With Australian singer-songwriter, one-man band and noted didgeridoo enthusiast Xavier Rudd stopping in town this week, we thought this would be a great excuse to compile a Top 10 list of our favorite Australian musical imports. (It was also a great excuse to use the term "didgeridoo enthusiast.")
10. (tie) Kylie Minogue & Olivia Newton-John: These beautiful "sheilas" provided two of the most infectious dance-pop hits of the '80s with "The Loco-Motion" and "Physical," respectively. Newton-John has enjoyed greater success here in the U.S., but Minogue has been much more prolific in recent years. Both have survived breast cancer and are undeniable babes, so we're calling it a toss-up.
9. Rick Springfield: In the early '80s, Springfield was the hunk du jour for women of all ages. Whether he was playing Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital or mulling over the "bros before hos" code in his chart-topper "Jesse's Girl," Springfield struck a chord with American women that few have matched.
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Xavier Rudd is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 24.
8. Wolfmother: Wolfmother has already jettisoned two-thirds of its original lineup since its 2005 self-titled debut. But if singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale can replicate the fuzzed-out, retro-rock magic of that album with his new bandmates, Wolfmother should be moving up this list rapidly. The band (now a foursome) is expected to release its sophomore effort later this year.
7. The Datsuns: Okay, so the Datsuns are technically from New Zealand, but the accent is the same. We just couldn't resist sneaking them into this list to piss off any Aussies who might be reading this (and also because they flat-out rock).
6. Men at Work: Yet another early-'80s success story, Men at Work were the first (and, so far, only) Australian band to simultaneously hold the No. 1 positions on Billboard's album and singles charts with Business as Usual and "Down Under," respectively.
5. INXS: If there's a song out there that's easier to get stuck in your head than INXS's 1987 smash "Need You Tonight," we have yet to hear it. You don't even need to actually hear the song; just thinking about it can alter the course of your day. Dunt-dunt-dunt-dananana-nanana-nunt. Oh, God, it's happening again . . .
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4. Nick Cave: From his beginnings in goth pioneers The Birthday Party to his current work as bandleader of the Bad Seeds and singer/guitarist of Grinderman, Cave's dark baritone has haunted listeners around the world for more than three decades. He might not have sold as many albums as some of the other acts on this list, but his influence is undeniable.
3. The Bee Gees: Disco might be the most reviled genre in music history, but the fact that the brothers Gibb managed to continue to create enduring classics during such a sad era only cements their legacy. The Bee Gees' pop hooks and gorgeous harmonies ensured that their music would be remembered long after we forgot about leisure suits and platform shoes.
2. AC/DC: With apologies to the Ramones, no band has gone farther on three chords and a cloud of dust than AC/DC. The band's magnum opus, Back in Black, is the second-best-selling album of all time, trailing only Michael Jackson's Thriller. Not bad for a beer-swilling pub band from Sydney.
1. Blood Duster: Heavier than AC/DC and funnier than Yahoo Serious, Blood Duster combine grindcore blastbeats with Southern rock grooves to surprisingly catchy results. Punctuation might not be their strong suit, but on songs like "IWannaDoItWithADonna" and "HippieKillTeam," Blood Duster unrepentantly celebrates the joys of sex, drugs, red meat, and rock 'n' roll.