To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) published a list of the Top 30 Australian songs between 1926 and 2001 as judged by a panel of 100 music personalities The data was compiled and the Top 10 were listed in numerical order, the next twenty were not specifically ranked but listed in chronological order. The full list of the Top 30 songs can be accessed on the APRA site, for the moment 4TR is focusing on the top 10 songs and would like your feedback.

The APRA Top 10 are as follows:

1.Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats (1966)

2.Eagle Rock – Daddy Cool (1971)

3.Beds are Burning – Midnight Oil (1987)

4.Down Under – Men At work (1981)

5.A Pub with No Beer – Slim Dusty (1957)

6.The Loved One – The Loved Ones (1966, pictured above)

7.Don’t Dream It’s over – Crowded house (1986)

8.Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel (1978)

9.It’s A Long Way to The Top – AC/DC (1976)

10.Quasimodo’s Dream – The Reels (1981)

The Top 30 list was male-dominated, 1980’s- heavy (13/30), 12 songs were from the pre- 80’s periods, and 5 from the 90’s, no songs by the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, INXS, Hoodoo Gurus, Helen Reddy, Kylie Minogue, Air Supply, Icehouse, etc. Songs or cover versions of songs written by non-Australians/New Zealanders but recorded by Australian/New Zealand artists were not eligible.

Possible inclusions in the period 1926 – 2001 would probably include the following, if a song is asterisked then that indicates that it has already been included in the APRA Top 30 somewhere between positions 11-30.

  • 1950’s – The Wild One – Johnny O’Keefe and the Dee Jays, Bombora – The Atlantics
  • 1960’s – The Real Thing*, To Love Somebody- Bee Gees, Spicks and Specks- The Bee Gees, I Gotta Get A Message To You – The Bee Gees, I Started A Joke- The Bee Gees, Undecided – Masters Apprentices, I Belong With You – Bobby and Laurie.
  • 1970’s – I’ll Be Gone – Spectrum *, I’m Stranded – The Saints*, Cool Change – Little River Band*, I Am Woman – Helen Reddy, Way Out West – The Dingoes, Jive Talkin’ – The Bee Gees, Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees, Livin’ In the Seventies – Skyhooks, Slippin’ Away – Max Merritt and the Meteors, Girls in Our Town – Margaret RoadKnight, Because I Love You – Masters Apprentices, Evie – Stevie Wright, Highway to Hell – AC/DC, Love Is In The Air- John Paul Young.
  • 1980’s – Science Fiction – Divinyls*, Power and the Passion – Midnight Oil*, Reckless – Australian Crawl*, Cattle and Cane -The Go-Betweens*, I Was Only Nineteen – Redgum*, Throw Your Arms Around Me – Hunters and Collectors*, Wide Open Road – The Triffids *, To Her Door – Paul Kelly*, My Island Home – Christine Anu*, Great Southern Land – Icehouse, Dumb Things – Paul Kelly, Leaps and Bounds – Paul Kelly, Under the Milky Way – The Church, Solid Rock – Goanna, Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House, Original Sin- INXS, What’s My Scene- Hoodoo Gurus, Choir Girl – Cold Chisel, Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield, Never Tear Us Apart – INXS.
  • 1990’s – Blue Sky Mine – Midnight Oil, The Ship Song – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds*, Treaty – Yothu Yindi*, Even When I’m Sleeping – Leonardo’s Bride*, Truly Madly Deeply- Savage Garden*, The Day You Come- Powderfinger*, They Took the Children Away – Archie Roach, Into My Arms- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Holy Grail – Hunters and Collectors, No Aphrodisiac  The Whitlams, Berlin Chair – You Am I, Burn For You – John Farnham, To The Moon And Back – Savage Garden, One Word – Baby Animals, Tip Of My Tongue – Diesel.

It’s been 17 years since APRA compiled this list and they will celebrate their centenary in 2026, so let’s get the conversation started and see if we can influence the opinions of the 100 or so music personalities who will decide what the greatest Australian songs of the past 100 years really are. Your comments and feedback below will  be appreciated.

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