The 50 Most Iconic Australian Music Moments Of All Time

Australian Music Moments

What are the most iconic Australian music moments of all time?

Like a scene from your favourite film, a single song can soundtrack the best (and worst) moments in our lives. It’s these tunes that transport us back in time, often without warning as they appear on playlists or in the background of a TV ad, triggering locked-away memories from years gone by. 

Music also soundtracks some of the greatest, and most iconic, moments in popular culture. As do the remarkable Australian artists behind the music, who themselves are responsible for many decade-defining moments that appear throughout this collector’s edition.

Think about the rise and rise of homegrown stars like Kylie Minogue, the cultural impact of upstart record labels like Modular, and the infiltration of music television into popular culture and public consciousness. Iconic Australian music moments are everywhere.

A moment in time married with music can break down barriers, ignite movements, start trends, launch industries, give birth to icons, and change the course of history — for good. Some of the trailblazing people that appear on this Rolling Stone List — including Michael Gudinski — have achieved all of the above. It’s the stuff of legend, and the making of legends.


The Countdown Revolution Begins on ABC TV

If you weren’t of a certain age at the time it’s hard to explain the importance of Countdown. Sure, you can watch old episodes and read books about it — chiefly Peter Wilmoth’s wonderful Glad All Over — but you had to really be part of the Countdown generation to get the total impact and power of that ABC music’n’chat television show, which really did stop a nation every Sunday evening between 1974 and 1987. 

At 6pm the youth of Australia paused whatever they were doing, gathered around the television and waited for the words “COUNTDOWN… and tonight with your host Mollyyyyyyyyy Meldrum.” Then you would sit transfixed to see whose videos had made it, who was performing live, how many times Molly would say ‘um’ and ‘er’ and ‘do yourself a favour’. You would hate some artists and love others — but you would be glued to this fast paced, often train-wreck, hour of television. If you happened — heaven forbid — to miss a show, the first thing you’d ask at school the next morning was, “Who was on Countdown last night?” 

This show was the most powerful medium for popular music in the country. Prince Charles came on for an interview with Molly, Cold Chisel trashed the set at the conclusion of a performance at the Countdown Awards, Molly had exclusives with everyone. Often the conversations with Rod, or Elton or whoever it was that week, made virtually no sense; but you watched, you listened, you paid attention. Record labels would do anything — literally — to get their peeps on the show, which really came of age during the transition from black and white to colour television in this country in October 1974. Wonder why Australian artists became so visually orientated with their live shows? They had to embrace all the colour and visual aspects of performance for Countdown and colour broadcasts — and then they took it to the pubs and then to the world. 

Eventually Countdown came to an end. There were other music television shows of course — including the all-conquering MTV which arrived on Australian screens in April 1987. The ABC tried (and for a time partially succeeded with) The Countdown Revolution, best remembered for the time that hosts Mark Little and Tania Lacy went on strike while live-to-air on June 22, 1990 over all sorts of issues, most notably the policy of not allowing artists to perform live and insisting they mime to backing tracks. But really, no one remembers this version of Countdown. Not at all. 

Countdown was Molly Meldrum mumbling and stumbling, often ‘tired and emotional’, through the half hour show and world exclusive ‘interviews’. We remember the deluge of ABBA, John Paul Young (aka Squeak) as co-host, Iggy Pop calling Molly ‘dogface’, and the spats with Elton and Rod — all of that. Countdown was of a time and place. Never again will one television show carry that much weight, power and influence. Stars were made on Sunday evenings in that thirty minutes of glorious mayhem. Never before, and certainly never again, has the most important issue of the day been who was on a pop music TV show the previous evening.

Words by Stuart Coupe

Yothu Yindi

Yothu Yindi Prove Trailblazers for First Nations Music

Despite over forty thousand years of rich history, Indigenous Australian music existed outside the colonial consciousness until 1991. The fight for First Nations artists to break through gathered pace in the Eighties, as artists like Warumpi Band and Coloured Stone signed significant record deals. But it wasn’t until Yothu Yindi smashed through the barriers with their groundbreaking single “Treaty” that mainstream Australia began to embrace, and celebrate, First Nations music.

In 1988, then Prime Minister Bob Hawke was presented with The Barunga Statement from members of the Yolngu nation. The statement included demands for a treaty with First Nations people, which Hawke responded to with a promise to implement by 1990.

At the time, Yothu Yindi, formed by Yolngu and balanda (non-Indigenous) members, were on the rise, with their big break coming with an invitation to tour with Midnight Oil through the US in 1988. Signing with Mushroom Records upon their return, they released their debut album, Homeland Movement, in 1989.

“Treaty” was written by the band, along with Paul Kelly, in response to the 1990 deadline approaching with no action from the government — creating a powerful musical statement. The song was released to little fanfare, until being remixed by Melbourne duo Filthy Lucre; who took elements of the largely rock-based tune and turned it into a dancefloor smash.

The track broke new ground, becoming the first song with English and Yolngu lyrics to hit the ARIA Charts, peaking at Number Eleven. The video depicted the band members’ traditional dance and culture, giving non-Indigenous Australia a unique window into the world of remote First Nations communities.

The album Tribal Voice was released later that year, becoming a Top Five hit and breaking ground in the US, where they signed to Hollywood Records and peaked at Number Three on the Billboard World Music chart. 

“Treaty” was voted Song of the Year at the 1991 APRA Awards, received the Human Rights Commission’s Award for both Songwriting and Record of the Year, and Best Australian Single at the ARIA Awards. The video won Best Australian Video at the Australian Music Awards and the MTV International Awards. Singer Dr M. Yunupingu was honoured with the title of Australian of the Year in 1993 based on the significance of the band’s historical achievements.

Yothu Yindi’s legacy continued with many more albums, while the band’s record for highest-selling Indigenous album was eventually broken by Yothu Yindi member Gurrumul’s 2008 eponymous solo album, continuing the strong Yolgnu influence on Australian music. 

In 2009 “Treaty” was added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia registry for historically important works.

In 2022, with artists like The Kid LAROI, Baker Boy and Jessica Mauboy now staples on radio airwaves, it’s impossible to downplay the significance of “Treaty” in normalising Black voices and stories in mainstream music. We are no further on our journey towards treaty, and the unfair burdens still being carried by today’s First Nations artists are significant. Despite this, the success of contemporary First Nations talent would not be possible without the doors, and minds, that were opened by Yothu Yindi.

Words by Stephen Green


Helen Reddy’s Feminist Anthem Paves Way for Women

Helen Reddy’s 1970s track “I Am Woman” helped redefine how women could be talked about and — more importantly — how they could talk about, and express, themselves. 

Reddy said she wrote it because she felt she had to — there were no empowering songs that accurately reflected the grit, determination and strength of the women she knew. 

Instead, the songs about womanhood that she was exposed to were about being pretty, or about being deservedly downtrodden. 

Women needed to be heard, and the opening lyrics “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore” inspired a movement and a moment. 

Now in 2022, with all that’s happened with women’s liberation — and all that still needs to be done — it seems obvious that a song with the lyrics “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman”, would inspire a movement and continue to ignite passion today. 

In reality though, the track wasn’t an immediate smash in the early 1970s when it was released. It was a long, slow roar, building a legacy over decades.

The song featured on Reddy’s debut album, but she believed it “was not hit-single material” and recalled that it got no immediate airplay. 

Despite the seeming lack of commercial success, Reddy would play it as the opening song at live shows and it was regularly referred to in fan mail. 

Then, it was used in the opening credits of Hollywood comedy Stand Up and Be Counted, and Reddy was asked to add more meat to the song so it could be released as a single. 

Reddy started performing the track on television, and then the grit, determination and strength of the women it inspired finally got the track some airplay.

Yet still, it wasn’t enough.

“I Am Woman” bounced in and out of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US between June and September 1972. 

Finally, in December of that year, it reached Number One, making it the first chart-topper for Capitol Records since Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 hit “Ode to Billie Joe”. It was also the first US Number One from an Australian-born artist. 

And in 1973, Reddy was awarded a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, again another trailblazing moment as she was the first Australian to do so. 

Famously, although not uncommon at award ceremonies, Reddy took the time to thank God. Her stint on stage stands out, however, for her use of the female pronoun when referencing the deity, noting “I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.”

Despite its legacy, perhaps it’s lucky that Reddy was unaware the impact the song would have.

“I had no idea what the song was destined to become,” she said in the early Noughties. “If I’d known, I would have been far too intimidated to have written it.” 

Well, thank the (female) God that she did. 

Words by Vivienne Kelly 

Darenote Ltd. 2020


Kylie Minogue Hailed as Australia’s Queen of Pop

Soap star, fashion idol, cancer survivor, gay icon, dancefloor diva, music mogul; and Aussie ambassador to the world. Kylie Minogue is Australia’s reigning queen of pop, and popular culture. In fact, the only continent Kylie hasn’t performed in is Antarctica. The Melbourne-born girl-next-door has sold more than eighty million records globally, cementing Minogue as the highest-selling Australian-born solo artist of all time.

