Australia has produced some of the world’s biggest music artists and bands over the years. From the rock’n’roll legends out of Sydney AC/DC and INXS to the pop queen herself Kylie Minogue, the land down under has a great reputation for great music around world. So when it comes to making an Australia Day playlist, where do you start? There is a plethora of artists to choose from across most genres. Then from there, which songs do you choose? Well rather than go for the cliche hits, we’ve found 30 songs from some of our biggest music acts to add to your playlist. You can even find the playlist on iTunes. Just search for Lantern Club.
These songs are perfect for the start of your Australia Day barbecue. Save the likes of Khe Sanh, Land Down Under, You’re the Voice and Horses for later on when everyone is jolly enough to join in for a sing along. These are the ‘oh, I remember this banger!’ songs.
One Summer – Daryl Braithwaite
When you see the name Daryl Braithwaite, only the old school Sherbet fans wouldn’t say Horses as the first song that comes to mind. That Braithwaite cover of the Rickie Lee Jones and Walter Becker song (yep, it was actually a cover) is played just about at every Australian party, barby, wedding and even the odd funeral. But Daryl’s second biggest solo hit is One Summer. It’s a fun and poppy rock song that is just perfect along with a cold beer and sausage sanga under the hot Australian sun on Australia Day.
Heaven Help My Heart – Tina Arena
Tina Arena has one of the best female voices ever in Australian music with a range as good as any artist anywhere. While Sorrento Moon and Chains are her most known songs, Heaven Help My Heart was a great hit in its day.
Come into my world – Kylie Minogue
Not many Australian artists have had as many hits nor do they get recognised instantly by their first name like Kylie. Going deep into her discography you can pull out a number of ‘oh I remember that song’ hits as she’s had so damn many since leaving Neighbours for a music career in the 1980s. Come into my world is what we came up with, but there are plenty of options with Ms Minogue.
Break Me Shake Me – Savage Garden
In the 1990s, the duo of Savage Garden had some huge songs like Truly Madly Deeply and To The Moon and Back and the Animal Song. In the same era, Break Me Shake Me was somewhat a hit but we can bet it’s been a while since you last heard it.
One Said to the Other – Living End
The Living End were one of the last great pub bands before the era of downloading songs off iTunes/Spotify begun. They have had many rock hits spanning a couple of decades like All Torn Down, Prisoner of Society and Roll On. Here is one that’s massively underrated and great for your Australia Day playlist.
Have a Little Faith in Us – John Farnham
On Australia Day you can’t go wrong with Farnsey and there’s no doubt You’re the Voice will get played at some point during the day. From his Sadie the Cleaning Lady to his record breaking Whispering Jack album, Johnny has plenty of songs to choose from. He is known as The Voice, by Aussies after all. Have a Little Faith in Us is off his mid 90’s album Romeo’s Heart which also features other great songs like Hearts on Fire.
Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC
Acca Dacca are such a global phenomenon that many forget that the Young brothers who founded the band, Angus and Malcolm (and their older brother George of Easybeats fame), grew up in Burwood in Sydney’s inner west. They moved to Australia from Scotland when they were quite, ugh, young. Their early albums with the late great Bon Scott on vocals have more of an Australian sound especially the likes of T.N.T and Long Way to the Top. But another Bon Scott classic is Whole Lotta Rosie in which he based on a true story. After spending the night with a larger lady while on tour in Tasmania, he penned this song. The band to this day, even with Englishman Brian Johnson now lead singing, have a blow up giant replica of ‘Rosie’ appear when they sing the song live. It’s not only a song of great Bon lyrical genius, the raw riffs of the Youngs are as good as any song in the huge AC/DC catalogue and is often covered by American bands such as the Foo Fighters and Guns’n’Roses.
Let’s Make It Last All Night – Jimmy Barnes
Just as we said about Farnsey, his fellow British-born come Australian icon and friend we all know as Barnsey is a must on Australia Day. James Dixon Swann as he was born is much like his other old friend Bon Scott was born in Scotland and despite still sporting a pretty thick Glasgow accent, Jimmy Barnes is the country’s most iconic rock singer of all time. The Cold Chisel singer has screamed out more hit songs on the ARIA charts that even the most dinky di Aussie would have forgotten a few. So while Working Class Man and No Second Prize will probably be in most playlists, add a few other Barnsey belters like Let’s Make It Last All Night off his 1990 album Two Fires to yours.
Ita – Cold Chisel
Such is the Australia Day power of Jimmy Barnes, he gets into the list again but this time with his mates in an Adelaide band you may have heard called Cold Chisel. Every Australian who’s been to a pub knows Khe Sanh and Flame Trees plus many other iconic rock songs. But a great historical Australian song off their biggest album, East, is Ita. The song is about Ita Buttrose who was a pioneer for women in the media in Australia and who the band were very fond of back in the day. If you want to really get a deep gem of Chisel, also add songs such as Letter to Alan. In fact, just play the entire Circus Animals album in full. It’s an underrated hit in itself.
