today’s post, what you need to know is – they have a guitarist who does this bizzare hopping around on stage thing (look at the you tube clip. Seriously, do it!) and the singer is not the most easy to understand.

You probably don’t need to know any of the lyrics, just growling along with the music will be fine and if you take a look at how the guitarist does his thing you can choose to copy that, or just headbang (ie bounce your head in time to the beat of the music in an angry looking way) and you can pass yourself off as a real Aussie with little effort on this occasion.

4. Midnight Oil. (Or, The Oils)

The oils (read their wikipedia here) have a lot of lyrics. There’s no way you can learn all of them while not in Australia. While here you will pick a fair few of them up, most likely the musical question “How can we sleep while our beds are burning” and “If the sugar refining company won’t save me, who’s going to save me”.

However, you can get away with not knowing the lyrics if you try to dance like Peter Garrett. This is best done when you’ve had a fair bit to drink. Again the you tube video will give you some excellent insight on how to do this, but if you don’t have the time –

In order to dance like Peter Garret – imagine your feet are glued to the floor, and you really want to unglue them. Then imagine you have ingested two entire bottles of Coca Cola and you have an enormous gas bubble in your stomach, and you’re trying to expel it by burping yourself, like you would a baby.. Wave your arms in the air. Move the top half of your body somewhat wildly. Imagine you managed to step on a foot sized piece of bubblegum, pick one leg up off the floor but imagine long trails of gum stuck to your foot and you’re trying to get them off.

3. The Angels

The most likely Angels song you will hear is “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” – not surprisingly, this is the lyric you will need to know in order to bluff like you know this band and their music. But if you want to really make people think you are an Aussie, when that lyric is sung, you can then sing in reply to that lyric “No way get f*cked f*ck off” and people will assume you have been here since the late 80’s, even if you have an accent which says otherwise. ;)


Wiki here. It is really difficult to guess what INXS song you might hear. There are so many of them. Here is an official VEVO account where you can immerse yourself in the INXS.

Michael Hutchence, is pure sex on legs. See for yourself, watch the you tube clips. I believe he was the Aussie Jim Morrison. Unfortunately, he also died in a Jim Morrison type way.

Watch for the girls reaction when INXS is played. Depending on how much they’ve had to drink and which pub you’re in, there may be one or who who uncontrollably sob. This is totally normal and ok. Just act like you didn’t see that.

1. Cold Chisel (known as Chisel)

Wiki here. The ultimate Aussie band. You will likely hear several of their songs while here. However my personal favourite of all the Chisel songs is Cheap Wine. You will hear this a fair bit too. “Cheap wine and a three day growth” is the needful on this occasion – again, sing it loud.. As a tribute to this band, I put both Khe Sahn and Cheap Wine here. ;) And OMG real Aussies, check out the Khe Sahn video below- Jimmy Barnes hair! I didn’t know he had a poodle do.. there is so much about Aussie History I missed out on.. :)

Khe Sahn is very popular. In order to act like you know this song, you need the lyric “The last plane out of Sydney’s almost gone” – you need to sing this at the TOP of your lungs. You need to sing this like it is the last thing you will ever sing. You need to sing this like you want the people back where you are from to hear you. There are long patches of unintelligible lyrics to get through before you get to that bit – it’s the best bit, and they always save the best till last.. My advice, drink more beer while this is going on.

You may actually be lucky enough to see the Jimmy Barnes in person at some point. My Mom ran into him at the airport. He was in town here a couple of weeks ago.

So there you go. You learnt something new today. ;) Hopefully you listened to at least one of these songs. And if you do make it here to visit us and drink cold beer while cover bands murder the Aussie greats, let me know!

Now, the other half just brought home a new stereo, so I’m gonna go enjoy that and play some pool. I’ll be playing some of these Aussie songs and thinking of ya’all. :)

Similar Posts:

Aussie Culture, music

7 thoughts on “Aussie Music 101

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m commenting back in the NaBloPoMo spirit, and am definitely taking notes about the Aussie bands, as I’d love to check out Australia one day!

  2. Whoa. I actually have a CD featuring Jimmy Barnes (and Steve Morse, a US guitarist). Same guy, right?

    So that might be like, step #1 on my way to someday having a fine time in an Australian pub. Cool!

  3. Thanks for the comments guys.. ;)

    Al – visiting Australia is something everyone should do, I think. I’ve lived here 31 years and nothing has killed me (yet) :) hehe

    radioactive jam – yes, you may be, but you may need more training. Subjects you could study may include drinking large amounts of beer, dancing on sticky floors, and playing the pokie machines.

    Sephy – Silverchair is Aussie yes, and one of my faves, but considered “heavy metal” and most of the cover bands play rock. ;)

    Kirsten – same goes for Crowded House, except the opposite – they are considered easy listening. But you might hear one of their songs in a pub from time to time if you’re lucky. You’ll hear it on the radio a *lot* ;) And I do think Neil Finn is sex on legs as well but that is a different post.. ;)

    Thanks for your comments guys :)

  4. Many years ago, I went to see a live band at, of all places, a roller skating rink in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs. They played an oils song and decided to have a competition to see who could dance most like Peter Garrett.

    On roller skates.

    How this did not end in a 50 skater pile-up I will never know.

    I came second.

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