Cold Chisel, 1982. Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images.
The 80s gave us a strong contingent of songs that will forever keep us singing in our homes, cars, and pubs.
Here are 9 songs (from a selection of many more) that could literally be our unofficial National Anthem... If we've left your fave off the list, please let us know on Facebook.
Tucker's Daughter – Ian Moss (1988)
This was Ian Moss’ debut solo single, however, it was co-written with his Cold Chisel buddy, Don Walker. This classic tells the story of unrequited love. A farmhand is the interest of the ‘Boss man’s only daughter’, but the feelings are not returned. Moss says he knew he was onto a hit and was ‘running around the house clicking his heels’
Catch this Aussie icon on tour around the country from June to November, tour dates and ticket info here.
Vinyl collectors and Mossy fans can pre-order his classic 1989 album Matchbook on limited edition white vinyl here.
I Was Only Nineteen - Redgum (1983)
Told from a first-person perspective of an Australian soldier in the Vietnam War. Redgum’s lead singer, John Schumann, came up with the story of a young army volunteer via his brother in law’s stories of his time in the war. All royalties from the song go to the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia.
You’re The Voice – John Farnham (1986)
Easily John Farnham’s most recognised and most successful song. It spent 7 weeks at the top of the charts, and was also his most successful song in Europe, going to number 1 in Germany and Sweden.
This is an anthem that, when played at the right time, will unite any crowd in harmony. It’s as Australian as football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.
To Her Door – Paul Kelly (1987)
It’s fair to say that you could name almost any Paul Kelly song from the 80’s as an anthem, such was his prolific nature for writing memorable tunes. The poet laureate of Australia’s massive hit from 1987 actually took seven years to write. “I sing little melodies into a tape recorder and every now and then I go through the tapes and have a listen. And I heard that and I thought it would be good to put words to that, it’s a good tune”. It’s a melody that nearly every Aussie knows, and will happily belt out a verse when it appears on any jukebox after a few personality tablets (beers).
Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House (1986)
This classic Crowded House song, originally recorded for their debut album, has become a fan favourite and live staple due to the crowd sing-a-longs. It also holds a special place in fans hearts after being the last song performed by the band at their last ever gig together (Farewell To The World) on the steps of the Opera House in Sydney in 1996.
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil (1987)
An absolute monster hit for the band both here and internationally, as soon as people hear the brass instruments fire up with the drums, then settle into that driving bassline courtesy of Peter Gifford, it stirs the passions of proud Aussies everywhere to perform their best Peter Garrett dance. “Beds Are Burning" is a protest song in support of giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert”
Flame Trees – Cold Chisel (1984)
A song inspired by memories of growing up in Grafton NSW, and romantic dreams, according to one of its writers, Don Walker. "In my mind it’s a northern New South Wales song. But there’s a lot of people who love that song and in their minds it’s set in their home towns. A lot of people finish up away from where they come from.” It’s a fantastic story that draws people in and demands an all-in wailing of the chorus and ever familiar ‘whoaaa-ohh ohhh’. Who needs that sentimental bullshit anyway?
Boys Light Up – Australian Crawl (1980)
The second single and title track from Aussie Crawl’s debut album was an instant classic. Some sordid lyrics nearly saw the song banned from radio and TV, but common sense prevailed and that kind of heat ensured this would become a fan favourite. Later, lead singer James Reyne was asked what the song was about. “"Well, really? It's about fellatio, but[...] it was also about the sort of burgeoning, you know, kind of... new middle class, the new money and the new money aspirational... uh... class."
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (1980)
The first AC/DC single to be released with Brian Johnson as ‘the new singer’ in 1980, "You Shook Me All Night Long" is definitely a crowd favourite and live staple of the band. If you’re at a house party and this isn’t played at least twice, you’re at the wrong house party. This doesn’t need a write-up, introduction, or explanation. It’s ACCA DACCA mate, it’s an anthem, it’s Australian, it’s iconic, it’s the vibe.
If you love these anthems you'll love this collection of the best Aussie pub rock available on our Spotify playlist...