With all the great Aussie music we’ve been blessed with over the years I thought it was time to sit down and work out which songs are the best of the best.
But where to start?
Since 1958 there have been over 6200 songs released by Australian artists that have made it onto on either of the two most recognised charts (AMR and ARIA) so it was not going to be an easy task to narrow it down to just 500.
The charts actually go back to 1950 but there were so few Aussie releases prior to 1958 that it wasn’t worth worrying about them. Starting from there would also make it a neat 60 years of music to choose from.
So to set some rules I decided this was a good place to start; by limiting eligible songs to those that managed to crack the top 100 singles charts from 1958 to 2017. The only other rule I had was that I would only include “cover” songs if they are significantly different too or improved upon the original. Also there was one notable release that I didn’t include because it’s not a “song”. The down side to this meant that there could potentially be a lot of great or iconic songs that might miss out. As unfortunate as that may be, there needed to be a limiting criteria.
Also, make no mistake; the songs on the list are those that I like. Similar to many “Top” lists this IS a subjective list. Even though I have used chart position as one selector there are no other measurable statistics that prove a song even deserves to be on this list let alone that one might be better than another. Plenty of chart topping songs from over the years missed out mainly because I don’t rate them as much as those that did make this list.
Still, I really had to get out of my comfort zone and give as many notable Aussie artists a go as possible, including those that I don’t normally listen too. Not every artist got a mention just because they released a heap of singles, in fact plenty missed out. However I tried to get at least one single from as many of the best and most well known artists as possible, although it wasn’t always their best charting songs. There’s something from every decade and something from nearly every genre.
Having said that, if one of your favourite artists or songs didn’t make the list, or you just don’t agree with the order, then make your own list and include whoever you want. But be warned; it’s harder than it looks.
The first two hundred or so pretty much pick themselves and would appear on most lists, although probably in different order. After that, you’ll realize that some pruning of your choices is needed due to there being so many great Aussie songs.
No doubt some of you will have different tastes depending on your age and musical preferences but if you want to have a crack I say “go for it”. If you have half as much fun as I did then you’re in for a real treat. Just make sure to leave a link to your list in the comments below.
Before we get to the list, here are some interesting statistics for those that are that way inclined:
441 – Songs that made it into the top 40
260 – Songs that made it into the top 10
235 – Number of artists represented
99 – Artists with multiple entries
85 – Worst position by a charting song (Mark Seymour – Last Ditch Cabaret)
74 – Songs that reached number 1
14 – Most entries by a single artist (INXS)
Performance by decade
50’s – 1
60’s – 15
70’s – 72
80’s – 219
90’s – 122
00’s – 66
10’s – 6
As you can see I’m a bit of an eighties kid so my preferences are skewed a little towards that time. But that doesn’t mean the songs are any less deserving of a spot on the list.
So with all of that out of the way it’s on to the list.
Depending on whether you’re viewing the list on your mobile or desktop you can sort the list by any of the columns and a few other neat things.
I’ve also included a player at the bottom of the page although at the moment it loads from #1 upwards. If you want the TRUE countdown experience make sure to use the sort button at the bottom of the player to play from number five hundred down to number one.
Preset with id 8 does not exist!
Main playlist with id 0 does not exist!