Sounds to Trigger an Aussie

Prompted by a Scottish mate’s post on Twitter about a tune that reminds him of his homeland, I got to thinking about the same kinds of songs that have an effect on me regarding Australia, my native country.

While doing so, I realized there are probably a few shared by just about every Aussie on the planet.

For Australians in their mid-60s and under, there is only one answer to the question posed by Doc Neeson and the Angels in their 1976 song, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? Ironically, the song was only a minor hit when first released, but has since became an iconic tune Down Under. Personally, I had an amazing experience with this song several years ago while riding through the deserted streets of Shibuya’s Centergai while playing this tune out loud through a speaker mounted on my handlebars. TRhe chorus played and from somewhere out on the streets I heard the yelled response. I never saw the person who responded, but to me it represented my peak Straya moment of living in Japan.

Released around the same time, and with a much greater response that effectively heralded AC/DC’s first step toward global superstardom, It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) has an opening riff that will stir some sort of emotion in most Aussies. Perhaps symbolic of AC/DC and Aussie pub rock, the song still only just managed to sneak into the national top 10 upon its initial release in December 1975.

Similarly stimulating with its opening riff is Eagle Rock, the debut 1971 mega hit by Daddy Cool, and a perennial favorite to this day, lasting far longer than the band itself did.


While all the above bands are from Australia, there is a much-beloved overseas performer who created a hit that was, at least as long as I was in Australia, guaranteed to fill the dance floors. Considering the late, great Tina Turner‘s Nutbush City Limits is the theme song of the Australian men’s netball team today, the 1973 tune’s popularity Down Under endures. Another personal recollection about this song came on a train platform over a decade ago. I was listening to Eagle 810 and the song came on and I was surprised to find myself doing the moves while I waited for the train to come. You can take the boy out of Straya, but it;’s harder taking the Straya out of the boy….

Are there more? Australia has certainly had a lot of global stars in the years since I left in 1988 and largely lost contact with the Australian music scene. Are there more? If you’re not an Aussie, what are iconic sounds of your country? I guess from Japan, I immediately think of 上を向いて歩こう (Sukiyaki) by Kyu Sakamoto as the first of many, many other examples of tunes that immediately stir people’s emotions.

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