The true-blue trendsetter has been smashing records since her on-screen wedding to Scott (played by Jason Donovan) on the top-rating Aussie soap, Neighbours. Two million Australians and twenty million Brits were glued to television screens to watch the unmissable episode on July 28, 1987. The chemistry between Minogue and Donovan was electric, helped in part by their behind-the-scenes romance. Neighbours was the launchpad for a five decade career spanning music, film, television, fashion and more. A brand in her own right, Minogue has put her Kylie stamp on everything from water and wine to fashion and fragrances. Best estimates put her net worth at about $120 million.

But it was the role of Charlene on Neighbours that perfectly parachuted Minogue into the hearts and minds of a new adoring international fanbase with the “TV wedding of the year”, which was swiftly followed by the commercial release of her debut single “Locomotion” after signing to the late and great Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Records. “Locomotion” became the best-selling single of the decade in Australia, and went on to summit the world’s top pop charts. A superstar was born.

Minogue was embraced by many, but especially gay men. Her hits remain playlist staples in LGBTQIA+ bars and nightclubs around the world, where drag artists impersonate her and gogo dancers in gold hot pants bring songs like “Love at First Sight” and “Better the Devil You Know” to life (the latter of which is played every Saturday night at 12:30am at London’s famous G-A-Y club). Kylie has reciprocated her love of the community, one that has stood by her through both good and hard times, by advocating for underrepresented communities. Her performances at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party in 1994, 1998 and 2012 are legendary.

Also legendary are Minogue’s many collaborations.

Her first was a duet with Donovan in 1988. “Especially For You” sold more than a million copies in Britain alone and topped the charts across Europe and Australia. Minogue’s most debated musical hookup arrived seven years later on the Top Forty British television show Top of the Pops in 1995. Surrounded by Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”  — the lead single from Cave’s ninth studio album — was introduced by Kylie as “something very special”. It was also very controversial, the convergence of two stars from alternate musical universes was groundbreaking. As two worlds collided, the incongruous pairing proved prolific. It paved the way for more genre-crossing and culture-defining moments in music, and gave Minogue another run atop the world’s pop charts. 

Words by Jake Challenor


triple j Goes National

There are many seminal moments in the history of triple j. 

The station (then known as Double J) launched in Sydney in 1975 with a song that had never been played on radio before: “You Just Like Me ‘Cause I’m Good in Bed” by Australian outfit Skyhooks. 

Its creative and cheeky cultural decisions didn’t stop there. 

In 1989, it was the only radio station willing to play N.W.A’s expletive-laden “Fuck Tha Police”. 

triple j may have been a counterculture station looking to expose young music fans to diversified music, genres, artists and ideas, but influential forces from politicians to the actual police weren’t having a bar of it.

The song ended up being banned and a staffer was stood down. Then, there was a protest in which another N.W.A song, “Express Yourself”, was played on the station for 24-hours as part of some innovative “industrial action”. 

The late Eighties and early Nineties also saw the station launch the Hottest 100 Countdown and make a concerted push beyond the NSW capital.  

In 1989 — the same year as the “Fuck Tha Police” standoff — the station began moving into the markets of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle and Perth. 

And by 1996 it was broadcasting around Australia to more remote locations including Alice Springs, Rockhampton and Kalgoorlie. 

With this rollout, and the increasing cultural importance of the Hottest 100 Countdown, triple j became one of the most important and influential platforms for new Australian music. To this day, artists including Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, Amy Shark, and the Hilltop Hoods have credited the station for giving their tracks a run; ultimately leading to their breakout success. 

While debates raged about whether the station has a “Sydney bias” — or indeed, as others have argued, an “anti-Sydney bias” as part of an overcorrection — triple j continued to shape and influence the regions. 

Dr. Kate Ames studied triple j’s impact on regional audiences for her doctorate, and she told writer, journalist and researcher Ben Eltham that the station allowed listeners to mentally leave the remote areas they lived in. 

“triple j creates this sense of a virtual world that sits above where something is located, it brings people together with a love of music, with a sense of being a little different,” she said in 2009. 

Eltham himself said the station is a “strange hybrid” which occupies “an uncomfortable middle ground between its commercial and community radio cousins”. Nevertheless, he contended that despite its flaws, the constant raging debates about triple j — whether it’s adequately serving its audience, its place in the cultural landscape, its obligations to its target demographic, and, of course, whether the Number One song on the Hottest 100 is “deserving” each year — actually only enshrines the network’s importance and significance. 

triple j’s national rollout enabled it to bring controversy, culture and cheek to the nation’s youth. It plays more Australian music than its commercial counterparts. It’s a career launchpad. 

And as the station itself said when celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2005: “Thumbing the nose at the sensors has always been a bit of a tradition at The Js. Yea, it’s about being cheeky, but it’s also about pushing boundaries and buttons. Popular music has always been an easy target for the moral majority, and trawling back through the triple j playlists is an indication of what’s been considered offensive over the years. Generally, if it offends, we’ve played it.” 

Words by Vivienne Kelly


Global #MeToo Movement Reaches Australian Music Industry

Like most revolutions, the Australian music industry’s reckoning on the inappropriate treatment of women began with a trickle, or perhaps a number of trickles, before it became a flood.

It is hard to pinpoint the moment the reckoning truly began. Various stories of inappropriate behaviour from artists and executives alike had appeared in the years since the #MeToo movement began. But, the near-simultaneous arrival of Jaguar Jonze’s quiet revelation of her alleged sexual assault on Twitter and Instagram, Michelle Pitiris calling out Bigsound and QMusic for their failure to act on allegations of sexual assault — social media posts that earned her a concerns notice from lawyers representing the organisation — and the appearance of the Instagram account @BeneathTheGlassCeiling were certainly the holes in the dam wall that caused the damage that would eventually see it crumble.

On November 26, 2020, Beneath The Glass Ceiling posted its first anonymised account of inappropriate workplace behaviour against a young music industry intern at the hands of a record label executive.

“I quickly learned there are no rules in the music industry […] there was a constant blurring of boundaries fuelled by alcohol, drugs and late nights — perpetuating the toxic culture of bullying, assault and mismanagement.”

The post went on to recount the grooming behaviour of the executive before the young intern was pressured into taking drugs at a work event.

It was the first of hundreds of accounts that were posted in the lead up to the industry’s greatest reckoning — the dismissal of Denis Handlin.

The music industry’s toxic culture was an open secret. In fact, a podcast that would be released in the wake of the crisis unfolding was saliently titled Everybody Knows.

Penetrating the notoriously secretive, defensive and legally sensitive music industry wasn’t an easy task, and many journalists had been trying to break through for years.

The posts came flooding in. The industry’s poorly kept secret was starting to become public and, what was more, the culture at one particular record label was in tight focus. For those who knew, the bulk of the allegations aired on Beneath The Glass Ceiling were happening at Sony Music Australia.

Suddenly, cracks were appearing in the impenetrable walls around the music industry. Victims who had previously been too afraid to speak were speaking — albeit under pseudonyms and anonymised accounts through fear of reprisals.

The first to fall was Tony Glover, a senior executive at Sony Music who had allegedly bullied and harassed junior staff at the label, and he was subsequently sacked. Those close to Glover described his offending as minor and that he was a sacrificial lamb — used to distract from the real issues at the heart of one of the biggest record companies in the country.

If that were true, Sony couldn’t have been more wrong. The dismissal of Glover emboldened victims to speak louder and eventually the rage reached head office in New York. An internal investigation began, then an external investigation.

It wasn’t enough. On June 21, 2021, Sony Music’s global boss sent a note to staff announcing Handlin was leaving the company effective immediately. The next day Handlin’s son Pat and his HR boss Mark Stebnicki were stood down pending the investigation — they would later leave without explanation, although there is no suggestion they were accused of any wrongdoing. Later, Australian artist marketing boss Wayne Ringrow would also be gone. 

The trickle became a flood and the most powerful man in Australian music was washed away with it. 

Weeks later Universal Music also faced its own reckoning, although the stop/start nature of their investigations has seen little action or change. 

The dismissal of Denis Handlin was enough to make the music industry itself finally take action. A panel was hastily assembled to explore ways to address the issue and more than a year after Handlin’s departure — a review was released that found high rates of bullying and harassment in the Australian music industry.

The findings came as no surprise. Again, everybody knows.

Some of the worst stories in the industry remain untold. For decades Australian music protected itself by paying victims large sums of money, ensuring they kept quiet with onerous non-disclosure agreements. 

Elsewhere, perpetrators are allowed to continue making music and creating new victims because they are surrounded by a powerful team of protectors who threaten and intimidate victims into silence, further perpetuating their trauma and creating space for poor behaviour to continue.

While Australian music may have had its #MeToo moment, whether that results in any kind of meaningful change or just more hand-wringing and pearl clutching remains to be seen.

Words by Nathanael Cooper


INXS Pack London’s Wembley Stadium

INXS have enjoyed many, many highlights in their illustrious career. But ask the surviving members to name just one moment that looms large in their consciousness and they’ll likely remember their headline performance at Wembley Stadium in the UK to 74,000 deliriously ecstatic fans. It was a moment that cemented them as one of the biggest, and most popular, bands on the planet.

INXS had already filled Wembley Arena at an earlier show in 1990. That was kids stuff for the juggernaut that they had become. The Stadium was the real game. The Kick album had come out in 1987 and had gone ballistic. They followed that with X in 1990; and the band was unstoppable. And on July 13, 1991, they really brought it home as part of the Stadium’s Summer X series of shows when they performed, enthralled, and conquered the assembled masses. 

