Aria's Album Of The Year - The 90s - When Rock Ruled!

Aria's Album Of The Year - The 90s - When Rock Ruled!


Next Tuesday night, the 28th of November sees the ARIA Awards roll around again, a night of glitz, glamour, and a night where rock music is generally swept under the carpet so we can bask in pop fun.

Testament to this is the fact that a BEST ROCK ALBUM category was only introduced in 1999, and BEST HARD ROCK OR HEAVY METAL ALBUM was only introduced in 2010!

Despite that, rock albums have performed extremely well over the years at the ARIA’s, especially in the 90s when the world, including Australia, just couldn’t get enough rock. Oh, it was a glorious time!

1990 – Ian Moss: Matchbook (Album Of The Year)

Mossy is an Australian icon. Guitarist and songwriter for Cold Chisel, but when he released Matchbook, it peaked at #1 on the charts. Mossy won in FIVE categories at the ARIA’s that year, he was HOT, and it was all because of a song he co-wrote with fellow Cold Chisel member Don Walker a couple of years earlier, "Tuckers Daughter".

1991 – Midnight Oil: Blue Sky Mining (Album Of The Year)

The Oils were up against Farnsey and INXS for AOTY in ’91, but our dancing man and his troops got it done. This album also peaked at #1 on the ARIA charts and they too won in FIVE categories ( a bit of theme happening here) on the night. This album was even more outspoken than their previous work, pushed along by the single "Bly Sky Mine", and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

1992 – Baby Animals: Baby Animals (Album Of The Year)

This was like a proud fan moment for me. I was, like so many others, an early adopter of the Baby Animals. I had a few friends that were as passionate about them as I was, and this album was wall to wall killers. It debuted at #1 and went 8 times platinum and was the highest selling Australian debut album of all time (until Jet pipped them some 12 years later).  I loved it, thrashed in my car, and fell in love with Suzi even more. What a band.

1993 – Diesel: Hepfidelity (Album Of The Year)

As you can see, Australia was in the grip of, and celebrated rock in the 90’s. Just straight up rock bands ruled the roost, and Diesel is one of our greatest guitarists and performers. This stayed at #1 on the charts for 4 weeks and went 3 times platinum. Like the Baby Animals the year before, this was an album full of hits, including "Tip Of My Tongue", "Love Junk", "Man Alive", and "Come To Me".

1994 – The Cruel Sea: The Honeymoon Is Over (Album Of The Year)

Like Midnight Oil and Ian Moss before them, The Cruel Sea took home 5 gongs at the ARIA’s (two of which were stolen that night) and placed themselves amongst giants in the Australian rock world. Three of their tracks from The Honeymoon Is Over featured on the Triple J staple, The Hottest 100. Including this cracking track.

In 1995 we hit a snag. Tina Arena just slammed everyone. Her album Don’t Ask sold over 2 MILLION copies, spawned 6 singles and 10 ARIA nominations over 2 years. Tip of the hat to her. Let’s move on.

1996 – You Am I: Hourly Daily (Album Of The Year)

Stalwarts of the Australian rock scene, You Am I triumphed in ’96 with a fantastic look at Australian life on Hourly, Daily. You Am I evolved away from the screeching guitars on Hi Fi Way, for a more melodic vibe on this one, debuting at #1 on the ARIA charts that year, and quickly became a fan favourite, especially due to songs like "Soldiers".

In 1997, rock was foiled by pop again for the top gong. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Silverchair, Spiderbait and Powderfinger were all beaten by the juggernaut that was Savage Garden and their eponymous debut. 12 million copies sold worldwide, no one could compete with that. Well done lads.

1998 – Regurgitator: Unit (Album Of The Year)

This second album by Regurgitator was an undeniable hit, netting them 5 ARIA’s and going triple platinum due largely to the massive airplay of at least 5 single on rock radio. If there was a festival happening in Australia anywhere, they’d be on the bill. If there was something slightly odd happening, chances are Regurgitator would be a part of it. A super important band on the Australian rock landscape, Unit is a killer album.

1999 – Powderfinger: Internationalist (Album Of The Year)

The boys from Queensland nabbed the big on this year, after previously being nominated in ’97 and missing out. They would go on to win Album of The Year two more times in their career, taking their total ARIA wins to 18. Internationalist went 5 times platinum and garnered them 4 ARIA’s in that year and truly cemented the band into the Australia rock scene as one of the greatest bands we’ve ever produced. I was a total ‘finger fan in the 90’s. I had everything they did, and still love them to this day.

As you can see, Australia really did embrace rock music in the 90’s and these are albums that you should have in your collection if you don’t already. Just look at that list! It’s awesome! So revisit a stellar time in Australian rock music and celebrate it, hard and loud!

And if you love these tracks you should follow our 90s Oz playlist on Spotify, it's got some absolute rock and pop rippers!

Related Posts