Classic songs by Australian bands Cold Chisel, Icehouse, The Go-Betweens and Divinyls have been added to the Australian National Film & Sound Archive. The four tracks have been officially added to the Sounds of Australia register, as songs which have helped define and capture Australian culture.
The National Film & Sound Archived asked for the public to nominate their favourite 1980’s songs in August. The Go-Betweens’ Cattle and Cane, Cold Chisel’s post-Vietnam War classic Khe Sahn, Divinyls’ catchy debut single Boys In Town and Icehouse’s imagery-dense Great Southern Land came out as top choices.
Cattle and Cane was written by The Go-Betweens’ Grant McLennan while he was homesick in London. The song recalls his memory of cattle, cane, tin and timber in the Australian landscape. Cold Chisel’s debut single Khe Sanh studied Australia’s experience of the Vietnam War by tracing a veteran’s return back to civilian life.
Boys in Town was the first song written by the late Chrissy Amphlett and Divinyls’ guitarist Mark McEntee. The track was recorded for inclusion in the soundtrack for the film Monkey Grip, but was later released as the band’s first single.
Icehouse’s Great Southern Land was partly inspired by the scale of Australia. Icehouse frontman Iva Davies told The Sydney Morning Herald that the song tried to capture the Australian landscape and the ocean which surrounds it. “I was graphically drawn to describe that horizon [with] a single note,” Davies said.
10 new recordings are added to the Sounds of Australia register every year, including things such as nature sounds and interviews. This year, other musical additions included Syria Lamonte’s They Always Follow Me, the first-ever recording made by an Australian artist.
A pair of tracks by Dr Val Stephen called Fireworks and Orgasmic Opus were also inducted. The 1967 songs marked the first electronic music recording to be released internationally by an Australian on a commercial label.
View the full list of this year’s Sounds of Australia via the National Film & Sound Archive website, and catch the newly-inducted tracks from Cold Chisel, Divinyls, Icehouse and The Go-Betweens, below.