This represented the last major world music market to capitulate to all things INXS. It was a journey that had begun in the hard and unforgiving pub circuit in Sydney. The search for world domination had initially focused on North America (which by now they’d conquered), but the UK had always been problematic. In fact in July 1986 Queen had invited them to be a lower card addition to the bill at Wembley Stadium. The legions of Queen fans hadn’t taken to INXS at all, using them as target practice with bread, tomatoes and all manner of objects. This time was different — INXS were the main game, and Michael Hutchence and his merry men swaggered, soared, grooved and rocked their way into legend.. The UK was theirs. Next stop? Outer space, baby.

Words by Stuart Coupe


Keith Urban Takes Country Music to Pop Radio

It takes a special kind of musical genius to win over country radio and the mainstream in simultaneous procession. But if anyone was up to the challenge it was Keith Urban. His hard-won formative years spent as a songwriter in Nashville nurtured all the right relationships, although he’s admitted it stunted his creativity. There he was, in a small room with a yellow legal pad and an acoustic guitar, when what he really wanted to be doing was writing songs using a drum machine. 

Keith Urban transcended the traditional frontiers of country music long before his genre-fluid record Fuse in 2013, but it took careful calculation when it came to releasing singles. Speaking to Rolling Stone AU/NZ in 2021 for his cover story, Urban said he would earmark the singles for country radio and expand out and play with the others, knowing they wouldn’t have a shot in hell with country radio gatekeepers. But other radio executives were listening, and they helped turn Keith Urban into a music industry powerhouse.

His collaborations with acts like P!nk, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Amy Shark, Jason Derulo, and Julia Michaels certainly helped; as did his records Graffiti U (Number Two on the Billboard 200) and The Speed of Now Part 1, the latter of which marked his fourth simultaneous Number One album debut in the US, Canada and Australia.

With four Grammy wins, nineteen more nominations, five ARIA Awards, twenty-four country Number One hits and global Number One albums, Keith Urban is undoubtedly Australia’s most successful country-crossover export. 

Words by Poppy Reid

Photo by Lani Louise


Uncle Archie Roach Enters Hall of Fame

When Uncle Archie Roach AM was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2020, rapper Briggs spoke about the way the Gunditjmara and Bundjalung man took “his story, vulnerability, his heart, and made it art.”

For thirty years Roach used the power of his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics to create a stronger, more culturally respectful national story — one that didn’t shy away from the harsh truths of colonisation. 

In particular, “Took The Children Away” — from his 1990 debut album Charcoal Lane — became an anthem for members of the Stolen Generations. Written from experience, it is arguably Roach’s most famous song, and the first song ever to receive an Australian Human Rights Award.

It’s this song that Roach performed on the night, alongside fellow singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, who co-produced Charcoal Lane.

Due to illness and an inability to travel, Roach and his family gathered at the Lighthouse Theatre in his hometown of Warrnambool, where he sang seated and breathing through a nasal cannula. While it may have been a confronting sight for some, as the song built and the vibrato of Roach’s voice kicked in, it was clear the power of his music continued to hold true.

His induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame highlighted the trailblazing nature of Roach’s career similar to those of Uncle Jimmy Little and Yothu Yindi, and honoured the immense influence the singer had on Australia’s music industry; inspiring Indigenous artists to follow the path he had forged.

Capping the night off perfectly, Roach also took home Best Adult Contemporary and Best Male for his album Tell Me Why.

Words by Rudi Bremer

Photo by Giulia McGuaran


Tones And I Dances to New Heights

Every so often, a hit explodes out of Australia and crosses borders like a virus. Nothing has ever been quite so catchy as “Dance Monkey”. The 2019 creation of Tones And I, the alter-ego of singer and songwriter Toni Watson, “Dance Monkey” spread wide and crashed sales charts everywhere, smashing numerous records along the way. 

In the United Kingdom, the world’s third largest recorded music market, “Dance Monkey” logged eleven weeks at Number One, a record for a solo female artist. And in Australia, the single dominated the ARIA Singles Chart for a gobsmacking twenty-four non-consecutive weeks, easily rubbing out the fifteen weeks Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” had spent in the penthouse. In the United States, the biggest music market on the planet, Tones ruled Billboard’s Hot 100 Songwriters chart and went to Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100 — something that Nick Cave, Midnight Oil or even AC/DC have come close to achieving. Everyone was watching this beast unfold.

“It was crazy,” recounts Konstantin Kersting, producer of “Dance Monkey”. “Tones and I were texting, saying, ‘Have you seen where it’s at?’ No one expected it to happen.”

Its journey began when Watson, from the Mornington Peninsula, took her talents up and down the east coast of Australia, initially as a busker. Her story grew when she was discovered in Byron Bay. The rest is history.

When “Dance Monkey” finally cooled off, it had raced past seven billion streams and led charts in about thirty territories. It’s now recognised as the most-“Shazamed” song ever, and the third-most streamed song on Spotify. Tones has hinted at retiring “Dance Monkey” from live sets, closing the chapter on one of the all-time hits.

Words by Lars Brandle


John Butler’s Independence Starts a New Trend

Independent labels had been a staple of the Australian music scene since the Seventies, but in most cases (with some exceptions to the rule like Mushroom, Regular and Roo Art) had existed in the shadows, championing great alternative music and taking an important, but commercially secondary role. 

Even less prevalent were artist-owned successes. With some exceptions (including Nineties pioneers, relaxation musician Tony O’Connor and Sydney alt-rock act The Whitlams), grabbing a place on the ARIA Charts as a completely independent artist was once an unachievable goal. 

The major labels’ stranglehold on independent commercial success was broken in 2004 by an unlikely dread-locked busker from Fremantle. John Butler not only opened the gates for a generation of Australian folk-rock artists but changed the commercial model forever with his album Sunrise Over Sea

No longer was signing to a label a necessity if you wanted a music career, it was a choice. 

The John Butler Trio smashed the indie glass ceiling with this third album, becoming the first independent artist ever to hit Number One on the ARIA Albums Chart with his five-times Platinum smash. Casting aside the rule that you can’t get on the radio or into big-box record stores without a major label, Butler conspired with his manager Phil Stevens and MGM Distribution’s Sebastian Chase to create a plan for Butler’s own Jarrah Records that valued fan engagement and artistic control. The plan worked and has been used as a template for countless artists since, landing him at the chart’s summit — a feat he would repeat three more times (and counting) in his incredible career. 

Words by Stephen Green

Photo by Oliver Minnett


Channel [V] Launches With Gusto

Channel [V] helped beam live music and all its character, culture and craziness into Australian living rooms. 

For twenty-five years, from 1995 until the station was switched off in 2020, it lifted the profile of local and international musicians, gave young TV and media stars their start, staged a host of impressive live events for fans, and brought some unparalleled loose moments to our screens. 

In that sense it was more about creating moments and music than it was about the fact these moments and music were on television. 

“We don’t work in the television industry. We work in the music industry… with a music-first attitude,” Danny Keenan, the decade-long head of artist and music relations for Foxtel’s music channels, told The Music Network as the channel was reaching its final days. 

“From day one, [V] had a reputation of being rebellious, being cheeky, being bold, being adventurous and being massive supporters of Australian music.

“We always sought to create moments. I hope people will remember us fondly for that.” 

And there were memorable moments aplenty; Regurgitator recording an album under the watchful eyes of the public in Melbourne’s Federation Square (billed as Band In A Bubble); The Ele[V]ator bar, hanging fifty metres above the crowds at Soundwave and Homebake; a series of unannounced Guerilla Gigs (giving fans their first Australian Ed Sheeran performance); and the infamous [V] Island parties, attracting headliners like Mark Ronson, Macklemore and Delta Goodrem to floating performances on Sydney Harbour.

As former host Osher Günsberg (then Andrew G) said: “We worked our balls off. We partied hard and then we worked some more. It was incredible fun.” 

Words by Vivienne Kelly


Tina Arena Schools the Industry on Ageism, Radio Quotas & More

Never underestimate a woman with decades of longevity in her career who has been given the attention of her industry gatekeepers.

Tina Arena has never been one to waste an opportunity, and when the record labels association ARIA made the unsurprising decision to honour her with an induction into its Hall of Fame in 2015, the significance of the moment — captive audience included — was not lost on Our Tina.

Following an electrifying performance of her seminal single “Chains” — backed by her feminist torchbearers Jessica Mauboy and The Veronicas — Tina Arena took the stage to deliver her speech. It started out predictably enough, Arena thanked her family, her collaborators, management, Sony, EMI publishing, Gudinski and Chugg, APRA AMCOS, Rina Ferris, Molly Meldrum… The supporters and path-makers of her forty-year career were all present and all honoured with an air of class and gratitude — as is the Tina Arena way. 

Later in the speech (as is also the Tina Arena way), she used the same sense of class and gratitude to make a grand statement on the most pressing issues of the time; issues that, seven years later, remain largely unchanged.

Arena subversively touched on the gender pay gap and difficulty for mothers in music when discussing the birth of her son Gabriel: “Like most working mothers,” she said, “when returning to work I was faced with an uncertainty […] I was worried about whether I would still be accepted in the pop world.”

