On Friday night, I was at The Tote hotel watching Leadfinger do their album launch for their brilliant new CD, “We Make The Music”, and before the gig, I was talking with Stewie Cunningham (Leadfinger main man) and James Cassidy (Muscle Car’s lead guitarist) when a discussion turned to the most important singles in Aussie rock history. Now, of course, anything like this is going to have people complain, voice opinions and argue with the choices below but these are some that we felt should be in every fan’s collection of Aussie rock n roll. Feel free to add any notable worthy additions in the comments below. And keep in mind, this isn’t a list of just songs we like, this is a list of singles that for some reason or another should be in your collection, whether in a reissued form or the original, it doesn’t matter. Let’s get started…
GOD – “My Pal” (Au Go Go)
An obvious and no doubt cliche’d decision, but let’s face it, the song kicks every amount of ass that’s handed to it. Whether you care to admit it or not, My Pal, is an anthemic piece of work. That repetitive guitar riff is instantly recognisable and Joel Silbersher’s adolescent vocals has many new listeners amazed in disbelief that this 17 year old sang with such strength, heart and balls. Oh, we haven’t even gotten to the B-Side and reality is there’s a good chance it may take you hours to get there from the repeat listening of side A. And rightly so. But don’t stop at just this one song, the band recorded a whole slew of great material but truth be told, My Pal is definitely the cream of the crop and deserves to be a part of your collection if you have any taste at all.
THE HARD-ONS – “Girl In The Sweater” (Waterfront)
The first day I heard this single, I couldn’t believe my ears. From that opening pick-slide to the woo’s at the end, this song is infectious and perfect in every single way. I have only dreamed of writing songs this good. The 3 kids from Punchbowl, NSW, totally killed it on this record. Another perfectly written tune that many bands have tried to copy and failed. It’s hard to better something that is already the best. The B-side, “I Heard Her Call My Name”, while not as instantly catchy as it’s A-sided counterpart, it still fits nicely on the flip and shreds away in a skatepunk thrash style.
FUN THINGS – “Fun Things” (???)
I feel inferiour including this because I don’t even own a copy of it myself but I have heard it and I know how important this record is. It’s the only thing they released and if you can find it, get your mits on it. A classic 4 track 7″ vinyl from 1980 that is made most famous by the song Savage. If you haven’t heard it, you need to search this song out, STAT. I don’t know what else to say besides this being as essential as air and water, which would explain why I am always sick. Somebody please help me find a copy of this that’s not going to cost me the earth. Oh, what’s that? Collector scum want me to pay $50 or more? Well they can fuck off. I want to listen to the thing, not put it in a cupboard for years to sell later on at a profit. Meh, you and I both need this. Unsure of the label of the original but I believe the re-issue was on Pennimann, a Spanish label.
THE EASTERN DARK – “Julie Is A Junkie / Johnny And Dee Dee” (Waterfront)
Let’s be quite blunt and honest here, if you truly claim to be a fan of Australian rock music then you should already be quite familiar with The Eastern Dark, and in particular, this single. I will never understand people who say they love Australian music but have no idea who The Eastern Dark are. I mean, it’s like your birthright as an Australian to hear these tunes upon leaving your mother’s womb. I have an excuse, I was born before 1985, but still, I got into this as soon as I could. Kids today have no excuse except their own ignorance. The first day I heard the song Johnny And Dee Dee I couldn’t believe such a song existed. Not only was it possibly the catchiest single I had heard at the time, but it was about 2 guys who were in the coollest punk rock band of all time. What’s not to like? Sadly, The Eastern Dark’s lifespan was cut short with the tragic death of singer / songwriter, James Darroch. At least we will have these songs to remember him and just how good Australian music can get. You need this… more than you need your next beer.
BORED! – “Satisfaction” (Dog Meat)
OK, so with this last entry, you kind of have a small excuse to not own it being that there were only 1200 copies pressed… BUT, the songs have been reissued on their Chunks and Negative Waves albums so technically, that excuse is still kinda void. Bored! came out of Geeling with all wah-pedals blazing, creating a storm of wailing solos and screeching vocals. This 3 track single not only tore stereo speakers apart with the blinder of an A side in the song Satisfaction (which has one of the coollest wah pedal tapping solos you’ll ever hear), but the 2 B-sides were just as shredding and found themselves on the many mixtapes I made for friends in the following years. Armed with the dual guitar talents of future Powder Monkey, John Nolan, and future Magic Dirt member, Dave Thomas, this single was and still is a killer record of rock proportions. BORED! gave a whole new meaning to the Cry Baby Wah Pedal. Aussie rock doesn’t get much more awesome than this.