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Most popular Australian music – list of songs


Music is an integral part of life in Australia, a country rich in diverse cultures, unique traditions, and a vibrant history. From the deep resonating sounds of the Didgeridoo in ancient Aboriginal tribes to the modern-day beats of electronic dance music that emanate from trendy urban hubs, Australian music has a unique rhythm that reverberates with the heartbeat of its people. Not only has it shaped the national identity, but its powerful influence has also been felt globally, leading to a truly immersive and transcendent experience for listeners everywhere.

The Rich History and Diverse Culture of Australian Music

Australia’s musical journey is as vast and varied as its stunning landscapes. Indigenous Australian music, which holds the echoes of a civilization dating back at least 40,000 years, forms the bedrock of the country’s rich musical heritage. This ancient form of expression, manifested in sacred rituals, stories of creation, and cultural lore, has left an indelible mark on Australia’s musical identity.

The roots of modern Australian music can be traced back to the early colonial period when folk songs and ballads were born out of the experiences of European settlers. This was further enriched in the 20th century as Australia’s music industry began to flourish and resonate with global audiences. From the rebellious rock ‘n’ roll of the 60s and 70s to the innovative pop beats of the 80s, 90s, and the new millennium, Australian music has continually evolved while remaining true to its diverse cultural roots.

The Importance of Music in the Australian Lifestyle and Its Impact Globally

Music is deeply woven into the fabric of Australian society. It transcends entertainment, serving as a medium of storytelling, a source of cultural pride, and a connector of communities. Australia’s iconic music festivals like the Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Falls Festival, and Splendour in the Grass draw thousands of attendees from across the globe, further testament to the country’s vibrant music scene.

The global impact of Australian music is also significant. Australian artists have left an indelible mark on the international music scene, from the pioneering rock of AC/DC to the captivating vocals of Sia. The country has also given the world timeless hits such as Men at Work’s “Down Under,” Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” and Tame Impala’s “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” to name a few. These contributions have not only brought Australian music to the global forefront but have also set a high standard for innovation and creativity in the global music industry.

The compelling tapestry of Australian music invites us to delve deeper. In the coming sections, we will navigate through its history, the most popular songs, the iconic artists, and the country’s growing influence on the global music scene. Welcome to the rhythmic journey of the land Down Under.

I: The Evolution of Australian Music

The evolution of Australian music reflects the changing tides of the nation’s history, starting with the sacred sounds of Aboriginal tribes and leading up to the modern rhythm that pulses through the airwaves today. Each era marks a unique transformation, imbibing elements from different influences and fusing them into a unique sound that defines Australia.

Aboriginal Music and Its Influence

Long before European settlers arrived, Indigenous Australians were creating music that echoed with the raw power of the natural world around them. The Didgeridoo, a wind instrument with deep, resonating sounds, became a symbol of the Aboriginal people. Its haunting notes, combined with the rhythmic percussion of clapping sticks, formed the backbone of traditional indigenous music.

This ancient musical tradition played a crucial role in ceremonies and storytelling, preserving cultural knowledge and spiritual beliefs through the generations. These traditions are still alive today, influencing contemporary Australian music and reminding us of the nation’s deep roots.

The Arrival of Western Music: From Folk to Rock

With the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, European settlers brought with them the musical traditions of their homelands. Folk tunes and ballads soon became a popular means of storytelling, encapsulating the triumphs, struggles, and spirit of the pioneering settlers.

In the post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s, Australian music began to mirror the rock ‘n’ roll revolution happening in the United States and the UK. Bands like The Easybeats and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs emerged, paving the way for the global success of AC/DC and INXS in the following decades.

Modern Pop Era: 1980s to the Present

The late 20th century witnessed a surge in Australian pop music. Artists like Kylie Minogue, Men at Work, and Savage Garden climbed international charts, while the alternative rock and country music scenes continued to thrive at home.

The dawn of the 21st century has seen Australian music firmly entrenched in the global landscape. Artists such as Sia, Tame Impala, and 5 Seconds of Summer have won international acclaim, while the indie and electronic music scenes continue to push the boundaries of innovation.

II: Most Popular Australian Songs – A Comprehensive List

Australia’s music scene is as diverse as its landscape, producing countless hits that have rocked the nation and resonated worldwide. These songs, etched in the collective memory of music lovers, encapsulate the spirit and sound of different eras.

Top Chartbusters from Each Decade

The following lists encapsulate the top chartbusters from each decade, starting from the 1960s, providing a snapshot of the changing musical tastes of the nation and its growing global influence.


