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Rock Australia
20 March 2001

In 1998 Australia Post issued Australian Rock ‘n’ Roll, a set of twelve stamps featuring Australian hit songs of the late 50s, the 60s and the early 70s. Rock Australia takes us from the pub rock era of the late 70s to the dance and studio music of the 1990s.

From hard rock to pure pop, the ten hit songs featured on the stamps highlight the diversity of the Australian contemporary music scene. All were great hits that found their way into the hearts of the music-loving public. Each of them said something about us, and told the rest of the world this is what popular culture sounds like, and it has an Australian accent.

‘Khe Sanh’ (1978) Cold Chisel
One of the best hard rock bands in the country, Cold Chisel built their success from live performances in the heyday of pub rock. ‘Khe Sanh’, their first hit from their first album became their signature song.

‘Down under’ (1981) Men at Work
Men at Work achieved extraordinary international success with a flippant pop style. ‘Down under’ was in the charts (for 18 weeks) in 1981-82, recharted in 1983 and 1987.

‘Power and the passion’ (1983) Midnight Oil
A combination of outspoken politics and hard-driving rock‘n’roll won ‘The Oils’ international success and a special place in Australian rock history. ‘Power and the passion’, was just one of many hits from their fourth album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, which stayed in the charts for more than three and a half years.

‘Original sin’ (1984) INXS
The band’s melding of rock, funk and modern dance rhythms in ‘Original sin’ resulted in their first (of many) Australian and international hits

‘You’re the voice’ (1986) John Farnham
John Farnham’s career started in the 60s and continues strong today. ‘You’re the voice’, from Whispering Jack (October 1986) was enormously successful.

‘Don’t dream it’s over’ (1986) Crowded House
The first album by Crowded House sold more than one million copies in America alone. ‘Don’t dream it’s over’, released as the single, won Best Australian Song at the 1986 Australian Record Industry Association awards, the first of many such accolades for the group.

Treaty’ (1991) Yothu Yindi
The band members hail from the north-eastern Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala. Their music combines rock‘n’roll music with ancient song cycles and traditional dance performances. Yothu Yindi became the first Aboriginal band to achieve a Top 40 hit in Australia with their single‘Treaty’ from the album of the same name.

‘Tomorrow’ (1994) silverchair
The three school mates that formed silverchair were just fifteen when their debut album, Frogstomp, and its hit single, ‘Tomorrow’, became instant international hits.

‘Confide in me’ (1994) Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue – one of Australia’s most successful pop exports–marked her arrival as the dance diva with the dance anthem ‘Confide in me’.

‘Truly, madly, deeply’ (1997) Savage Garden
Savage Garden spent almost a year in a home studio writing and recording. They sent more than 150 unsolicited demonstration tapes to record companies and publishers before their diligence was rewarded. Their first album entered the charts at no.1 and stayed there for nineteen weeks! ‘Truly, madly, deeply’ topped the charts in the USA as well as Australia and was certified as the most played song on American radio for 1998.

This compact disc celebrates the fantastic and richly diverse Australian writing and musical talents with everything from pub rock to international pop music.

The CD features* (songs on the stamps)
INXS: ‘Original Sin’, John Farnham: ‘You’re the Voice’, Men at work: ‘Down Under’, Crowded House: ‘Don’t dream it’s over’, Yothu Yindi: ‘Treaty’, silverchair: ‘Tomorrow’, Kylie Minogue: ‘Confide in Me’, Cold Chisel: ‘Khe Sahn’, Midnight Oil: ‘Power and the Passion’; and a song by Savage Garden: Also includes: Kate Cebrano:’Pash’, Australian Crawl: ‘Reckless’, Paul Kelly: ‘Leaps and Bounds’, Nick Cave: ‘Are you the one I’ve been waiting for’, Christine Anu: ‘Party’, Icehouse: ‘Great Southern Land’, The Black Sorrows: ‘Chained to the Wheel’

Rock Australia, Songs of the 80s and 90s (book)
The 80s and 90s brought us music that was exciting and energetic, with a healthy dose of introspection. It was music that recognised our identity and nurtured an emerging cultural pride. Using the musical entities behind the ten iconic songs featured in the stamp issue, this book celebrates the songs that spoke to us, and for us at home and around the world. As the author, Glen A. Baker–himself a legend in the Australian music industry–writes in the introduction: “Within these pages are ten of our most impressive musical entities from vital, pivotal years...”





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