Timeline of trends in Australian music



For the reason that Australia had military services ties with the US (as a result of the Korean War), a variety of Australian brokers would invite the most important American stars of the day these types of as Frank Sinatra, Little Richard and Ricky Nelson to appear to Australia and perform in Sydney, Melbourne, and the other state capitals. Johnny Ray was the very first to do this, in 1952. Right up until the late 1950s, Australian tunes was minimal to jazz, nation (with Slender Dusty being the most important nation star) and the tunes of its Indigenous peoples. Television was released to Australia in 1956, but for the reason that many people today could not pay for one particular at the time, the main medium for tunes was radio. People who could not go to the concert events consequently relied on the radio to hear the latest and most well known tunes. Almost all the singles launched in Australia at the time have been recorded by People in america.

The primary ‘rock and roll’, popularised by Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry in The united states became well known in Australia as nicely for the reason that it fitted in with the changing impression of its well known tradition. The very first ‘rock and roll’ dances have been held at Preston Town Corridor, Melbourne. The Chuck Berry tune “Rock All over the Clock”, when launched in Australia in 1955, bought above 150,000 units as a 45rpm EP. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) By the close of the ten years, rock and roll tunes was the most well known supply of entertainment among the young Australians. It was as a result of these artists that Australians began recording its present day well known tunes.

In 1955, the New South Wales governing administration prolonged pub closing time from 6pm to 10pm to allow for additional rock and roll bands to participate in at these clubs(see 6 o’clock swill).

In March 1958, Johnny O’Keefe’s “The Wild One” was the #one one on the Australian charts – he was the very first Australian rock star to have these types of a hit. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) Channel nine commenced broadcasting an Australian model of America’s Bandstand programme, with Brian Henderson as host, which lasted for fourteen many years.

In 1959, Johnny O’Keefe took above the just lately introduced 6 O’Clock Rock (ABC), which ran until finally 1962.


Nevertheless strongly reflecting American tradition, in 1962 Australia expert the Twist trend, before long followed by the Stomp trend (reflecting surf tradition, which arrived to Australia as a result of the People in america a number of many years just before). In 1964, one particular of the most important bands of this style, the Beach front Boys toured Australia. Other American functions also toured – rock and roll was still really well known there – but pretty number of American functions have been just as profitable.

Additional and additional Australians have been shopping for tv sets, which gave the 4 tv networks – 7, Nine, Ten and ABC – an option to air its very own tunes present. In tunes reveals of the 1950s and 60’s, every one tune on the present was performed reside in a small studio in front of an viewers of three hundred at the most, and they have been just about always teenagers.

The British invasion, which began with The Beatles, swept as a result of Australia with many British functions being regarded choices to the American kinds. When the Beatles toured Australia in 1964, there have been lovers functioning to satisfy them just about everywhere. They performed to sell-out crowds in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The Rolling Stones also toured Australia in 1965, all over again to sellout crowds. But American singers still arrived to Australia for excursions – Bob Dylan in 1966 and Elvis Presley in 1968. The mid sixties noticed the ‘mod’ trend, which had been well known in Britain, appear and go.

Most of the Australian functions of the sixties have been motivated by the British functions, which have been additional popular and consequently additional exposable, than the American functions and so most of the Australian tracks of the ten years have been recorded in British designs of tunes. However, there have been some Australians who have been prepared to stay Americanized and document surf rock, or rock and roll tracks (although for the latter style, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles would have been larger influences than the US functions of the 50’s).

For the reason that of its small inhabitants at the time, not every Australian singer could to an Australian label the standard way (by way of a demo). So to go after their goals of becoming tunes stars, they had to enter talent reveals. The winner of every single talent present would get the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, New York or London and be signed to a significant British or American recording label. Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy have been two of these singers, with Newton-John going to London and performing tracks with fellow Australian singer Pat Carroll. The Bee Gees, motivated by the big bands of the 40’s and 50’s also had to go on a talent present just before they could start off their recording careers. They became exceptionally profitable in this type of tunes.

A address of The Coasters’ “Poison Ivy” (also protected by the Rolling Stones) gave Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, a surf rock band, their very first #one hit, maintaining even the Beatles at bay. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) 1964 also noticed Jimmy Little have a hit with “Royal Phone” – he was the very first indigenous Australian to do so. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999)

In 1966, Australia’s prestigious (but really Anglicized) yearly rock band level of competition, Hoadley’s Fight of the Seems commenced, and this ran until finally 1972.

By 1966, the Liked Kinds (as a result of “The Liked One”) and the Easybeats (as a result of “Friday on my Thoughts”)had both equally witnessed achievements. Johnny Young was host of Young Expertise Time and the Seekers became the very first Australian band to sell above a million documents internationally. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) Their very best recognised tracks have been “Georgy Female” and “The Carnival is Around”. The final a few pointed out bands all checklist British bands as their influences (to some extent).