  1. “Friday On My Mind” – The Easybeats
  2. “The Real Thing” – Russell Morris
  3. “She’s So Fine” – The Easybeats
  4. “Spicks and Specks” – Bee Gees
  5. “I’ve Been Everywhere” – Lucky Starr


  1. “Down Under” – Men at Work
  2. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
  3. “Eagle Rock” – Daddy Cool
  4. “Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)” – Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs
  5. “You Just Like Me Cause I’m Good in Bed” – Skyhooks


  1. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” – Kylie Minogue
  2. “Need You Tonight” – INXS
  3. “Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil
  4. “Down Under” – Men at Work
  5. “Working Class Man” – Jimmy Barnes


  1. “Truly Madly Deeply” – Savage Garden
  2. “Tomorrow” – Silverchair
  3. “Prisoner of Society” – The Living End
  4. “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia
  5. “Confide in Me” – Kylie Minogue


  1. “Big Jet Plane” – Angus & Julia Stone
  2. “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye ft. Kimbra
  3. “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” – Eskimo Joe
  4. “On a Night Like This” – Kylie Minogue
  5. “Straight Lines” – Silverchair


  1. “Let Her Go” – Passenger
  2. “Cheap Thrills” – Sia
  3. “Riptide” – Vance Joy
  4. “The Less I Know the Better” – Tame Impala
  5. “Youngblood” – 5 Seconds of Summer

Timeless Classics: Songs that Defined Australia

Beyond the constraints of time, certain songs have etched themselves into the fabric of Australian culture. These timeless classics have captivated generations and continue to define the essence of Australian music:

  1. “Down Under” – Men at Work
  2. “Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil
  3. “Khe Sanh” – Cold Chisel
  4. “Eagle Rock” – Daddy Cool
  5. “Throw Your Arms Around Me” – Hunters & Collectors

III: Iconic Australian Artists and Bands

Australia’s musical legacy is shaped not just by its songs, but also by the artists who brought them to life. From classic rock bands to solo pop sensations, these performers have made significant contributions to the global music scene.

AC/DC: The Pioneers of Hard Rock

Emerging in the 1970s, AC/DC’s raw energy and classic hard rock sound captured the spirit of an era. With iconic tracks like “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black,” they redefined the genre and became one of the highest-grossing bands of all time. Today, they continue to inspire countless musicians worldwide.

Kylie Minogue: The Pop Princess

Kylie Minogue’s rise from a local television star to an international pop sensation is an inspiring tale of talent and perseverance. Her unforgettable hits like “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and “Spinning Around” have cemented her place in pop music history, making her one of Australia’s most successful musical exports.

INXS: The Fusion Masters

Incorporating elements of rock, new wave, and funk, INXS created a unique sound that resonated with a global audience. Their hit “Need You Tonight” topped charts worldwide and still stands as an iconic anthem of the 1980s. Even after the tragic loss of their charismatic frontman, Michael Hutchence, the band’s legacy continues to influence modern music.

Sia: The Voice of the New Millennium

Sia Furler, known mononymously as Sia, has proven herself as one of the most influential voices in the new millennium. From her early days in the Adelaide acid jazz scene to her global smash hits like “Chandelier” and “Cheap Thrills,” Sia’s evolution as an artist represents the diverse, ever-evolving landscape of Australian music.

Tame Impala: The Psychedelic Visionaries

Tame Impala, led by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, has emerged as a force in the global music scene with their mesmerizing blend of psychedelic rock and synth-pop. With hits like “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Let It Happen,” they’ve garnered a loyal following and won several awards, marking a new wave of innovation in Australian music.

IV: The Global Impact of Australian Music

Australian music has always been a vibrant blend of diverse cultures and influences, creating a rich tapestry of sound that has captivated audiences globally. This final section delves into Australia’s contributions to the world music scene and its influence on various genres.

Australia’s Influence on the World Stage

Over the decades, Australian music has made a significant impact on the global music scene. Classic rock bands like AC/DC and INXS have shaped the sound of hard rock and new wave, respectively, influencing countless artists across the globe. Pop icons like Kylie Minogue have left their mark on the dance-pop genre, while newer artists like Tame Impala and Sia are redefining the boundaries of psychedelic pop and pop music.

Australian music festivals such as Byron Bay Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, and Falls Festival have also attracted international audiences, showcasing the country’s vibrant music scene and providing a platform for both local and international artists.

The Future of Australian Music

The future of Australian music looks promising, with a new generation of artists like Flume, Courtney Barnett, and Tones and I gaining international acclaim for their innovative music. These artists continue to push the boundaries of their respective genres, introducing fresh perspectives and sounds to the world stage.

In addition, Australia’s music industry is also making strides in diversity and inclusivity, with indigenous musicians like Jessica Mauboy and Baker Boy achieving mainstream success and bringing the sounds of Aboriginal music to a broader audience.

From the traditional tunes of indigenous tribes to the modern beats that pulse through city streets, Australian music is a testament to the country’s rich history, diverse culture, and innovative spirit. As it continues to evolve and influence the global music scene, one thing remains certain – the land Down Under has plenty more to offer to the world of music.

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