Learning intentions Aims: • To explore how the development of popular music in Australia reflects changing attitudes and ideas of identity (both within Australia and overseas) Outcomes: • Students will know a basic chronology of developments in popular music (1950-present). • Students will demonstrate the ability to articulate an appreciation and understanding of how developments in popular music, in Australia, reflect changing attitudes and ideas of identity.
An overview Watch the following: A brief history of Australian music (8.56) While watching think about the following… • Which songs / clips could you tell where by Australian artists? How? Do they sing in “Aussie accents”? Do they “look” Australian? Do they have Australian settings? • Which songs / clips might you have thought were from overseas? • Do any of the songs deal with distinctly Australian themes? If so , what are these? Briefly discuss.
The evolution of Bon Scott Who is Bon Scott? Bon Scott was the lead singer for AC/DC, probably Australia’s most successful and well known band both at home and internationally. In the July 2004 issue of Classic Rock, Scott was rated as number one in a list of the “100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time” ahead of Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin). His humour and larrikin attitude set Bon Scott up as a quintessential Aussie… Yet like many quintessential “Aussies” Bon Scott was not actually born in Australia. Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was born in Scotland in 1946, before moving to Melbourne with his family in 1952 at the age of six. The family lived in the suburb of Sunshine for 4 years before moving to Fremantle, Western Australia. When most people think of Bon Scott they picture him with AC/DC.
But before he was in AC/DC Bon Scott was in the Valentines (1968-70) Watch the following clip: The Valentines (2:50 …stop when it identifies Scott) Does this strike you as a particularly Australian song /clip? Watch the following clip: Fraternity (3.36 …watch as much as you like) How has Scott and the music changed? What influences can you detect here?
Finally, watch Bon Scott with AC/DC as most people remember him: It’s a long way to the top if you want to Rock’n’Roll (5.20…watch at least to 2.00) Do you recognise the city where this is filmed? What does it tell us that this is filmed here? What instrument is Scott playing? Is this a traditional Australian instrument? What country is it usually associated with? What does this tell us about Australian identity?
Watch the following clips: Midnight Oil, Power And The Passion (4:52) • Stop at 54 sec – What does the poster on the pillar say? What does this tell us about the Australia-England-America relationship? • Watch 1:18 – 1:50 – What image of Australia is being portrayed here? INXS, Kiss The Dirt (3:49; watch the first minute or so) • INXS were on the verge of becoming the biggest act in the world. What image of Australia does this clip “sell”?
INXS and Midnight Oil thrust Australian music onto the world stage. Midnight Oil’s political stance thrust a particularly Australian issue into the consciousness of Australians and the World… Watch the following clip: Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning (4:37) Write five words that express your opinion of the image of Australia portrayed here.
Treaty The 90’s saw a growing awareness of aboriginal issues being expressed in Australian music. Midnight Oil were at the forefront of this. But it was probably Yothu Yindi, an Australian band with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members, that really brought this issue home with their song Treaty. Interestingly this song was co-written by a non-Aborigine, Paul Kelly. Kelly is arguably Australia’s preeminent song writer, whose songs capture the essence of Australia. Treaty was written by Paul Kelly and Yothu Yindi members Mandawuy Yunupingu, Kellaway, Williams, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Mununggurr and Marika. The initial release had little interest, but after it was remixed as a dance track the song peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) singles charts. The song contains lyrics in both English and in Yolngu matha. Success for the single was transferred to the related album Tribal Voice, released in September 1991, and which peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA albums charts. Watch the following clip: Yothu Yindi, Treaty (3:38)
Australian music across the decades In 1945 the chart were dominated by the American crooner, Bing Crosby. Read the handout: ‘Timeline of trends in Australian music.’ Think back A brief history of Australian music (8.56) Question: With reference to some of the artists and music we have considered, explain how developments in popular Australian music reflect changing attitudes and ideas of identity.