Pop paper Go-Established was also introduced this yr (1966), hosting their very own televised pop awards (the Pop Poll).

nineteen seventies

There was a ‘boom’ of Australian tunes functions in the early nineteen seventies. Masters Apprentices, Spectrum, ACDC, and Daddy Interesting have been some of the most profitable Australian bands of this time.

The attractiveness of surf tradition continued into the 70s. From 1972 to 1975 the Sunbury Music Pageant (regarded to be Australia’s answer to America’s Woodstock) was held in Victoria, dominated by the likes of Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, Daddy Interesting and the Skyhooks. At this position, nonetheless, Australians have been being exposed to a new distinctly American type of tunes – tender rock. Despite the fact that they could hear to this kind of tunes as a result of tv and radio, it was not well known in this article until finally it arrived to Australia by way of the Eagles. The Little River Band is one particular of the mentioned Australian bands of this era to participate in in this type of tunes.

In 1972, “It can be Time” was recorded by Alison McCallum, and was famously (and correctly) made use of by the ALP in Gough Whitlam’s bid for governing administration. He released many reforms, like legislating for the establishment of group-dependent FM radio and enhanced funding for the arts. Due to his government’s reforms, 2JJ (now the influential Triple J) was founded.

1972 also noticed Michael Gudinski sort Mushroom Documents. In 1975, Skyhooks, who have been signed to Mushroom, launched Dwelling In The 70’s. 6 tracks from the album have been banned, and the controversy put together with the singles “Dwelling in the 70s” and “Horror Movie” ensured the album bought nicely. Their precise type of tunes was initially surf rock, but became glam rock, which originated in Britain throughout the early nineteen seventies they are consequently Anglicized in this way. Nethertheless, they have been vastly profitable for the reason that they gave the young Australian community what they wished – tracks about Australia – places, encounters, values and so on, instead than tracks about like, which Australians up until finally that time had been famous for. The debut tune played by 2JJ was one particular of the banned Skyhooks tunes, “You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed”.

Glam rock would go on to come to be one particular of the most well known designs of tunes in Australia in the nineteen seventies with Sherbet and Split Enz both equally being profitable bands.

At the close of 1974, the ABC commenced broadcasting Countdown with Ian Meldrum as host, a present which became vastly well known and influential. The present began as a common tunes present, it was still popular for every one tune to be played reside. By 1976 onwards, overseas artists commenced to ship the ABC and other tv networks promotional videos to air on their tunes reveals when they could not perform reside. So Australian bands like Dragon, the Little River band and Skyhooks created promotional videos to accompany many of their tracks, even although they rarely aired on Countdown at this time. Songs played on the present frequently expert a wild upswing in sales.

Disco emerged in The united states in the mid to late 70s and arrived to Australia by way of artists like KC & the Sunshine Band. The Bee Gees, who had stopped recording big-band type tunes in the early 70s, made use of this type of tunes to make their comeback to the Australian charts. In 1977, the Bee Gees’s soundtrack to Saturday Night time Fever was a massive achievements around the globe, and in Australia broke all earlier sales documents. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) Disco also had other Australian followers: Leo Sayer had a Best ten hit in 1977 with “You Make Me Really feel Like Dancing”, and John Paul Young obtained achievements with “Yesterday’s Hero” in 1976 and “Enjoy is in the Air” in 1978.

The aforementioned designs of tunes existed alongside difficult rock functions these types of as AC/DC.

Australian tunes was commencing to get momentum overseas, with the Skyhooks touring the United States, and AC/DC and Sherbet attracting awareness in Britain. In the late 70s, as the punk rock phenomenon commenced overseas, Radio Birdman and the Saints commenced to be witnessed as scene leaders. Little River Band gained achievements in the United States in 1977, with their album Diamantina Cocktail being the very first Australian-created American gold document (five hundred,000 sales). (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999)

Melbourne became a haunting floor for many influential although not massive-advertising rock functions throughout this time, like Nick Cave’s the Birthday Party, the Go-Betweens and the Triffids.

nineteen eighties

The late 70s and early 80s noticed the dominance of the vastly well known pub rock, typified by Mental As Nearly anything, Matt End, Midnight Oil, The Angels, Chilly Chisel and Icehouse. (See Australian Rock.)

In 1981, Men at Work’s “Down Beneath” was vastly well known both equally domestically and in the U.S., with the one staying at #one on the Billboard charts for 15 months. INXS also expert big achievements with “What You Will need” achieving the U.S. best 5, and the band advertising above one.three million copies of their Hear Like Robbers album. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999)

The start of MTV in The united states in 1981 ensured that Australians have been exposed to the new technology of musical functions – and video clip clips – produced in the Northern Hemisphere. By 1983 Australian musical functions have been producing the changeover from typical reside performances to producing promotional video clip clips – some functions for all of their singles.