She also called out streaming services’ pitiful remuneration of content creators: “Please respect the arts because without the arts we are really all screwed.” 

But it was the precision and strength she used when calling out Australian music’s ageism issue that made headlines. She implored commercial radio “to continue to support Australian music and base your playlists on the quality of the song and not the age of the artist […]. Don’t meet quotas because you have to, exceed them because you really want to,” she stated. 

After naming a few of the countless female icons adding value and wonder to music — one of which was Kylie Minogue, who was standing proud next to her onstage — she said pointedly: “Ladies over forty, we will decide when it’s time for us to stop, thank you.”

It behoves us to remember that Tina Arena was the first woman to be awarded ARIA Album of the Year, in her words she was “one of the first ethnic children on Australian TV”, and she’s also one of Australia’s highest-selling acts. When Tina talks, we listen. However, in this instance, with all her wisdom passed down, I think she’d prefer us to act.

Words by Poppy Reid

Photo Courtesy of Capitol Records


Little River Band Storms America

Long before AC/DC, INXS, and Men at Work had chart success in the USA, a little-known band named after a road sign in regional Victoria set the precedent for that rock’n’roll dream. 

Little River Band might be from Melbourne, but they officially formed in 1975 while in England. It was during this time they met Brisbane-born manager Glenn Wheatley who took them from underground to mainstream in four years. They got a record label deal in Australia with EMI and signed with Capitol Records in the USA by 1979. 

Known for their signature West Coast harmonies and love of melody, Wheatley had plans for the band to tour the USA — which they did in November 1976. He had cut his teeth as a musician in The Masters Apprentices before he moved into band management and knew what it took to get a career rolling overseas. Regardless of their hankering to make it abroad, the essence of what they did was quintessentially Australian — they wrote, recorded and produced their music in Australia and took it to the world. “It’s A Long Way There”, taken from their debut self-titled album, made it to Number Twenty-Eight on the Billboard Charts — a taste of what was possible. The second single “Help Is On Its Way” made it to Number Fourteen on the Billboard Charts. They managed six US Top Ten singles including “Reminiscing”, “Lady”, “Lonesome Loser” and “Cool Change” thereafter — with “Reminiscing” one of the most played songs on American radio. The band’s original members — guitarists Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble, singer Glenn Shorrock and drummer Derek Pellicci were described by Eagles member Glenn Frey as one of the ‘best singing bands in the world’. They went on to sell more than twenty-five million records worldwide and were nominated for a Grammy in 1979 for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group alongside Barbra Streisand, Supertramp and Neil Diamond. 

Regularly touring the US from Australia proved costly, and in 1982, Glenn Shorrock decided to pursue a solo career. At the height of their careers in the late Seventies, the Australian band was among the world’s most successful rock groups, and by 1983 had secured thirteen hits in the American Top Forty. They created the template of what was possible. 

Words by Jane Rocca

Photo by Fin Costello


AC/DC Swoon Swanston Street

Were you there? In Australian rock’n’roll folklore it’s a little like walking along Savile Row in London early on the morning of January 30, 1969. You hear the sound of music playing, wonder where the noise is coming from, look up and there’s The Beatles performing. The Australian equivalent was on February 23, 1976, on Swanston Street in Melbourne, and that noise was AC/DC. 

You might have been on your way to or from Flinders Street station, doing some shopping or getting a coffee, and suddenly there appeared a flatbed truck driving slowly down busy Swanston Street in the centre of Melbourne. There are musicians on the back, but no one knows who they are; just five guys from a comparatively new Sydney band on a visit to Melbourne to record some video footage for the Countdown television show — the most important exposure any artist could get in the day. The song — as everyone now knows – is the signature anthem “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”. 

What do you remember? The amazing guitar intro from Malcolm Young? Just how youthful they looked? How happy, relaxed and unpressured they seemed? The parade would mark the calm before the storm — Angus in his schoolboy uniform before it was ubiquitous, the swagger of the slightly older Bon Scott before he paraded it across global stages, and the moment bagpipes became truly cool (a round of applause for The Rats Of Tobruk Pipe band -— Alan Butterworth, Les Kenfield and Kevin Conlon).

The video cost just $380. It was directed by Paul Drane and filmed by David Olney. To date it’s been viewed by almost forty million people on YouTube alone and remains one of the most well-known pieces of footage in Australian rock’n’roll history. 

Just over a decade later, in 1988, AC/DC would become one of the first artists inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame along with Dame Joan Sutherland, Johnny O’Keefe, Vanda & Young, Slim Dusty and Col Joye. In 2003 they received the same accolade in the international Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame where they were inducted by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. 

These days AC/DC are so much a part of the fabric of popular culture that it’s hard to imagine that time in 1976 when that huge, massive global success still awaited them. That moment when they sang a song about wanting it all and knowing the pitfalls that awaited in the search for stardom. That snapshot in time as they paraded youthfully through the streets of Melbourne, five young guys with a head full of dreams — and three bagpipe players.

Words by Stuart Coupe


Gurrumul: The Legacy of a Lifetime

At the time of Gurrumul Yunupingu’s death in 2017 he was the most commercially successful Indigenous Australian musician, having sold an estimated half a million albums globally. 

However, Yunupingu’s importance as a cultural figure in Australia goes beyond commercial success. 

As an artist he represented an authentically Australian voice (Rolling Stone Australia even hailed the singer as the country’s “most important voice” in 2017) while simultaneously transcending any attempt to categorise him as such.

Formerly a member of Yothu Yindi and Saltwater Band, Yunupingu released his first solo album in 2008. The eponymous record, released through Skinnyfish Music and produced by longtime friend and collaborator Michael Hohnen, became a sensation.

On the album, Yunupingu sang predominantly in Gumatj, Galpu and Djambarrpuyngu, his angelic voice capturing ideas of identity, spirit, connection with the land, the elements, and ancestors. 

It was in this way, more than any other mode, that his fans (including the likes of Elton John, will.i.am, Quincy Jones, and Stevie Wonder) came to learn about and understand the singer.

Former frontman of The Police, Sting, was also a fan, and a month into Yunupingu’s 2009 European tour the English singer invited Yunupingu to perform a duet of “Every Breath You Take” for French television.

Robert Hillman’s biography, Gurrumul: His Life and Music, captures the moment brilliantly — including Yunupingu’s bemusement at the idea of a blind man singing the lyrics “watching you.” Instead, he would sing “Every word you say, I’ll be listening to you” joking “cos I won’t be watching you!” as he practised the song in his hotel room.

In 2018, Yunupingu’s posthumous album Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) debuted on the ARIA Albums Chart at Number One, making it the first album in an Indigenous language to achieve the feat, and at the 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards he was inducted into the NIMAs Hall of Fame.

Words by Rudi Bremer


The Story of ‘Whispering Jack’

The late record producer and talent manager Glenn Wheatley re-mortgaged his family home in Melbourne to finance the making of John Farnham’s iconic mid-Eighties comeback album Whispering Jack. At the time, Farnham couldn’t secure a record deal to make an album. While it had been almost twenty years since he recorded and released the hit single “Sadie, the Cleaning Lady” in 1967, Farnham was typecast as a pop star with teen idol appeal. His squeaky-clean reputation wasn’t inspiring the labels to give him an advance, and they didn’t see a future for him as a contemporary adult star.  

Wheatley was quietly confident that Farnham could rebrand, and took his ambition to make an album seriously. The pair met when Wheatley asked him to join as singer of the Little River Band in 1982 — recording three albums when Glenn Shorrock left the group. That didn’t end well for Farnham, but it certainly inspired the next phase of his artistry. His heyday as a Seventies pop star might have withered, and nobody in the record company world was keen on resurrecting him with a new sound — but Wheatley had a different plan, and $150,000 to make it happen. Theirs is a story about a friendship built on trust and self-belief; both of their careers depended on that gutsy move in 1985.  

It took eighteen months to make Whispering Jack, and when it was released, it spent twenty-five weeks at Number One in Australia. It became the best charting album in the 1980s and was the first album ever released to CD format. “You’re The Voice” is as close as it gets to an Australian national anthem, and nobody else kept Michael Jackson away from the Number One spot on the Australian charts like Farnham did.    

The success of Whispering Jack kickstarted a contemporary pop career for Farnham, who against all odds, proved he had what it took. Just as notably, it launched a thirty-eight year management relationship with Wheatley (thirty-five of those years without a contract) — one of the most enduring and successful partnerships in popular music history.

Words by Jane Rocca


Screaming Success: Jimmy Barnes Rocks the Charts

Jimmy Barnes has been winning the chart game for over five decades. The indefatigable rocker has amassed the most Number Ones in Australian chart history, fourteen as a solo artist and five with his band Cold Chisel — an unassailable achievement in the streaming era.

The Working Class Man remains one of the hardest-working musicians in Australia, and in 2022 he maintained his grip on the record with the release of Soul Deep 30, claiming his nineteenth Number One album, strengthening his dominance on top of the ARIA Number Ones leaderboard ahead of international legends including The Beatles (14), Madonna (12), U2 (11) and Eminem (11).