Get Ready to Wiggle – The Wiggles
Of all the musical acts to come out of Australia, none are bigger than the Wiggles. For over two decades they’ve played to literally millions of kids around the globe. But the band originally known as the Cockroaches, have just Anthony (the blue Wiggle) remaining from their original line up. Their early hits are timeless classics such as Fruit Salad, Hot Potato and Big Red Car. But don’t forget to get ready, to Wiggle!
Things Don’t Seem – Australian Crawl
Aussie Crawl are one of the most underrated and somewhat forgotten Australian rock bands. They have countless songs you’ve probably heard but forgot who it was by. Songs like Errol, Boys Light Up, Oh No Not You Again and Reckless are well known and instantly recognisable. Things Don’t Seem is amongst those and sounds like Australia from the opening riff. And don’t worry, if you can’t understand all of lead singer James Reyne’s lyrics, you are not alone.
I Feel Possessed – Crowded House
‘Aren’t they Kiwis?’, you probably thought when you thought about Crowded House. While Neil Finn was born in New Zealand and formed his previous band Split Enz with brother Tim in New Zealand, Crowded House were formed in Melbourne with Australians the late Paul Hester (drums) and Nick Seymour (bass). They also played their farewell on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. So just like Phar Lap, Russell Crowe and the Pavlova, sorry Kiwis, they’re ours now. You’re probably well familiar with songs like Weather With You, Don’t Dream It’s Over and It’s Only Natural, the song I Feel Possessed off the album Temple Of Low Men is highly underrated.
Big Mistake – Natalie Imbruglia
After growing up on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Natalie Imbruglia was a smash hit around the world with her song Torn. Her follow up song Big Mistake didn’t do quite as well internationally, but did go gold in the Aussie charts in 1998 and is well worthy of your Australia Day playlist.
Sunshine – Ricki-Lee
It’s weird that Australian Idol contestants songs are now becoming classic hits and Ricki Lee is one of the contestants that really made a name for herself despite finishing just 7th in the second season. Sunshine was her second single released in her debut year of 2005. A second hit song is huge for a reality TV star, as many don’t kick on past the hype of the show. It’s quite the banger too. We also bet that you can’t name the contestants who finished ahead of her that year other than grand finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea (if you can, that’s pretty sad).
Party – Christine Anu
Christine Anu has one of the most iconic Australiana songs in My Island Home and for sure give that song a run. But her more fun hit Party will suit the Australia Day playlist perfectly as well.
Bus to Bondi – Midnight Oil
Like Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil were the big boys of pub rock across Australia in 80s and especially in their home city of Sydney. So while their 90s political anthems Beds are Burning, King of the Mountain or their 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 album hits like US Forces and Power and the Passion get a run a lot, cut deep back into their Head Injuries album. Bus to Bondi can’t get much more Australian being about Sydney’s most famous beach after all.
Back to the Wall – Divinyls
Chrissy Amphlet is one of the most underrated front people in Australian music history, dare we say the world. The late great legend was one of the best female rock singers in an era that featured amazing ladies like Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Pat Benatar and Tina Turner. The Divinyls are famous for hits such as I Touch Myself and Pleasure and Pain. But Back to the Wall is very much worthy of getting a spin this Australia Day.
Overkill – Men At Work
Men at Work’s Land Down Under is easily the most played song when Australian sporting teams play and probably the most world renowned song about Australia. But Met At Work had other great Australian rock hits and Overkill is very underrated.
Got It Goin’ On – Human Nature
Before the Human Nature fellas were smashing out sold out shows in Las Vegas singing soul music, they were a global sensation as a boy band. Unlike the other bunches of blokes like Backstreet Boys, N*Sync and Five who were smashing out hits in the 90s without any instruments needed, Human Nature have kept relevant and popular for more than two decades as the others sizzled out of the limelight. Got it Goin On is not only a great forgotten song, it is the most Sydney in the 90s-looking film clip you will ever see. Just look at those suits!
Hot Chilli Woman – Noiseworks
Another band that some will debate as not being Australian. But despite lead singer Jon Stevens being born in New Zealand, the band formed in Sydney and had some of the best Aussie rock songs ever such as Take Me Back and No Lies. Hot Chilli Woman is a hell of a song too and perfect for Australia Day barbeques.
Shadow Boxer – The Angels
Another Australian band you need to always feature on Australia Day is the Angels. There are few more Aussie things than the unofficial lyrics to Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (no way, we won’t write it here). However, the Angels have plenty of other great rock classics and Shadow Boxer is one of them. Despite losing legendary lead singer to Doc Neeson, the band are still touring today with Screaming Jets singer Dave Gleeson out front.
