After DJing in Perth for as long as we have, we’ve heard our fair few drunken singalongs and we’re willing to bet that your Uncle Barry would support an anthem penned by ACDC over Advance Australia Fair any day of the week. So to show that we can do more than just DJ hire, we tried our hand at selecting a new Aussie Anthem – one that’s truly for the people. So please be upstanding, and let us know in the comments what your choice would be, or what we forgot!
Khe Sahn – Cold Chisel
At first listen, Barnesy’s tale of a baby boomer veteran struggling with his PTSD demons following a stint in Vietnam seems like an unlikely subject for a pub rock anthem. But when you get hooked but the catchy singable melodies and realise how much it resonated with the man on the street’s experience at the time of its release, it all starts to make sense. Many people consider Khe Sahn to be the greatest piece of Australian music ever written – and for good reason, its an exceptional track. As its so singularly brilliant and doesn’t fit well with modern pop, but if you are looking at DJ hire if he or she is a good DJ they should play it for you.
You’re the Voice – John Farnham
It’s one of very few modern pop songs to successfully incorporate a bagpipe solo, and it’s also perhaps the most iconic and well-known entry on this list, but did you know the drums you hear in this classic track are the doors of Farnham’s Porsche being slammed and then sampled? Missing a huge protest they’d intended to attend by accidentally sleeping in was the writer’s inspiration for the urgent claim that the listener is ‘the voice’. It has been played at protests ever since, and urged us all to take a look at each other, down the barrel of a gun.
Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? (No Way! Get Fucked! Fuck Off!).
The expletive ridden retort that follows the lyrics ‘Am I Ever Gonna See your Face Again’ has become as legendary as the song itself. Legend has it that a Police Blue Light Disco DJ instigated the fiery addendum by turning down the volume and encouraging the kids in attendance to scream it back at him. It caught on with older students and teachers, who began singing it at the Angel’s live shows. Now immovably fused with the song, the N.W.G.F.F.O lyric has echoed through time onto today’s dance floors, and we pay tribute to its origins in the sweaty, booze drenched pub crowds of the 70s and 80s.
Run to Paradise – The Choirboys
Another classic track that’s lyrics are about something quite sobering – ‘Run to Paradise’ is about escapism through drug use and turning your back on friends and family ‘you don’t need a friend when you can score’, ‘you don’t need anyone’. Its bouncy upbeat tone belies its true meaning, which I’m sure few people are considering when they joyfully yell out the lyrics. While tackling a serious topic it no less of an anthem, and we’re glad to include it on this list.
Eagle Rock – Daddy Cool
The Angels aren’t the only Aussie band to incite a bit of larrikin audience participation. In a rite passed down from Drunk uncles and fathers to sons, it is said that upon hearing the Daddy Cool track ‘Eagle Rock’ all the males on the dance floor are to perform a ‘down trou’: linking arms, dropping their trousers to their ankles and hobbling around in their underpants. The exact origins of the practice are unclear, however the most common theory is it was conceived by a group of engineers at the University of Queensland. The official rules of the University state that no student shall be ejected from any of their bars for dropping their trousers when Eagle Rock is played.
You Shook me All Night Long – ACDC
This classic from Akka Dakka is just a straight-up 100% raw 70s rock anthem with more bang than a supercharged V8 commodore. It was the first single to feature Brian Johnson, who replaced Bon Scott following his untimely demise. Fun fact: Bon Scott’s real first name was Ronald. When he moved from Scotland to Australia, the other kids made fun of him by calling him Bonnie Scotland, which he shortened to Bon Scott.
Paul Kelly – To Her Door
The tale of custody battles, alcoholism and second chances is a bittersweet and quintessentially Australian ballad by master raconteur Paul Kelly. It has a sweet sincerity to it that manages to take an essentially rather sad story and make it feel joyful. Paul Kelly has stated that the lyrics and melodies took him a seven-year period to put together, and the track is still on regular rotation thirty years after its release in 1987.
What’s my Scene – Hoodoo Gurus
By far the biggest Australian single for the alt-rock Gurus, ‘What’s My Scene’ is an ageless rock classic than ignites pubs and clubs alike and is a very worthy contender for an alternate Aussie anthem (or at least an Aussie BBQ anthem). With a chorus consisting mainly of just three words (‘whats’, ‘my’ and ‘scene’) it’s a sing along everyone can get behind.
Holy Grail – Hunters and Collectors
Associated with the AFL as its official theme for many years, the twelve note piano intro is a huge dance floor puller, and the lyrics describing a medieval quest are infectiously fun. The protagonist’s quest for the holy grail is actually inspired by Napoleon’s doomed 1812 March into Russia, guided by an insatiable desire for ‘the holy grail’. In its use in AFL and other sports, the Holy Grail alludes to the premiership cup – of which there can be only one winner. Regardless of the lyrical symbolism, its just a bloody good song, and one that we love to play.
INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
Da, Da, Da, Dun! Is there anything more iconic than the four-note riff that follows Michael Hutchence’s declaration that they could NEVER tear us apart? While it’s brilliant but not exactly danceable, this behemoth of a track is perfect for a late-night drunken sing-along. The kind where the whole family is drunkenly swaying, hugging each other and saying ‘Why do we only do this at Christmas?’.