In 1984, Midnight Oil’s charismatic lead singer Peter Garrett ran for parliament with the Nuclear Disarmament Party. In the close Garrett narrowly skipped out on successful a senate seat. In the mid nineteen eighties, politics and tunes have been progressively entwined – the 1985 Are living Support live performance was massive. Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust album, featuring the “Beds Are Burning” one, broke the band in the US.

The mid 80s also noticed the arrival of dance tunes and the synthesiser, for instance the Rockmelons and Pseudo Echo. In 1987, Kylie Minogue hit the pop charts with a bang, “Locomotion” becoming the most important advertising Australian one of the ten years and #two in the Uk, #three in the US. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999)

There was a sudden burst of curiosity in woman singer/songwriters in the late 80s, with Kate Ceberano, Wendy Matthews and Jenny Morris (really a New Zealander) being well known. With Split Enz now defunct, Neil Finn began one more job – the Mullanes, later to be renamed Crowded Property. In 1987 “Don’t Dream It can be Around” peaked at #two in the US.

Alternate tunes was nicely represented throughout the nineteen eighties, with the formation of these types of bands as bands these types of as the Hoodoo Gurus, The Cruel Sea and TISM.

It has been mentioned that Madonna and Michael Jackson, American singers who have been both equally really well known in Australia throughout this time, are significant influences for Australian tunes from the nineteen eighties onwards: in conditions of the topics of the tracks (just about every tune recorded because 1990 are similar to like), the video clip clips, and the precise designs of tunes.

nineteen nineties

The nineteen nineties noticed the continued expansion and then attractiveness of substitute tunes. It also noticed a renaissance in tunes festivals, with some dozen or additional being founded and holding their very own. Quite a few expanded to address a number of cities (Homebake, Big Day Out, Livid). The craze was kicked off by the establishment of the Big Day Out in 1992 in Sydney. Grunge had come to be massive in Australia just after the loss of life of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in 1994, and Silverchair have been the main beneficiaries, with massive achievements both equally domestically and inside the US (1996).

Alternate going mainstream was confirmed in 1994, when the Cruel Sea dominated the ARIA Music Awards with their album The Honeymoon Is Around. Nick Cave expert broader commercial achievements, and You Am I had a few successive albums debut at #one. Other stalwarts of the 90s have been Regurgitator, Magic Dirt and Spiderbait.

The newborn boomer’s rock scene, by the 90s, translated into adult contemporary, with Wendy Matthews, Daryl Braithwaite and the Screaming Jets acquiring achievements.

In the late 90s, pop broke out all above. Savage Garden hit the US#one with their one “Definitely, Madly, Deeply” and their debut album bought above 8 million copies. (Creswell & Fabinyi, 1999) Tina Arena and Natalie Imbruglia also had big chart achievements.

The nineteen nineties also noticed a rise in well known Australian tunes and videos for young little ones, significantly The Wiggles and Hello-5.

Triple J’s affect in doable achievements for a band was clearer than ever, with the station breaking Grinspoon, Missy Higgins and mainly responsible for advertising the Whitlams, who just after successful Triple J’s Most popular a hundred poll in 1997 with their “No Aphrodisiac”, went on to acquire Track of the 12 months at the 1998 ARIA tunes awards.


Adhering to a rise in achievements in the late nineteen nineties, the early “naughties” noticed Powderfinger split although and come to be the country’s most important rock band. Not extended just after, actuality tv gained commercial achievements, with Channel 7’s Popstars and in 2003, with Channel 10’s ongoing Australian Idol. Delta Goodrem followed in the footsteps of Tina Arena in the 90s with massive achievements, and a crack at the American market place. Missy Higgins and Ben Lee also broke as a result of, sweeping the ARIA Music Awards of 2005, formerly owning relied nearly solely on the guidance of Triple J whose Most popular a hundred tunes poll became the biggest in the entire world with in extra of five hundred,000 votes put.

Other pop artists these types of as The Veronicas & Rogue Traders also created waves on the charts throughout the later fifty percent of the ten years.

The soapstar-turned-singer craze continued into the “naughties” with people today these types of as Tammin, Stephanie McIntosh and Holly Valance all releasing album with some diploma of achievements.

Australian hip-hop commenced to split as a result of, with the Hilltop Hoods becoming the very first Australian hip-hop album to arrive at the best of the ARIA charts.

Adhering to the achievements of garage rock artists these types of as the The Strokes and The White Stripes, Australia expert considerably of a rock renaissance with teams these types of as The Vines, Jet and Wolfmother charting internationally.


Creswell, Toby Fabinyi, Martin (1999), The Serious Point: Adventures in Australian Rock & Roll, Sydney: Random House .

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Music of Australia

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