The Music of Australia
The music of Australia ranges over a broad spectrum of styles and genres. While most modern trends in Australian music are based on similar trends from the United States or United Kingdom, traditional indigenous music dates back more than 60,000 years to the prehistory of Australia, and continues the ancient songlines through contemporary artists as diverse as Jimmy Little, Warumpi Band, Yothu Yindi, Tiddas, Wild Water, Christine Anu, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Saltwater Band, Nabarlek, Nokturnl, The Pigram Brothers, Coloured Stone, Blek Bala Mujik, Kev Carmody, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.
Rock music in Australia first became popular in the 1950’s, with artists including Johnny O’Keefe and topping charts around the world. This tradition was continued into the 1960’s by groups such as Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, The EasyBeats and the The Bee Gees adnt he folk-rock group The Seekers. Throughout this time, Indigenous Australian music and Australian jazz remained consistently popular.
Pub rock was immensely popular in the 1980’s, and the era was typified by Mental as Anything, Midnight Oil, The Angels, Cold Chisel and Icehouse. INXS and Men at Work also achieved fame worldwide and the song ‘Down Under’ became an unofficial anthem for Australia. Australian hip hop began in the early 1980’s, primarily influenced by overseas works, but by the 1990’s, a distinctive local style had emerged with groups such as the Hilltop Hoods achieving international acclaim for their work.
The 90’s saw an increase in the popularity of indie rock in Australia. AC/DC and INXS continued to achieve commercial success in the United States, whilst a multitude of local bands including Regurgitator, You Am I, Powderfinger, Silverchair and Something for Kate, where popular throughout the country. A small electronic music scene emerged around Sydney and Melbourne with Severed Heads, Ollie Olsen’s No, and Foil all peaking in the 90’s.