Being the huge music lover that I am, it's no surprise that I listen to music from all over the world. While most of the artists that I usually listen to are from the U.S. and U.K., I'd say that Australia and New Zealand are tied at the number three spot. When people think of music from Australia and New Zealand they probably think of artists that were also successful here in the U.S. like AC/DC, INXS, Kylie Minogue, Air Supply, Little River Band, Bee Gees, Silverchair, and Flight of the Conchords, but not many know about the other great artists that also come from the land down under. That's why I've decided to create a list of my favorite songs from Australia and New Zealand. Hopefully more people will want to learn more about these artists who are big there, but never really had the chance to do the same here.
I tried my best to narrow it down to just ten, but it was too darn hard.
Split Enz - "I Got You"
While Split Enz were huge in both Australia and New Zealand during both the '70s and '80s, "I Got You" was their only single to reach the charts in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. However, they have since gained a cult following based on their theatrical look and musical changes over the years. If you've never listened to these guys before, I highly recommend that you do!
Men at Work - "Down Under"
Men at Work are probably the best known artists on this list, but how could I not leave this song off it? Without "Down Under", I probably wouldn't know much about Australia and New Zealand at all. I would also like to try a Vegemite sandwich someday.
Australian Crawl - "Reckless"
Known for being associated with surf music, Australian Crawl took a more serious turn when they released their single "Reckless" back in 1983. I really wish more people knew about this song. I can't even explain how good it is. Just give it a listen!
In my opinion, the best cover of Leon Payne's "Psycho" ever.
I'm surprised that Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons weren't as big in other countries during the late '70s and early '80s with their bluesy reggae sound. The band had some great tunes like "Hit and Run", "So Young", a cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Walk On By", and my personal favorite "Shape I'm In".
QED was a short-lived New Wave band fronted by Jenny Morris who later had success as a solo artist. Their song "Everywhere I Go" is so underrated here in the States.
Dragon - "April Sun in Cuba"
It's bands like Dragon that make me wish I lived in Australia or New Zealand. They had some great tunes. I had a hard time choosing between this one and their other big hit "Rain", but I went with "April Sun in Cuba" since I believe it to be more of their signature song.
Spectrum - "I'll Be Gone"
Definitely one of the greatest songs to ever come from Australia. Period.
Hoodoo Gurus are probably my second favorite band on this list. They're a band that everyone loves. Although "What's My Scene?" is their signature tune, they have a lot of other great ones that should be heard too like "Bittersweet", "I Want You Back", and "My Girl". Check them out!
The Boys Next Door - "Shivers"
If you listen to Nick Cave then you probably know The Boys Next Door, since that was the band he was in before he started Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The Boys Next Door was their original name until they later changed it to The Birthday Party, and their song "Shivers" is a post-punk classic!
The Angels - "Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again?"
I could listen to Doc Neeson's voice all day long, and what's funny is that he is originally from Ireland. Australian and Irish? Now, that's something I can totally dig! I was going to pick "No Secrets" by them, but "Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again?" is more catchy to me.
With a name inspired by Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, Richard Clapton released his biggest song "Girls on the Avenue" in 1975. If you haven't guessed already, the song is basically about prostitutes. I think what's great about this song is that you don't really know what the chorus is.
After leaving Split Enz, singer Phil Judd went on to form The Swingers in 1979. It was their catchy tune "Counting the Beat" that put them on the map and they even appeared in one of my favorite films Starstruck back in 1982. This song is very easy to fall in love with.
New Wave fans probably remember Mi-Sex for their tune "Computer Games" back in 1979, but I have to say that "Falling In and Out" is my favorite from them. It makes me wish that I could hear the word "trousers" more in songs today.
"The Loved One" is another Australian classic that came out around the time of the British Invasion. It has since been covered by bands like INXS and I want to say that both the band and the song's name were the inspiration for this Australian horror film.
When people think of punk rock, they usually think of bands like the Ramones who come from New York or the Sex Pistols who hail from London, England. Not many know that punk also made its way down under when The Saints released their track "(I'm) Stranded" back in 1976, becoming one of the most influential punk rock songs of all-time.
Icehouse is probably best known here in the U.S. for their song "Electric Blue", but they are best known for "Great Southern Land" in Australia since it's pretty much a spiritual song about the country. The song was also featured in this Australian comedy.
I'm pretty sure a lot of people know this song, but how could they not? It's a classic!
The Hard-Ons - "Girl in the Sweater"
Some punk fans might know them as the band that collaborated with Henry Rollins on a cover of AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock", but the Hard-Ons are considered as Australia's most commercially successful independent band. With songs like "Girl in the Sweater" and "All Set to Go", they were known for writing pop-like songs and mixing it in with a punk rock sound. They were kind of like an Australian version of the Ramones.
Skyhooks - "Horror Movie"
The Skyhooks were one of the few glam rock bands to come out of Australia and they are probably best remembered for their tune "Horror Movie", which is about how watching the news is like watching a horror movie with all the chaos in society. It has since gone on to become a popular tune to play around Halloween time.