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Sounds of Australia 2017

Sounds of Australia 2017

Ten sound recordings with cultural, historical and aesthetic significance have been added to Sounds of Australia for 2017. 

There’s Kasey Chambers in there, and John Paul Young as well… Also among this year's inclusions are the Play School theme, Louis the Fly and a song about our most famous cricketer.

There are now in excess of 120 sounds. This collection includes a bonus recording from Australia's Amateur Hour.

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.

Don’t Change by INXS
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
315857
Year:
Year

‘Don’t Change’ was released as a single from INXS’ third album Shabooh Shoobah, in October 1982. Along with the single ‘The One Thing’, it has been described as the band's breakthrough international single. Peaking at number 18 on the Australian charts, it reached number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart.

Following the success of Shabooh Shoobah, INXS undertook their first US tour in early 1983 as support for Adam and the Ants. The band remained on the road in the US for most of 1983, supporting Stray Cats, The Kinks, Hall & Oates, The Go-Go’s and Men at Work; by mid-1983, they were headlining venues such as The Ritz in New York.

The song has subsequently been covered by many bands including Everclear, Goo Goo Dolls and Grinspoon.

Not Pretty Enough by Kasey Chambers
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
529136
Year:
Year

‘Not Pretty Enough’ was the third single from Kasey Chambers’ second album Barricades & Brickwalls.

According to Macquarie University academic Brifget Griffen-Foley, Chambers wrote the song as a commentary on the reluctance of commercial radio stations to play her music, despite her being an established performer.

The single became Chambers' commercial breakthrough: it was a No.1 hit in Australia, awarded double platinum sales, and reached No.4 in New Zealand. Casey subsequently won Best Country Artist, Best Female Artist and Album of the Year at the 2002 ARIA awards.

Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
310545
Year:
Year

An international hit for John Paul Young in 1978, ‘Love Is in the Air’ reached No. 3 on the Australian charts, No. 5 in the UK and No. 7 in the US.

The song was written by songwriting and producing partners Harry Vanda and George Young (Vanda and Young). In 1992 it became the theme song to Baz Luhrmann's debut feature Strictly Ballroom; the ‘Ballroom Mix’ climbed the Australian charts and helped make ‘Love is in the Air’ the 'Most played Australian song overseas' according to APRA.

JPY has performed it at many significant events including the Closing Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and most recently at a Marriage Equality street party in October 2017. The song is also an unofficial anthem for supporters of Dundee United football club in Scotland, who regularly sing it at matches.

'Louie the Fly' Mortein Jingle (1962)
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
281802
Year:
Year

‘Louie the Fly’ first appeared on Australian television in 1957, going on to become one of the most recognisable characters in Australian advertising.

The iconic ‘Louie the Fly’ jingle debuted in 1962. The campaign was devised by McCann Erickson advertising agency and the jingle featured lyrics and music by James 'Jimmy' Joseph White. It was originally voiced by Sydney singer Neil Williams and later actor and comedian Ross Higgins (Kingswood Country).

The jingle, sung in a distinctive gravelly voice, was an instantly recognisable part of Mortein TV and radio advertisements for 55 years, becoming one of the world's longest running television advertising campaigns. In 2006 the Advertising Federation of Australia awarded ‘Louie the Fly’ fifth place in its ‘50 best advertisements of all time’.

Play School Theme (There's a Bear in There) by various performers
Year:
Year

One of the most recognisable Australian theme songs, ‘Play School Theme (There's a Bear in There)’ was composed by Richard Connolly with lyrics by Rosemary Milne.

During Play School’s 50-year history there have been five versions of the theme song. This clip is from 1984 and features the voices of Play School presenters Philip Quast and Jennifer Ludlam.

While the words to the song have stayed the same over the years, the arrangement, singers and accompanying images have all changed, and perhaps most notably the accent has gone from British to Australian. The song encourages children to sing along, and repetition and rhyming are a clear example of how the show is written with children in mind.

The enduring popularity of the theme song was celebrated on its 50th anniversary by the ABC’s triple j Unearthed program, which ran a remix competition attracting over 600 entries.

Brand New Day (Milliya Rumarra) by Kuckles
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‘Bran Nue Dae’ was the title track from Kuckles’ first album Brand New Day (Milliya Rumarra), released on cassette only in 1981.

Kuckles (Broome kriol for cockles) was formed by students from Broome studying at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music in Adelaide, including Jimmy Chi, Mick Manolis, Stephen Pigram, Patrick Bin Amat and Garry Gower. Drawing on acoustic calypso and electric reggae-rock styles they recorded one album, and disbanded in 1982.