Barnes is that rare artist with the power to refresh his audience across the generations; how else to explain the 30th anniversary reissue of his 1991 Soul Deep album returning to the ARIA Charts summit three decades after it sold more than 700,000 copies — ten-times Platinum in Australia — to become the biggest-selling album of his career?

That 1991 release was a huge gamble. Barnes had commanded the airwaves, and commandeered the prime real estate in Australia’s retail stores, with four solo rock’n’roll records released in quick succession after Cold Chisel disbanded in 1983, and Soul Deep was his passion project paying tribute to the Sixties R&B songs and singers who had inspired him to pursue a music career.

His partner-in-crime, Mushroom supremo Michael Gudinski, expressed some reservations about the stylistic detour; soul music had traditionally struggled for support from the industry gatekeepers at commercial radio. But as always, Gudinski backed his mate and Soul Deep remains the highest-selling record in Mushroom’s rich history.

While it may seem a Number One album by Jimmy Barnes is a fait accompli, there were some lean years in the Nineties. His late label boss Warren Costello would acknowledge this when the Flesh and Blood record debuted at Number One last year, displacing teen stream-queen Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour.

“Some of the best A&R decisions back then were taken by MG and Jimmy as they clocked up the first two decades of international touring and chart dominance for a raft of solo albums that followed,” Costello said.

“And whilst ego was never in short supply, they were never ever naïve enough to think that Number One albums grew on trees. In the late Nineties that same level of success became a little more elusive, as it does at some point in every great career, but typically, Jimmy fought back as he always does. 

“His first album for the new label, Liberation, that Michael and I had started, saw him back bigger and better than ever. Double Happiness debuted at Number One in 2005 and was a catalyst in many ways for all of us to refocus.”

Words by Kathy McCabe


Australian Idol Hits the Small Screen

Australian Idol arrived in mid-2003 at a time of upheaval for the music industry. 

A new generation of consumers were tech-savvy enough to independently unearth new acts without guidance from labels, and brand-dazzled enough to not have an issue with greater corporatisation and multi-million dollar cross-industry deals.

Colourful and sharp, an important ingredient about Australian Idol was a focus on the wannabe’s journey, starting — inevitably — with a personal trauma that led to ‘music as therapy’. 

It was a ratings bonanza, putting music before a prime time audience of millions. The first grand final surpassed three million viewers.

Previously unknown or overlooked, the likes of Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll, Jessica Mauboy, Casey Donovan, Damien Leith, Stan Walker, Courtney Act, Rob Mills, Cosima De Vito, and Anthony Callea became household names with chart-topping records, and in record time.

Network Ten paid $13 million for each season — but the show was a cash cow. In 2003, viewers cast twenty million votes through text messages or phone calls to support their favourite Idol, making an estimated $11 million for Ten and Telstra. The second season drew twenty-nine million votes and $16 million.

Blue chip sponsors like Telstra, McDonald’s, Mazda, Village Roadshow, Procter & Gamble and Cadbury each paid $3.4 million a season, according to the AFR.

But the varying depth of the talent pool, format fatigue, and competition from other TV talent shows played havoc with ratings.

Channel 10 finally pulled the plug after just 1.4 million bothered to tune into the 2009 finale. 

Australian Idol returns in 2023 on Channel 7.

Words by Christie Eliezer


Savage Garden Soundtracks the New Millennium

Orchestrating some of Australia’s most iconic pop moments of the late Nineties and early Noughties that have since stood the test of time, Savage Garden became a prime example of Australian export success. 

Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones, with their undeniable synergy as songwriters, made Savage Garden a worldwide name off the back of their chart-busting, self-titled debut album in 1997. Songs like “I Want You” and “To The Moon and Back” established the duo as a breath of fresh air, though with the release of “Truly Madly Deeply”, Savage Garden enjoyed a new flavour of success that their label was quick to taste more of. 

Enter “I Knew I Loved You” a song Hayes has described as being written ‘out of spite’ towards their label, who pushed for a worthy successor to “Truly Madly Deeply”. Initially convinced that a song like “Truly Madly Deeply” couldn’t be replicated in terms of its essence and impact, Savage Garden penned “I Knew I Loved You” to be featured on their sophomore record, Affirmation another record littered with moments of pop perfection, released in 1999. 

A love ballad that perfectly captures the inescapable feeling of falling hopelessly in love, “I Knew I Loved You” struck a chord with audiences all over; but in the North American market specifically, it became the highest played song on US radio for the year 2000. The track reinforced Savage Garden’s international staying power and bolstered the group’s legacy, still adored and respected the world over today.

Words by Sosefina Fuamoli

Photo by Tony Mott


1995: A Golden Year for Silverchair 

1995 was a banner year for Silverchair. Months before the release of their globally acclaimed debut album, the three salty-haired fifteen-year-olds caused pandemonium at the national Big Day Out festival that January.

Off the back of their entry-point, the wildly successful grunge-era single “Tomorrow”, the band were deliberately booked to play one of the festival’s smaller side stages in the middle of the afternoon.

The scarcity-induced knock-on effect meant punters in Sydney climbed poles to get a better view of Silverchair’s set, and in Melbourne, a roof collapsed from revellers jumping on top of it. 

At the time, Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou had a binary view of media: tabloid magazines, papers, and mainstream Australian television “sucked”, while music-focused outlets like triple j and Rolling Stone were “hell” (good). The trio turned down interviews with almost all non-music press. Silverchair weren’t interviewed on Australian television until 1997 when they gave Recovery the honour.

The move — a strategic one for management, less so for the band themselves — established legitimacy at a point in time where their age alone could have consigned them to the novelty bin.

The twelve months of 1995 became a top-to-tail highlight reel:

In January they were a Big Day Out high point. In March they became the first Australian band to achieve a local Number One with their debut album Frogstomp. In September they performed the globally-broadcast MTV Awards. 

In November, after refusing to perform their own songs at the ARIA Awards, they agreed to perform a cover of Radio Birdman’s “New Race” with Tim Rogers. And when they took out five of their nine nominated awards, the band refused to give an acceptance speech. Instead they sent seven-year-old Josh Shirley — who had a minor cameo on Frogstomp and was the son of the album’s producer Kevin Shirley — onstage to accept them. 

In December, Silverchair became the youngest ever band to perform on Saturday Night Live. Johns was barefoot wearing an Ammonia T-shirt — a band Silverchair inadvertently opened doors for as the global industry looked Down Under following the success of Frogstomp.

Silverchair’s runaway success that year may have been as much a necessity as it was management-manoeuvring; Johns had failed his oral speech assessment at school that year when he refused to present (and to this day he hates public speaking). But that spirit of selective exposure did wonders for public opinion; we didn’t just see them as ‘good for their age’, we saw them as skilful musicians on par with their contemporaries.

Words by Poppy Reid

TM & Copyright © 1977, 1998 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved


Olivia Newton-John Debuts on the Global Stage

Olivia Newton-John was already a bonafide superstar when she was sewn into the black spandex jumpsuit that made her an icon, yet it’s still almost impossible to separate Our Livvy from Sandy.

Newton-John had three Grammys under her belt, and was already playing in the same league as other superstars of the Seventies like Donna Summer and Diana Ross, when Grease came calling. Her breakout hit, “Let Me Be There” bagged her her first Grammy in the country music category, and “I Honestly Love You” — penned by fellow Australian Peter Allen — earned her the second and third.

The Seventies were good to Olivia Newton-John. She made her US TV debut on Dean Martin’s eponymous show and won the hearts of the most challenging market. “Let Me Be There” followed in 1973, and 1974 saw that success grow with “I Honestly Love You”. Four years later Grease, a role she had considered turning down, broke box office records and changed how the world saw Olivia Newton-John.

As the lush strings of “Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing” played underneath Newton-John and John Travolta frolicking in the sea, her position as a true global icon was cemented forever. 

She could have stopped there. That would have been enough. But decades of hits, including another Grammy for “Physical”, followed. As did her fundraising and advocacy for survivors of cancer. 

Olivia Newton-John was a true Australian icon who left an indelible mark on generations.

Word by Nathanael Cooper

Photo by Daniel Boud


Midnight Oil’s Political Statement at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

By 2000 there was a sense that ‘the time had come’.

Specifically, the time for the Australian government to apologise to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the violence of colonisation, including the forced removal of children which resulted in what is now known as the Stolen Generations.

Something that then-prime minister John Howard was adamantly refusing to do.

So when Midnight Oil took to the stage at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony to perform their politically charged signature song “Beds Are Burning”, they did so wearing black overalls prominently displaying the word “sorry”.

Earlier in the night, Nikki Webster and the Sing 2001 Choir had performed a song about humanity coming together as one, followed by Vanessa Amorosi’s Latin Mix of “Absolutely Everybody”.

With an estimated television audience of around one billion people tuning in globally (and John Howard himself in attendance) Midnight Oil were under intense pressure not to ruin the party, and crucially they had not sought approval from the International Olympic Committee ahead of the performance. 

The performance was a statement of protest in and of itself, but equally served as a pronounced segway into the final song of the night — Yothu Yindi’s “Treaty”.

Together the two bands drew on, and gave voice to, a growing national sentiment that had seen a quarter of a million people walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge calling for reconciliation. 