Elegantly Wasted – INXS
INXS is Australia’s biggest exported band other than AC/DC and their Kick Album alone has more hits than most rock bands could dream of. Their final album with legendary singer Michael Hutchence was Elegantly Wasted and the title track is a fantastic song. It’s Hutchence at his absolute best and his death in 1997 just a few months after it was released was one of the saddest days in Australian music history.
Run to Me – Bee Gees
As you may have noticed already, many of Australia’s greatest vocalists were born outside of Australia prompting debate on whether they were Australian or not. The Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees were born on the Isle of Man but moved to Australia when eldest (and last surviving) brother Barry was just 14. Much of their schooling was in Queensland and their first singing gigs were between races at the local Redcliffe Speedway. From then, Maurice, Barry and Robyn (and Andy at times) were the masterminds behind many, many hits by not only their own band, but others as well. The Bee Gees catalogue of hits is enormous, but Run To Me is a great sing along after a few beers.
Darling it Hurts – Paul Kelly
There probably isn’t a voice as iconically Australian than that of Paul Kelly. He’s had some of the most iconic Aussie songs such as Dumb Things, To Her Door, Before Too Long and How to Make Gravy. One that doesn’t get enough radio play anymore is Darling It Hurts.
Nothing Too Serious – Icehouse
Great Southern Land by Icehouse is another one of those iconic Australian anthems that will be played every Australia Day, but the rock band from Sydney that was originally known as Flowers has produced plenty of absolute belters. Nothing Too Serious from their 7x ARIA Platinum album Man of Colours is one of them.
Living Type – Powderfinger
When it comes to 90s rock you think of American bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana/Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but the boys from Brisbane known as Powderfinger absolutely dominated our ARIA Awards and charts in that era. The Odyssey Number 5, Internationalist and Vulture Street Albums are in pretty much every Gen X Aussie’s CD collection. Their second and breakout album Double Allergic rarely gets credited though. And unfairly so. Songs like Pick You Up and D.A.F are great, as is Living Type. Double Allergic only reached number four on the Aussie charts. Their five albums following all went to number one.
The Door – Silverchair
Just like their good mates Powderfinger mentioned above, Silverchair were absolutely massive in the 90s and early 00s. And not just in Australia. Songs like Tomorrow, Freak and Anthem for the Year 2000 charted highly in the UK and the US. Their first album Freak Show, was released when the trio were still in high school and features many great songs. Their next album Freak Show is also a classic featuring songs like Freak, Abuse Me and the somewhat forgotten song below, The Door.
The Young Years – Dragon
Their biggest worldwide hit April Sun in Cuba, might get a run but they have plenty of other great hits. Dragon is probably considered by most as a New Zealand band, but the land across the ditch wasn’t where they made their name. It was in Sydney. Their 1989 album was even named Bondi Road and track one was the Young Years. A great song for your Australia Day playlist, thanks Kiwis.
Sad Song – Screaming Jets
The Screaming Jets from Newcastle, New South Wales were one of the most iconic pub bands of the 90s and Dave Gleeson and co are still doing the pub circuit as we approach the 20s. Most will know their biggest hit song Better and others like Shivers and Helping Hand. Sad Song from 1995 is worthy of getting a spin on your Australia Day playlist.
Painless – Baby Animals
The Baby Animals self titled album in 1991 was 8x platinum in the ARIA charts and just about every Aussie household had it on CD and/or cassette. It featured hit songs such as One Word, Early Warning, Rush You and this forgotten Australian classic rock song, Painless. Suze DeMarchi is one of the greatest Aussie female rockers of all time and the band reformed in 2007 and are still touring today.
Just Ace – Grinspoon
Grinspoon have had some big rock hits over the years such as Chemical Heart, Lost Control and Hard Act to Follow. But their first, and also their highest selling, album Guide to Better Living features their more raw grungy late 90s songs such as DCX3, Pedestrian and the biggest single off that album, Just Ace.
Blind Eye – Hunters And Collectors
Hunters and Collectors are famous for Australian rock anthems such as Throw Your Arms Around Me and Holy Grail. But their 1989 platinum album Ghost Nation features a couple of great songs that don’t get quite as much playtime on radio anymore, River Runs Dry and Blind Eye.
Have a Look – Vanessa Amorosi
Absolutely everybody was playing songs from Vanessa Amorosi’s 4x Platinum album The Power in 2000 such as Absolutely Everybody and Shine. While those two platinum singles are still well remembered, her debut single Have A Look tends to get overlooked. Bring it back out this Australia Day on your playlist.
Australia Day Celebrations at Lantern club
If you want to celebrate the land down under, Lantern Club in Sydney’s Canterbury region is the perfect place for some tucker with the missus, a cuppa with nanna, a schooner with mates and during Australia Day week you can enjoy dinky di Aussie specials in our restaurant MaZi.