Kuckles’ songs later appeared in Jimmy Chi’s stage musical Bran Nue Dae in 1990, the subject of a documentary in 1991 and adapted into a hit film in 2009.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Our Don Bradman by Len Maurice
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
190535
Year:
Year

An iconic Depression-era popular song, ‘Our Don Bradman’ pays tribute to one of Australia’s greatest cricketers, Sir Donald Bradman.

The song was recorded by radio announcer and singer Len Maurice, using his performance name Art Leonard. Written by Jack O'Hagan just in time for the broadcasting of the 1930 Ashes Test Series between England and Australia, it was an immediate hit, selling 40,000 copies of sheet music within a week.

The song was subsequently recorded by various Australian artists, including Maurie Fields, Jim Haynes and Greg Champion.

I Remember You by Frank Ifield
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
303276
Year:
Year

English-born Australian singer Frank Ifield recorded ‘I Remember You’ in a yodelling country music style in 1962. The song soon went to number one on the UK Singles Chart, where it stayed for seven weeks; it also reached number five on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The song was originally composed by Victor Schertzinger, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, in 1941 and first recorded by Dorothy Lamour for the film, The Fleet’s In (1942).

Ifield’s success with this song was quickly followed by further number one singles ‘Lovesick Blues’ (1962) and ‘Wayward Wind’ (1963). After the release of the latter single, Ifield gave a break to a support act starting out in Liverpool – The Beatles.

Australia's Amateur Hour with Chad Morgan
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
676908
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Year

Australia's Amateur Hour was a pioneering talent show produced by AWA that became a pop-culture phenomenon. The program was heard across Australian radio stations from 1940 to 1958 after beginning on home station 2GB Sydney, hosted by Harry Dearth (1940-1942). Subsequent hosts included Dick Fair (1942-1950) and Terry Dear (1950-1958).

Many prominent entertainers debuted or were ‘discovered’ on the show, including Harold Blair, Johnny O'Keefe, Bobby Limb, Donald Smith and Chad Morgan. This clip is of Chad Morgan's appearance on the Brisbane heat of Australia's Amateur Hour on 23 October 1952, recorded at the Lyric Theatre. Performing 'I'm The Sheik of Scrubby Creek', Morgan went on to win the heat, the semi-finals in Sydney and to be placed second in the finals of 1952.

The show featured a wide range of musical genres and performance types from a diverse range of participants - including Indigenous Australian performers George Hill, Jimmy Little and Olive and Eva, as well as new European migrants to Australia displaced after the Second World War. It was sponsored by Lever Brothers’ laundry soap Rinso for its 19-year run, making it one of the best-known products in Australia at the time. The NFSA holds approximately 60 episodes out of the 925 that aired.

Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer by Marie Narelle
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
189109
Year:
Year

Known as 'The Australian Queen of Irish Song', Marie Narelle undertook tours to Ireland, the UK and the US, and in the latter she recorded on wax cylinder with Thomas A Edison Inc. ‘Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer’ is a ballad from the opera Lurline, composed by Irish musician William Vincent Wallace to a libretto by English playwright Edward Fitzball and first performed in 1860.

Wallace became known as ‘the Australian Paganini’ during his time here from 1835 to 1838, during which he opened the first Australian music academy and organised the country’s first music festival, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Australia's Amateur Hour with The Reading Sisters
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
207494
Year:
Year

An excerpt from Australia's Amateur Hour episode 901, recorded 27 June 1957 at Hibernian Hall, Cairns, Queensland. It features a performance by vocal group The Reading Sisters (Phronsie, Wilma and Dulcie Reading), with guitarist Walter Pitt (brother of Georgia Lee).

Australia's Amateur Hour was a pioneering talent show produced by AWA that became a pop-culture phenomenon. The program was heard across Australian radio stations from 1940 to 1958 after beginning on home station 2GB Sydney, hosted by Harry Dearth (1940-1942). Subsequent hosts included Dick Fair (1942-1950) and Terry Dear (1950-1958).

Many prominent entertainers debuted or were ‘discovered’ on the show, including Harold Blair, Johnny O'Keefe, Bobby Limb, Donald Smith and Chad Morgan. The show featured a wide range of musical genres and performance types from a diverse range of participants - including Indigenous Australian performers George Hill, Jimmy Little and Olive and Eva, as well as new European migrants to Australia displaced after the Second World War.

It was sponsored by Lever Brothers’ laundry soap Rinso for its 19-year run, making it one of the best-known products in Australia at the time. The NFSA holds approximately 60 episodes out of the 925 that aired.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons