The passing of an Australian rock icon

BY GRAHAM McDONALD AND THORSTEN KAEDING

Publicity shot of the Divinyls, 1988. NFSA: 474258

The NFSA acknowledges and remembers the significant contribution made by Chrissy Amphlett to Australian music and popular culture. Tributes have come from all sectors of the entertainment industry and beyond as Chrissy is remembered for her unforgettable stage presence as singer of the Divinyls and for producing some of the best pop music of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

The Divinyls first hit the Australian music scene between the eyes in 1981 with the release of the single ‘Boys in Town’. Long the preserve of ultra-masculinity, Australian rock had found a feminine voice and presence that was both startling and liberating.

The impact of the release of ‘Boys in Town’, along with its iconic video clip, can scarcely be underestimated in its effect on popular music and the place of women in it.

 

Chrissy Amphlett paved the way for a generation of strong, articulate women who demanded our attention and enriched our culture.

A string of hits here and overseas through the ‘80s and ‘90s followed, cementing the Divinyls place as one of our most loved and successful bands. In 2001 ‘Science Fiction’ was voted by APRA as one of the top 30 Australian Songs, and in 2006 they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

The NFSA through its Oral History Project was fortunate enough to be able to undertake a commissioned Oral History with Chrissy and her husband Charley Drayton in New York last year, where she discussed her career and life in the music industry. Through our Music, Television, Documentation and Film collections the NFSA will continue to preserve and share Chrissy’s career for generations to come.

The thoughts of the NFSA staff are with her family at this time. Eddie Perfect has summed it up beautifully in tweeting ‘She won’t be forgotten by anyone who values danger, courage and chaos’.