Forming in the 1970’s, this rock band became popular through their vulgar lyrics of sex, drugs and rock and roll. AC/DC is arguably the most popular band from Australia and one of the most popular rock bands in the world. Despite never achieving a single Top 20 hit in America, they still managed to sell albums, which consistently went platinum. Highway to Hell (1979) is arguably their masterpiece and the work for which the band achieved legendary status. In the midst of their growing worldwide success, Bon Scott, AC/DC’s lead vocalist, died and was subsequently replaced with English-born Brian Johnson. Johnson helped them regain commercial success and a place in the annals of rock music. Recently, due to vocal problems, Johnson has stepped away from touring with the band, with Axl Rose, the frontman for Guns N’ Roses, stepping in as AC/DC’s new lead vocalist.
Crowded House was formed in Melbourne in 1985 with members Neil Finn, Paul Hester, Nick Seymour and Tim Finn (Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod joined later). Between 1985 and 1996, they had numerous hits including Don’t Dream It’s Over, Something So Strong, Fall At Your Feet and Weather With You. Due to their popularity in Melbourne, the Melbourne Museum for Performing Arts now displays a Crowded House exhibition, containing assorted collectibles and memorable items of the band.
In September 1979, INXS made its performing debut at the Oceanview Hotel in Toukley, Australia. In 1980, they released a self-titled album, which led to the band performing 300 shows around Australia. By 1983, they had gained worldwide success, cemented with singles like The One Thing and What You Need. The album Kick received many awards and the band promoted it with a 16-month tour around America. Tragically, lead singer and sex symbol Michael Hutchence fatally overdosed in a Sydney hotel room in 1997. INXS sporadically performed with guest vocalists before calling it a day for good in 2012. However, they will always be considered one of Australia’s foremost musical exports.
Midnight Oil brought political and social injustices into the cultural mainstream through their music and lyrics. The band formed in 1972 with members Andrew “Bear” James, Jim Moginie, singer Peter Garrett and Martin Rotsey. With their manic and urgent sound, the band became popular for their uniqueness and stagecraft. Between 1976 and 2002, Midnight Oil played shows 200 times a year around the pubs, clubs and theatres of Australia, while also touring in the US. Since breaking up, the band have remained one of Australia’s most beloved cultural institutions. Amongst many hits, both Power And The Passion and Beds Are Burning were listed by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in the Top 30 Best Australian Songs of All Time; the band also won 11 ARIA Awards.
Sounding like a classic pub rock band, Cold Chisel formed in Adelaide in 1973, but gained immense success between 1978-1983, especially with their hit Khe San. During these years, the band ruled as Australia’s most popular band on record and stage. Cold Chisel had a knack for mesmerizing storytelling skills which main songwriter Don Walker became famous for. Selling over six million records in Australia alone easily shows why this band is one of the most iconic. Although breaking up in 1983, they got back together in 1988 topping the album chart in Australia with The Last Wave of Summer. Cold Chisel have continued over the years on and off again.