Top 20 Australian Songs for Australia Day

These songs are the perfect to listen to while putting a snag on the barbie.
These songs are the perfect to listen to while putting a snag on the barbie.

Forget the Hottest 100 here is the perfect song list for your Australia Day.

Community Newspaper Group reporters were asked to pick their favourite Australian songs.

Some went down the cheesy route, some picked some dank Australian classics and others were a little more eclectic.

1. Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel

Australia’s unofficial National Anthem. It has been said that true Australians don’t know the second verse of the National Anthem, but know every lyric to Khe Sanh.

2. It’s a long way to the top by AC/DC

It’s a quintessential Australian rock song that is huge around the world. Also as famous is the second version of this songĀ it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.

3. You’re The Voice by John Farnham

This song, released in 1986 is guaranteed to get a crowd singing.

4. Never Tear Us Apart by INXS

This song, released in 1988, still appears on top ten lists nearly 20 years later. It was played at INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence’s funeral in 1997.

5. On My Mind by Powderfinger

Australians love Powderfinger look at any Triple J top 100 list from the last 20 years. Rumour also has it that lead singer Bernard Fanning wrote this song in tribute to another Australian legend John Burgess.

6. Reckless by Australian Crawl

This is great to sing on road trips. The line “Throw down your gun, don’t be so reckless”, sung by James Reyne makes pacifism sound like the stronger, more masculine option instead of violence (and we have a ton of that stuff going on with our Aussie male culture).

7. Locomotion by Kylie Minogue

This song, originally from the 1960s by Little Eva, put our Kylie on the map. Her debut single reached number one in Australia in 1987 and number five in England.

8. Friday on my Mind by The Easybeats

This song put Australian music on the world stage and perfectly captures the mindset of a young person; lament for the week, pining for the weekend.

9. I Was Only 19 by Redgum

A first-person account of an infantry man’s experience of the Vietnam War. It’s emotional, which comes from the details revealed in the lyrics.

10. Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

This song sounds better the louder you play it. It features a great line about Icarus and his dumb idea to fix his wings with wax before heading towards the sun. It appeals to the Aussie tradition of laughing in the face of misguided bravado.

11. Blue Sky Mine by Midnight Oil

The song was inspired by workers at Wittenoom asbestos mines, who were the subjects of one of Australia’s biggest national tragedies. The workers contracted asbestos-related diseases.

12. True Blue by John Williamson

This was Steve Irwin’s favourite song. True Blue refers to anyone who is staunchly Australian should actually be number one.

13. Tomorrow by Silverchair.

They’re Australia’s answer to Pearl Jam or Nirvana. The grungy boys from Newcastle released this song in 1994, it’s gritty, it’s loud and it’s perfect pub rock.

14. Sunshine and Technology by The Smith Street Band

The title track to the band’s second album (2012) is a prime example of the Melbourne act’s ability to turn the oft-heavy lyrical themes of frontman Will Wagner into rollicking party anthems.

Wagner offers a glimpse of what weighs on a young Australian’s mind in the 2010s, delivering it in a conversational style that has induced many a mosh to chant the words like they’re reading from their own diary.

15. Into My Arms by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Even if you are not religious, you can recognise Nick Cave’s feelings in this song. Cave might not believe in god, but he needs these grand, ancient biblical references to explain the magnitude of his feelings. The idea that love is his religion is touching.

16. The Horses by Daryl Braithwaite

Another cover done better by an Australian vocalist. After more than 20 years, in 2015 Braithwaite finally got in touch with the song’s writer Rickie Lee Jones to say thanks for the hit.

17. Fall at your feet by Boy and Bear

We decided not to put Crowded House on our Australian song list, so this version of their song by Boy and Bear made the cut instead. It combines my tragic love for adult contemporary music with modernity. But above all, it’s a beautiful cover.

18. Great Southern Land by Icehouse

Both this song and our pick for 19 are about Australia. This song evokes scenes that only people who have lived in Australia could have experienced.

19. Land Down Under by Men at Work.

A staple at sporting events. Is there anything more Australian than a vegemite sandwich and chundering men?

20. The Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods

The only piece of hip hop to appear on our list. This song is in tribute to the iconic (and now dead) Australian festival scene. Anyone who has fought their way to the front of the mosh at a Big Day Out can appreciate lines like “this is for the heads that’s loving the mix, my people in the front, all covered in spit”.

*No guitars were smashed during the making of the list.