Words by Rudi Bremer

The Kid Laroi



The Kid LAROI Becomes the First Indigenous Australian Artist to Top Billboard’s Singles Chart

For a teenage hip hop fan who grew up in Sydney on a diet of Tupac, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, The Kid LAROI certainly knows how to bundle signpost career moments.

Charlton Howard bypassed local rites of passage to launch his career in the United States, thanks to a development deal with Sony Music. Before relocating from Waterloo to Hollywood in 2020, the Gadigal-born artist with Kamilaroi roots was mentored by Juice Wrld and inked an international label deal. In 2021, he had a record-breaking US Number One thanks to “Stay” with Justin Bieber. He’s since collaborated with the likes of Machine Gun Kelly and Post Malone, and became the highest placing Indigenous Australian artist in the history of triple j’s Hottest 100. 

One truism LAROI’s ascent has taught us is that timing is everything. While Australia had critically acclaimed hip hop primed and ready for a global takeover years prior to LAROI’s rise (Koolism, A.B. Original, Illy, Drapht, to name a few), the LA-based Grammy winner was able to stand on the shoulders of giants at a time when genres like emo-rap, trap and Southern hip hop were enjoying a moment. He tapped into the fast-spreading nature of internet culture and broke through with a worldwide sound.

Of all LAROI’s accolades, leaving aside the fact “Stay” hit Number One in twenty-two countries and has Diamond certification in France, there is one honour that sticks out above the rest. When his 2020-released mixtape F*ck Love climbed to the top of the Billboard 200 chart in 2021, it made him the first Australian act to get there since AC/DC in 2020 (with Power Up), and the first solo Australian since Sia debuted at the top with 2014’s 1000 Forms of Fear. But most crucially, it made The Kid LAROI the first Indigenous Australian artist to take the top spot on the world’s biggest chart stage.

As a proud Kamilaroi man, LAROI’s global career sends a strong message of triumph to his community back home. Beyond question, he is a teen phenomenon who is blazing a new trail for Indigenous Australian voices. 

Words by Poppy Reid

Delta Goodrem Innocent Eyes

Delta Goodrem’s ‘Innocent Eyes’ Era

Do you remember…?” is the iconic opening line from the title track of Delta Goodrem’s 2003 debut album Innocent Eyes

And given the enduring power of the record-breaking album, it would be hard to forget. 

Innocent Eyes spawned five Number One singles including the title track, “Born to Try”, “Lost Without You”, “Not Me, Not I”, and “Predictable”.

It was the highest-selling album in Australia in 2003, went fifteen-times Platinum and sent Goodrem’s star soaring well beyond that of the innocent schoolgirl, Nina Tucker, that she was playing on Neighbours at the time. 

Innocent Eyes was Number One on the ARIA Charts for twenty-nine consecutive weeks, breaking a record set by John Farnham’s Whispering Jack

Throughout the album’s enduring popularity in 2003, the singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, which tore her away from many promotional and performance opportunities and forced her to disappear from Neighbours

During her health struggles and treatment, she won seven ARIA Awards including Best Female Artist and was treated to a tribute onstage by Darren Hayes, which reduced her to tears. 

The near-faultless album defined Goodrem for a generation of Australians and spawned a community of loyal fans, who stick with her to this day. 

The album may be nineteen-years-old (older than Goodrem was when she released it), but its innocence, raw power, chart success, and legacy endures.

Words by Vivienne Kelly


The Seekers Become First Australian Band to Top the UK Chart

Given their cultural impact and era-defining legacy, it’s easy to forget that The Seekers, as a band, only dominated international airwaves for a few short years. In 1964, Athol Guy, Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Judith Durham set sail for the UK on something like a working holiday, strumming their way across the Atlantic. The plan was a ten-week whirlwind tour, organised by agent Eddie Jarrett, who booked them in clubs all over the UK. 

On that trip, the band visited Abbey Road Studios to record a little track from writer/producer Tom Springfield (yep, one of those Springfields) called “I’ll Never Find Another You”. It had all the ingredients of a hit: butter-smooth harmonies, a folksy acoustic riff, Athol Guy’s frankly alarming spectacles, and, of course, the voice of Judith Durham. By February 1965, the track had reached Number One in the UK, making The Seekers the first Australian band to crack the British market. It was also a debut Number One — even The Beatles and The Rolling Stones didn’t achieve that particular feat. 

By 1967, after several more Number One hits, including the global smash “Georgie Girl”, The Seekers were back in Australia. They capped the tour with an insane performance at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl, playing to a heaving mass of 200,000 people. It went down as the largest crowd in Australian history, and one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. Ten percent of the city’s population rocked up to watch. Of course, the following year, Judith Durham left the band to pursue a solo career, and The Seekers were technically done. The carnival, however, wasn’t over. 

Words by James Shackell


Two Songwriting Legends Meet: Harry Vanda and George Young

In 1963, two families migrated to Australia — the van den Bergs and the Youngs. The van den Bergs made the trek from the Netherlands, while the Youngs hailed from Scotland. 

Both families found themselves at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in Sydney.

 This chance meeting at the hostel brought together the Easybeats, comprising Stevie Wright, Dick Diamonde, Gordon Fleet, as well as Harry ‘Vanda’ (van den Berg) and George Young. The writing partnership, forever enshrined now as ‘Vanda & Young’, kicked off in the mid-Sixties, spawning hits for the Easybeats including “Friday on My Mind”, which reached Number One in Australia in 1966. 

They also wrote and produced hits for one of Australia’s biggest musical exports at the time, AC/DC, which had been formed by Young’s brothers Malcolm and Angus. Their credits include producing AC/DC albums such as High Voltage and TNT (1975), as well as Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), Let There Be Rock (1977), as well as Powerage and If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (both 1978). 

Vanda & Young’s songwriting legacy lives on. The Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition, founded in 2009, celebrates future generations of Aussie hit songwriters. The competition has launched careers and lauded some of our best: Megan Washington, Kimbra, Isabella Manfredi, Gretta Ray, Amy Shark and Matt Corby among them. 

When George Young passed away in 2017, he was remembered for his connections, charm and talents. A press statement from his music publishing and recording house, Alberts, summed it up: “George was a pioneer who, with close friends Harry Vanda and Ted Albert, created a new sound for the Australian music industry.”

Words by Vivienne Kelly

Courtesy of Nasty Little Man PR


America Falls in Love with Nick Cave

To call Nick Cave a “triple threat” would be to drastically undersell his talents. 

Cave’s extraordinary journey has been, at times, as dark and grief-stricken as his works, a considerable canon that spans multiple decades as a leader of bands, screenplays and absorbing books and soundtracks. Cave has survived substance abuse, and personal loss, and somehow stayed in a zone, though constantly evolving and collaborating. His output is nothing short of prolific, and worthy of his ARIA Hall of Fame induction in 2007. 

The Warracknabeal native now calls England home, a country that reveres his talents, and whose people have powered seven Cave albums into the Top Ten. Perhaps Cave’s closest brush with the mainstream came in 1995, with “Where The Wild Roses Grow,” a blacker-than-coal number from Murder Ballads. The controversy at the time wasn’t so much the content, but Cave’s decision to collaborate on it with Kylie Minogue. It proved a masterstroke and the song came agonisingly close to the UK Top Ten, peaking at Number Eleven. 

America was late to the Nick Cave party; since the turn of the century, seven of his albums have impacted the US Billboard 200 chart. Prior to the millennium, just one of his LPs bothered the chart, 1997’s The Boatman’s Call.  

Words by Lars Brandle


Jet Soundtracks iPod Ad, Ushering in New Era for Music Marketing

It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t there just how freaking cool Apple iPod ads were in the early 2000s. When music history was there to be written, when the industry had to choose between mini discs and the MP3 revolution, these ads tipped the balance. 

In 2004 we turned on our analogue TVs, and there was Aussie band Jet, with their kick-stomping classic, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. The track had taken out the triple j Hottest 100 the year before, and two seconds into the ad you just knew, on some cell-deep level, that this was going to sell a shit-tonne of iPods. 

It was the first genuinely cool sync deal, and helped usher in a new wave of artist/brand collaborations. That combo of Cameron Muncy’s nerve-shredding guitar, the torn vocals of Nic Cester, and human silhouettes thrashing around, dancing like mad, white iPod cords whipping back and forth — it was pure marketing gold. 

Words by James Shackell

Photo by Lucas Englund


Parkway Drive cement Global Metalcore Heavyweight Status

Sixteen years into a career that already had a litany of achievements stacked up, Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive solidified their place as one of metalcore’s greats as they stepped out onto the stage at Germany’s Wacken Open Air festival in 2019. 

Headlining the iconic European metal festival — in its 30th anniversary year — was a huge, somewhat controversial feat. Yet, as Parkway Drive proved during their vicious, relentless performance, any doubt of the band’s capacity to blaze a trail within the international scene was quickly quashed. 

Already long-hailed as one of the genre’s unshakeable premier acts in Australia, this achievement elevated Parkway Drive to new levels of respect and renown. With the Viva The Underdogs documentary (released in 2020) demonstrating their expansive sphere of influence, Parkway Drive set a new blueprint for success within Australian heavy music — easily earning their place in our 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time list.

