This Week in Elder News – 11 April 2009
Birthday Questions Answered and a Follow Up

Elder Music: Australian Pop 2

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Today's guest elder music blogger, Peter Tibbles of Melbourne, continues his survey of Australian popular music through the years, bringing it up to the present day.Peter doesn't keep a blog, but he comments on TGB from time to time and occasionally contributes to The Elder Storytelling Place. If I haven't mentioned it, I know from personal experience that this man has excellent taste.]

To the eighties. I was pleasantly surprised to find some decent music. I'd forgotten some of these. The Dingoes, Stars, Cold Chisel, Goanna, Split Enz, Dragon (the last two Kiwi imports). Stars (the clip is actually from 1977, a fine example of "Weren't they cute at that age"). Look After Yourself. [3:56 minutes]

Cold Chisel with Forever Now [4:35 minutes]

And Dragon with April Sun in Cuba. [3:29 minutes]

The most important musicians around at the moment (and going back a couple of decades as well) would be Joe Camilleri and Paul Kelly.

Joe has been in a number of bands, most of which he organised. The most famous (at least in this neck of the woods) are Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, The Black Sorrows and The Revelators. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive; he can be in Jo Jo one week, the Revelators the next and so on. This is Joe in his Jo Jo Zep incarnation with Hit and Run from some time ago. [4:41 minutes]

Joe as/in/with The Black Sorrows performing Chained to the Wheel. The support singers are Vika and Linda Bull who have gone on to have a successful career as gospel-oriented pop singers. [3:47 minutes]

Paul Kelly is a national treasure. I have to include a song he wrote with Kev Carmody (another national treasure) called From Little Things Big Things Grow from the Make Poverty History concert (here with Kev and John Butler). [6:46 minutes]

Sorry about two Paul Kelly clips (okay, I'm not really). My favorite song of his is still To Her Door. I have no idea where this live version was recorded, but it's not bad. [3:24 minutes]

The original inhabitants of this country/continent/island/large flat bit of dirt girt by sea have been making music for more than 40,000 years. Just think about that for a moment. Of course, the now dominant culture pretty much ignored them until they strapped on electric guitars and said, "Take that, you lot." And take it we did, especially from Yothu Yindi. Treaty. [3:37 minutes]

Those who saw the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics may remember Christine Anu singing My Island Home. If you didn't see her, it's up on the tube, I notice. Here's a version without all the Olympics nonsense from the marvellous Rockwiz on SBS. [2:03 minutes]

Same song by the Warumpi Band, who wrote it. [4:23 minutes]

One of the quirkiest bands from New Zealand was Split Enz. After they split (sorry), several of the musicians from that band formed Crowded House, maybe the most successful Australian/New Zealand band. Paul Hester was the drummer.

Now, in spite of being in one of the world's most successful bands, in spite of being admired and honored by musicians around the world, in spite of being loved by virtually everyone in the country - in spite of all this, it was nothing compared to his black dog, depression. He killed himself in Elsternwick Park very close to where I live.

A couple of years earlier, television network SBS created a short series of programs called Hessie's Shed where Paul just ballsed around with a bunch of his friends. His friends being the cream of Melbourne's (and Australia's) musicians and comedians.

If you ever come across this series it's worth a look. Here is Crowded House and friends from one program with Sister Madly. [4:13 minutes]


Man, I just had a most enjoyable time going through these videos. I honestly didn't know them because I didn't follow the popular music coming from the rest of the world in that decade. I do so love Crowded House, though, and it was great to see that special video. I didn't know about the suicide....

The Warumpi Band was my favorite of the videos you shared. This was truly a perfect island song and where I appreciate Anu's version, I just adore the one by the Warumpi Band. I'm going to see if that band is still around.

Thanks for a tour of stuff I missed and shouldn't have!

The Warumpi Band is no longer an entity. They split in 1990 with each doing solo things, although they'd occasionally get together now and then. Neil Murray (guitarist and song writer) has been successful on the acoustic music circuit. George Burarrwanga (singer) was also successful as a solo artist, but alas, died of cancer in 2007.

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