We’ve been listening to a lot of Double J this month due to their fantastic coverage of 90s music. They recently counted down the Best 50 Australian Songs of the 90s, which was topped by You Am I’s “Berlin Chair”. We have selected some of our own from that iconic decade.
INXS “Suicide Blonde”
"Suicide Blonde" was the first single from the INXS album X. A global success, it reached Top 10 on the US Hot 100, #2 in Australia and #11 in the UK in 1990. Written by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss after a year-long sabbatical. It is rumoured that Hutchence's then-girlfriend, Kylie Minogue, gave him the inspiration for the title.
The recording of "Suicide Blonde" showed some influence of dance music especially the acid house sounds popular in the UK at the time. The main riff in the song is a simple rework of the driving funk riff in the band's 1984 single "Original Sin," produced by Nile Rodgers – his signature riff that can be heard from the 1970s heyday of Chic ("Soup for One") to the mid 1980s Duran Duran pop hit "Notorious," also produced by Rodgers.
Ratcat “Don’t Go Now”
Australian indie pop band Ratcat released “Don’t Go Now” in April 1991. It went on to peak at No.1 in the ARIA Single Chart. This was the group's second No.1 after their E.P. Tingles, two weeks earlier. Nick Mainsbridge was nominated for Engineer of the Year at the ARIA Music Awards of 1992 for "Don't Go Now".
Fronted by Simon Day, Ratcat’s combination of indie pop song writing and energetic punk-style guitar won them fans from both the indie and skate-punk communities.
Spiderbait “Buy Me A Pony”
"Buy Me a Pony" received extensive airplay on Triple J, resulting in listeners voting it as their favourite song in the Hottest 100 of 1996 – the first Australian group to do so. The song was also nominated for Single Of The Year at the 1997 ARIA Awards.
“Buy Me A Pony” is from Spiderbait’s third album, Ivy and the Big Apples, released in October 1996 and reached number #3, and by 1997 had received 2 Platinum certification. It is considered by many fans and critics to be Spiderbait's greatest album.
The Living End “Prisoner of Society”
The Living End had achieved mainstream success with the release of their third EP, Second Solution / Prisoner of Society in September 1997. It peaked at # 4 on the ARIA Singles Chart and spent 69 weeks in the ARIA Top 100. "Prisoner of Society" also reached No. 15 on Triple J's Hottest 100 for 1997.
"Tomorrow" by Silverchair was released on 16 September 1994 on their debut EP, also titled Tomorrow and again on their first full-length album, Frogstomp. It won the 1995 ARIA Music Award for Single of the Year and Highest Selling Single.
"Tomorrow" became a breakthrough hit for Silverchair when it reached #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart and remained at the top position for six weeks. In the United States a re-recorded version was issued in the following year and also peaked at number one on both the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and the Album Rock Tracks charts. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995, "Tomorrow" won three awards in the categories 'Single of the Year', 'Highest Selling Single' and 'Breakthrough Artist – Single'; they won two further awards for Frogstomp.
Midnight Oil “Blue Sky Mine”
"Blue Sky Mine" was released in 1990 as the first single from Midnight Oil’s album Blue Sky Mining. It peaked at#88 in the ARIA Singles Chart and #1 on both the Billboard Album Rock and Modern Rock charts. The song was inspired by the experiences of workers at the Wittenoom asbestos mines who contracted various asbestos-related diseases. The "blue" refers to blue asbestos, and the "sugar refining company" refers to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd (CSR), the owner of the mines.
Crowded House “Fall At Your Feet”
Released in 1991, “Fall At Your Feet” is the only single from the Woodface album to be written solely by Neil Finn, who co-wrote all other singles from the album with his brother Tim Finn. It peaked at #17 in the UK, making it Woodface's second most successful single behind the follow-up, "Weather with You".
"Fall at Your Feet" was later released on the group's greatest hits collection Recurring Dream and was performed at the group's farewell performance in 1996, Farewell to the World.
The track has been covered by James Blunt, English pop punk band Busted, and flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook with singer Danny Wilde. The song was covered by Renée Weldon, Nick Seymour and Conor Brady for the soundtrack to the 2005 Irish drama Trouble with Sex. It also was covered by Glenn Richards (Augie March) for the soundtrack to the 2008 Australian film The Black Balloon. In 2010, Boy & Bear covered the song for a Finn Brothers' covers album, He Will Have His Way which came in at number 5 in Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2010.
Powderfinger “These Days”
"These Days" was not released as a single, however it topped the Triple J Hottest 100 chart in 1999. It was also awarded Song of the Year at the 2000 Music Critic's Awards. Powderfinger have described "These Days" as one of their most simple, enduring, and popular works. The song was developed originally after a request by film director Gregor Jordan, who asked the band to write a song for his upcoming film, Two Hands.
Yothu Yindi “Treaty”
Released in 1991, "Treaty" is a song by Australian indigenous music band Yothu Yindi, which is made up of Aboriginal and balanda (non-Aboriginal) members. It peaked at #11 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was the first song by a predominately-Aboriginal band to chart in Australia. “Treaty” was the first song in any Aboriginal Australian language (Yolngu-Matha) to gain extensive international recognition, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play singles charts.
In May 2001 "Treaty" was selected by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time and in 2009 was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.
"Treaty" is one of many great tracks featured on NIMA PRESENTS THE SOUND OF INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA – NOW & BEFORE. The album will be released July 7 to coincide with the announcement of finalists for the 2017 National Indigenous Music Awards. Available to pre-order here.