Words by Sosefina Fuamoli

Photo by Christo Herriot


Kasey Chambers’ ARIA Hall of Fame Induction

Kasey Chambers’ career started around a campfire on the Nullarbor. She and her family would circle the flames at nighttime, reimagining country tunes by the likes of Hank Williams, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Geographical distance meant Chambers grew up unaware of the music industry and the institutions that run it. In a way, it was an unwitting super power for an artist driven by authenticity.

So when the accolades started rolling in, beginning with her debut album title track “The Captain” in 1999, Chambers welcomed them but never let them define her. And when the ultimate accolade was proffered — an induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2018 — it felt like she was blindsided by the honour.

Kasey Chambers may have made history as the youngest female recipient to be inducted, but her career has always boasted a maturity beyond her years. From her debut album The Captain charting in the Top 50 of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and taking home two ARIA Awards, to the 2001 follow-up Barricades & Brickwalls making her the first Australian country artist to have a single (the art-from-pain ballad “Not Pretty Enough”) and album at Number One simultaneously, Chambers was well on her way to becoming the Queen of Country in her formative years. 

Seventeen years later, with more awards and Platinum accreditations than you could shake a stick at, Chambers’ Hall of Fame induction was a heartfelt, tender affair. Strong feminine energy emanated through the reimagined “Not Pretty Enough”, with Kate Miller-Heidke, Missy Higgins and Amy Sheppard giving it brand new meaning. Chambers’ performance of “Ain’t No Little Girl” featured her dad Bill and Paul Kelly in the backing band. Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and Troye Sivan were among those in the front row leading the standing ovation.

And when Paul Kelly took the stage to deliver a poem — one he had kept secret from Chambers and didn’t perform during the rehearsal — Kasey Chambers’ face cracked with raw emotion. 

“I leant closer, getting chills. 

Your voice as bright as sunshine

And older than the hills.”

Chambers’ eyes glistened from the tears she held back, and her cheeks glistened from the tears that got through. Backstage she summed it up for all of us: “I’m so ridiculously overwhelmed,” she said.

Kasey Chambers is still the bright star singing around the campfire, only this time her audience fills theatres and she’s got a slew of trophies tucked away inside.

Words by Poppy Reid

Photo by Cybele Malinowski


Gotye and the Little Song That Conquered the World

The connection was struck instantly by the melancholic melodic dance between a two-note guitar sample from legendary Brazilian musician Luiz Bonfá, with xylophone plinks of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”. The heartstrings were plucked by the emotionally-charged vocals of Belgian-Australian songwriter Gotye and New Zealand singer Kimbra as they traded break-up perspectives. But “Somebody That I Used To Know” was carried to global domination on the shoulders of its official video by acclaimed director Natasha Pincus and the compelling performances of the two artists, naked and body-painted in stop motion animation. 

It was a long, slow-cooked success over several months following its release in Australia in July 2011, reaching its peak throughout the UK, Europe, and finally America in 2012, as the video was propelled to virality by social media champions of the day Ashton Kutcher and Katy Perry. “Somebody That I Used To Know” was Number One everywhere, won two Grammys, four ARIA Awards and was inescapable for two years. It confirms its timelessness more than a decade later with more than three billion streams and YouTube views — and counting.

Words by Kathy McCabe


Rage Soundtracks Our Discontented Youth From the Couch

If I were to write “RAAAAAAAAGE”, it’s likely that, if you’re a music fan, you’d be able to hear the iconic show’s opener in your mind. 

The all-night TV program originally had the working title Rage ‘Til You Puke, which is markedly more aggressive and visceral than its current name, but nonetheless speaks to the show’s long-running, all-night, entertainment-at-any-time ethos. 

The Australian music video show debuted in 1987 on the national broadcaster, the ABC, and continues to this day — making it the longest-running music television program still in production.

Everyone from Kylie Minogue to Metallica, Midnight Oil to INXS, and the Beastie Boys to Blondie have appeared as guests on the show, revealing their influences and guilty pleasures. 

It’s had formats including chart countdowns, guest programmers, genre specials, and themed editions across its thirty-five seasons, which is nothing to puke at. 

Words by Vivienne Kelly

Photo by Matsu


Flume Makes Grammy Awards History

The release of Flume’s sophomore album Skin proved to be a momentous time for Australian music — not just for the artist, but also for the way local electronic music was perceived internationally. 

At the 2017 Grammys, Flume became the first Australian artist to win the Best Dance/Electronic Album category; a feat no other Australian electronic artist has achieved since, though Flume would find himself nominated again in 2020. 

Skin — a stunning fourteen track record — featured collaborations with the likes of Kučka, Vic Mensa, Tove Lo, Beck, Kai and Little Dragon; is a masterclass in Flume’s sound and crossover potential. Stepping into a lane international artists like Diplo, Skrillex and from the UK, Disclosure, had already been comfortably dominating, Flume laid down a gauntlet of his own with Skin

More than a notice of arrival, it was a statement of intent: Skin was a game-changer.

Words by Sosefina Fuamoli 


The Wiggles Reimagine Children’s Music

In 1991 four mates from Macquarie University in Sydney were treading uncharted waters as they studied early childhood learning together, but it wouldn’t take long for parents and kids around Australia to board a vessel destined for world domination. 

However, a market for children’s music didn’t yet exist. But founding members Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, Greg Page and Phillip Wilcher were about to change that.

The first-ever Wiggles album, a self-titled and self-funded affair, broke new ground. The band’s original manager, Jeremy Fabinyi, convinced the Government-funded record label ABC Music to back the project and throw their promotional resources behind the unproven. The Wiggles didn’t immediately set the world on fire, but the $4,000 bet did pay dividends (and defied the naysayers), selling over 100,000 copies.

Juggling day jobs, The Wiggles headed to daycare centres and shopping malls (and were even spotted busking at Circular Quay) to perform their first batch of kiddie-bops and build a fanbase outside of sticky-floored pubs. Some of The Wiggles’ biggest, most iconic songs were quickly becoming anthems sung by families in loungerooms and on road trips; “Hot Potato”, “Dorothy the Dinosaur” and “Get Ready to Wiggle” among them.

And the rest is history; The Wiggles went on to become an arena-selling powerhouse with their own TV shows and global superstar fans. Fast-forward to 2022, and the new-look Wiggles are bigger than ever after topping the triple j Hottest 100, packing out arenas around Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and gracing the September cover of Rolling Stone AU/NZ.

Words by Jake Challenor

Unsplash: Alex Brissey


Dirty Pool Management Changes Industry’s Inner-Workings

Far more than simply starting a company together, Dirty Pool co-founders John Woodruff, Ray Hearn and Rod Willis lit a spark under the Australian live music industry in the late Seventies by taking the ‘door deal’, a concept pioneered by bands like Dragon, and launching it on an industrial scale. With their roster of management clients including Cold Chisel, The Angels and Flowers (Icehouse), Dirty Pool cut out the middleman, negotiating deals directly with venues. 

Instead of being paid a flat fee for their performances dictated by agents and venues as was the practice, artists would instead take ninety percent of the entry fees of shows. This put more money back into the pockets of artists, cleaning up a decade of questionable deals which saw artists losing out. The system spread across the industry, creating a new economy that buttressed the pub rock explosion of the Eighties, where touring an artist around Australia was not just promotional, but became a way for bands to financially thrive rather than simply survive.

Words by Stephen Green


Sound Relief to the Rescue

The Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria claimed 173 lives in 2009, and inspired concert promoters Michael Gudinski and Michael Chugg, together with Amanda Pelman, Joe Segreto, Tom Lang, and Mark Pope, to create the Sound Relief charity concert. The event also raised funds for flood victims in Queensland. 

It attracted a who’s who of music stars to gather across two cities in one of Australia’s biggest concerts, held simultaneously across the MCG in Melbourne and SCG in Sydney on March 14. Everybody from Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Kings of Leon and Midnight Oil took to the stage, all in the name of raising money for those who needed it most. Even Eighties rockers Hunters & Collectors reformed after ten years; a huge coup considering their label founder Michael Gudinski had asked many times before. 

A then sixty-two-year-old John Farnham also joined Coldplay as they belted “You’re The Voice” — which Farnham still counts as one of his career highlights. Jet, You Am I and Icehouse also performed to the sellout crowds. Kylie Minogue sang “I Still Call Australia Home” and Olivia Newton-John and the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb came together in what would be their last time on a big stage together before her passing earlier this year.

More than 120,000 people attended Sound Relief, raising over $8 million and paving the way for future charity concerts such as Fire Fight in 2020.

Words by Jane Rocca

Photo by Ashley Mar


Hilltop Hoods Lead the Way for Strings in Hip Hop

The release of The Hard Road in 2006 ushered in a new era for Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods. Already certified as one of Australia’s most beloved groups by this point, the trio’s fourth studio album saw their elevation to true legends-in-the-making status. 

The first Australian hip hop album to take the Number One position on the ARIA Albums Chart, The Hard Road further expanded the Hoods’ crossover potential into the mainstream. 

The album also bred the Hoods’ first Restrung album: remixing the entire record with the help of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating its release with a one-off performance in their hometown to a crowd of seven thousand, the Hilltop Hoods provided more than a unique spin on their original material. They showed their ambition to aim higher and look outside the bounds of expectation when it came to what Australian hip hop artists could do at the time.

