Ten sound recordings with cultural, historical and aesthetic significance have been added to Sounds of Australia for 2016.
Established in 2007, the Sounds of Australia is the NFSA’s selection of sound recordings which inform or reflect life in Australia. Each year, the Australian public nominates new sounds to be added with final selections determined by a panel of industry experts.
See the Complete Sounds of Australia list.
The most popular single from Midnight Oil’s breakthrough fourth studio album, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. As one of the band's most famous songs, it has been performed on every Midnight Oil tour since its release. The video was filmed in 1982 amongst the ‘Woolloomooloo Mural Project’ in Sydney. The song highlights disparities between those ‘living in paradise’ and those falling behind, and references Australian symbols and places, from panel vans to Pine Gap. The track came to symbolise the passionate performance style of the band and its lead singer Peter Garrett. It peaked at No. 8, with the album peaking at No. 3, and remained in the charts for 171 weeks. In May 2001, the Australasian Performing Right Association named the song as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
Released as a single from GANGgajang's self-titled debut album, this song became their most recognisable track. Written by Mark Callaghan to capture the culture shock of moving from England to Bundaberg, Queensland, it incorporates many of the iconic sights, sounds and smells of Australia. The single peaked at No. 35 on the Australian singles chart in February 1986. While the song has been a constant feature of GANGgajang’s live shows, it has also featured as Nine Network's station ID promotion in 1996, and in a Coca-Cola commercial.
Photo: Wendy McDougall
Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga, Big Red Car is the title track from the ninth album by The Wiggles, Toot Toot, released in 1998. One of The Wiggles' most popular songs, it describes the band riding in their Big Red Car, and what each Wiggle does in it. The song and its accompanying video clip showcase the rhyming and associated dance that is so important in childhood development, and features strongly throughout The Wiggles’ music. The album was released during the band’s push into international markets, in particular the USA, where they performed in venues from church halls to Disneyland. The album went on to win the 1998 ARIA Music Award for Best Children's Album.
Christine Anu’s, Island Home was released in 1995, as the second single from her debut studio album, Stylin' Up. It is a cover of a track written by Neil Murray, and originally released by the Warumpi Band as a single from their album Go Bush in 1987.
Anu’s version made some changes to the lyrics; rather than moving to the desert, she compares island life to the city life, and tells the story from a female perspective.
The work won Song of the Year at the 1995 Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards, and was listed in APRA’s Top 30 Australian songs of all time in 2001.
One of the most recognisable Australian television theme songs, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was composed by English-born musician and band leader Eric Jupp (1922-2003). A familiar presence throughout the 1960s and early 1970s in Australia, thanks to popular and long-running ABC-TV variety series The Magic of Music (1961–74), Jupp was also a leading composer for film and TV. The richness of the score he composed for Skippy is an example of the strength of his work and recognition from the producers of the importance of music in drama. In addition to screening in Australia, it was also translated to multiple languages and broadcast in dozens of countries. Reruns of the series on the Nine Network ensured the series had a lasting impact on generations of Australian children.
This iconic anti-war ballad was created by Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle, as an oblique response to the Vietnam War. Ostensibly about Gallipoli, it was intended as a veiled attack on Australian participation in Vietnam, which Bogle opposed. The song has gone on to be covered by numerous domestic and international musicians, and become Bogle’s most recognised track. In 1986 it was given a Gold Award by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), and in May 2001 APRA named it one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
This chart-topping single was originally written as a 60-second jingle by Mojo advertising executives to promote the second season of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket for the Nine Television Network. Written by Mojo directors Alan Morris (‘Mo’) and Allan Johnston (‘Jo’) and other creative staff in 1978, it eulogises prominent cricket players of the period. The popularity of the jingle led Mojo to recut the track, which was performed by the Mojo Singers (Mojo staff and recording studio personnel). It went on to top the charts for two weeks in February 1979.
Composed by Nigel Westlake in 1992 as a commission for the ABC's 60th birthday, the work began life in the cinema, as the score for John Weiley’s IMAX film Antarctica (1991). Performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with guitar soloist Tim Kain, it was recorded in The Ballroom, Government House, Hobart. The four movements of Antarctica are drawn from the primary themes of the film, covering the ‘desolate grandeur of the pole, the life it sustains, and human presence in the region, both historically and today’.
When Father Papered the Parlour was a highly popular recording sung by internationally prominent Melbourne-born musical hall performer Billy Williams (1878-1915). Written and composed by RP Weston and Fred J Barnes in 1910, it became a standard used by comedic singer Billy Williams, and one of his most successful recordings.
Born Richard Isaac Banks, he changed his name after leaving his birthplace of Melbourne for London, where he became one of the most popular music hall entertainers of his era, with more than 500 released recordings selling thousands of copies long after his early death in 1915.
Life Without Love is one of a number of key recordings by pioneering Australian jazz and swing musician Frank Coughlan and his Trocadero Orchestra. The song is a foxtrot, one of the new vogue-style modern dances that were highly popular in the social dance halls, or palais, of the 1930s. Coughlan led the house ‘palais’ band at the Trocadero in Sydney from its inception in 1936. The band's formation coincided with the arrival of swing music in Australia, which they played alongside commercial favourites, traditional and Dixieland jazz. Coughlan remained at the Trocadero until 1942, at which point he was drafted for service during the Second World War.