Words by Sosefina Fuamoli

Photo by Ashley Mar


The Fire Fight Benefit Concert of 2020

In a monumental effort of cooperation from the Australian music industry, 2020’s Fire Fight Australia concert became a symbol of unity and support during what was, at the time, the largest catastrophe we could imagine unfolding in our country.

Helmed by TEG Dainty and TEG Live, and featuring rousing performances by the likes of John Farnham, the late Olivia Newton-John, Peking Duk, Baker Boy, Amy Shark, Grinspoon, and Queen with Adam Lambert, the charity concert raised over $10 million for a range of fire rescue, relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding services.

75,000 attended the live music event at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, while over one million tuned into the official television broadcast on Channel Seven and Foxtel. The ten-hour-long event, conceptualised and executed within five weeks, was a mammoth achievement and proof of the importance of live music and performance as an avenue of emotional expression and escape.

Words by Sosefina Fuamoli

Photo by Aaron Webber


Troye Sivan: Australia’s First YouTube Music Star

Troye Sivan is a trailblazer. In 2012, the quirky, awkward teen began creating video blogs and uploading them to YouTube for his 27,000 subscribers that once flocked to his channel to watch the then-teen perform acoustic covers of popular songs. A year later, in 2013, Sivan caught the attention of Australian record executive Mark Holland who signed him to a major label deal with EMI Music. 

Almost ten years later, and the wunderkind from Perth with bleached-blonde hair and smooth-as-silk vocals has surpassed one billion views on the world’s largest video platform; the first Aussie to become a bonafide superstar from YouTube. He’s also made a name for himself as an actor, scoring Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his work on Boy Erased with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe.

The born-to-be-famous pop idol has also used his platform for good, becoming a fierce advocate for LGBTQIA+ communities.

Words by Jake Challenor


The Saints Dubbed Early Punk Pioneers with (I’m) Stranded

The Saints’ debut album (I’m) Stranded was hailed as being able to “easily match the savage revolt of bands like The Clash and The Jam” (Robert A. Hull), and perhaps heralded the local arrival of punk in Australia. 

The band’s relationship with punk, however, was complicated, and guitarist Ed Kuepper lamented that the “gutsy realists” were caught up in the same movement as other groups. 

“The band was a full thing by 1974. Two-and-a-half years later, this incredibly fashionable movement comes along, only an arsehole would have associated himself with that,” he said. 

The 1977 album was released through EMI, with many now recognising that it could well be one of the great debut albums of the era.

Indeed, in 2001, the title track, “(I’m) Stranded” didn’t quite make the Top Ten, but was listed among the Top Thirty Australian songs of all time by APRA. 

However you, or the band itself, choose to categorise it, (I’m) Stranded can be assured of its spot amongst the 50 Most Iconic Australian Music Moments. 

Words by Vivienne Kelly


Masked Wolf Lands First Viral Australian Song on TikTok

With “Astronaut in the Ocean”, Masked Wolf achieved what was once considered impossible. The Sydney rapper landed a global hip hop hit from the land Down Under, and did so, initially, with rocket fuel provided by TikTok. The cut first dropped in 2019 and was reissued late in 2020 with major label support after going viral on the short-video platform, one of the first to do so from Australia.

“Astronaut…” just kept flying, lifting to Number Six on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 2021 and topping its Hot Rap Songs survey – confirmation that Masked Wolf had the hottest hip hop song in the home of hip hop.

Before the year was out, Masked Wolf and producer Tyron Hapi were inducted into APRA AMCOS’ The 1,000,000,000 List, for punching past one billion streams across all platforms with the breakthrough song. Then, TikTok anointed “Astronaut…” as the top dog on its app, by appearing in almost eighteen million clips during the year, over fifty percent more than the next most-used song. By September 2022, “Astronaut…” had entered Spotify’s Billions Club. “Not in a thousand years did I ever think I would achieve this,” Masked Wolf mused at the time.

Words by Lars Brandle


Steve Pavlovic Sets Up Game-Changing Record Label, Modular

With a stable that included Tame Impala, The Avalanches, Cut Copy, Ladyhawke, The Presets, Wolfmother and more, Modular Recordings was always a cut above. Founded by Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, the record company was recognised by Britain’s NME in 2007 as “the coolest label in the world”. Cool, or hot, it was as accurate a tag as they come. 

Pav, who had toured Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth and many more cutting-edge acts at the peak of their powers, expanded his label into the UK and Europe in 2013. A relaxed character who could take a nap when the stress of life would cause most of us to wig out, ran into trouble and some ugly legal battles in 2015. Those issues sidelined Pav and saw Modular, the label he founded, absorbed by Universal Music. Pav returned to the spotlight in 2022 with Unpopular, an exhibition at Sydney’s Powerhouse featuring some two hundred items from his personal collection. Unpopular is said to be the first in a series of projects from Pavlovic.

Words by Lars Brandle


Two Young Australians Invent the First Digital Synthesiser and Sampler, The Fairlight

We take digital sampling for granted today, but the technology was actually invented in 1979, in a garage in Point Piper, Sydney, by two young Australians Kim Ryrie and Peter Vogel. That’s where the Fairlight was born. 

The Fairlight, named after the hydrofoil that zoomed across Sydney Harbour, was the world’s first digital synthesiser and arguably music’s biggest technological breakthrough since the phonograph. Frustrated by traditional analogue synth machines, Ryrie and Vogel spent years in Ryrie’s grandmother’s garage tinkering with their design, before unleashing their Computer Musical Instrument (CMI) on an unsuspecting world. For the first time ever, producers could sample natural sounds on a computer and manipulate them with the god-like power of dual 8-bit processors. The samples only lasted 0.5–1 seconds, but still, it was a game-changer, and most of what we consider Eighties synth-pop can be traced back to Ryrie and Vogel. 

Their tech became so popular that Phil Collins had to specify “there is no Fairlight on this record” in the liner notes of No Jacket Required in 1985. 

Words by James Shackell

Courtesy of Atlantic Records


Sia Becomes Most Prolific Songwriter On APRA AMCOS’ 1,000,000,000 List

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, better recognised on the world’s pop charts as just Sia, has climbed many a mountain since her early days in Adelaide jazz-funk outfit, Crisp, in the mid-Nineties.

The singer-songwriter, who once appeared as a wedding singer on Aussie soap Home And Away, has become a bonafide global popstar and hitmaker in her own right, and in the first half of 2020 was inducted into an exclusive club named The 1,000,000,000 List. 

According to APRA AMCOS, who compile the list, Furler is also the “most prolific” member of the exclusive club; fifteen of her songs have surpassed a cumulative one billion streams from all major services including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, YouTube Music, Vevo, Amazon and more. 

Among them are a handful of her own blockbuster bops like the four-time Grammy-nominated “Chandelier”, and her tribute to the forty-nine victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting “The Greatest”, which has clocked five hundred million streams on Spotify alone. But it’s her work as hit machine-for-hire that has spawned chart-toppers for A-listers like Katy Perry (“Chained to the Rhythm”), ZAYN (“Dusk Til Dawn”), Rihanna (“Diamonds”), David Guetta (“Titanium”) and Jessie J (“Flashlight”).

Words by Jake Challenor

Courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive of Australia


Johnny O’Keefe’s US Tour Makes History

It had to start somewhere. Before touring America became a rite of passage, Johnny O’Keefe was trailblazing the path for legions of Australian acts to follow.

The story began in Los Angeles in 1959, with the recording of “She’s My Baby” — an equally uncommon move at the time. But O’Keefe had made enough of an impact on the charts, had a pioneering role in the birth of music television with Six O’Clock Rock, and was laying the groundwork for an international breakthrough.

After an introduction with head honchos at Liberty Records, he returned in February 1960. Hold your breath here — JOK — the Wild One — was promoted as The Boomerang Boy (yes, you read that right; these were very different times) and had to give boomerang throwing exhibitions. A few months later JOK had a major setback following a terrible car accident that could have killed him. After recuperating, he returned to the States for another tour in January 1961. Again, the tour didn’t fly — but JOK was the first Australian rock’n’roller to give it a crack. Everyone who tried afterwards was following in his footsteps.

Words by Stuart Coupe


5 Seconds of Summer Score Third Consecutive Billboard Number One Album

If you had told the four mates from Western Sydney in early 2021 that they would soon form one of the world’s biggest bands… they probably would have believed you.

It took guts, an unwavering beginner’s mindset — and the ability to build a cult-like following that grew with them— to make it as 5 Seconds of Summer. Eleven years into their career, 5SOS still have it in droves.

The band has released five Number One Australian albums, three in the UK, three in the US, earned a place on Billboard’s Top Artists of the 2010s chart, and received over eighty awards. It’s been a decorated career marked by firsts, but it was 2018 that saw 5SOS make US chart history.

With their third album Youngblood, 5SOS became the first Australian act to land three Number Ones on the Billboard 200 (following their debut self-titled LP in 2014 and follow-up Sounds Good Feels Good in 2016). They also became the only band to top the Billboard 200 with their first three studio albums.

In a note to fans via Instagram in 2018, 5SOS said: “You came together as people to get us our 3rd number one record for all the right reasons. Today you made history for 4 young men, and you are every reason why we feel like the luckiest people alive.”

Words by Poppy Reid