Australia has produced some of the greatest musicians and bands of the last century. From John Farnham to Hunters & Collectors, Aussies sure know how to rock.
However, only a lucky few ever find fame on the world stage. Here are eight who did just that.
They’re known for their iconic rock anthem “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”, but AC/DC contradicted their own song, making their way to the top of the charts in 1975, less than two years after forming. It wasn’t until 1976 that the group found international fame, but they quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. To this day, AC/DC is among the best-selling music artists of all time in the US as well as around the world.
2. Kylie Minogue
She first entered the spotlight as a child star on Aussie TV shows like The Sullivans and Young Talent Time before landing her breakout role in Neighbours. The program, which already had a strong following in the UK, set her up for success when she decided to pursue a music career, releasing her first single “The Locomotion” in 1987. 14 albums and an Order of the British Empire later, she’s one of Australia’s most successful exports.
3. Bee Gees
The Bee Gees’ disco hits served as the soundtrack to an entire decade, but it took a while for Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb to find fame beyond Australia. Formed in 1958 as The Rattlesnakes, it wasn’t until 1967 that they first found overseas success, and they didn’t take off properly until the ‘70s, reforming after a short break-up. In 1977, the Bee Gees shot to stardom with their soundtrack for the hit film Saturday Night Fever, which included hits such as “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love”. It remains the best-selling film soundtrack of all time.
4. The Seekers
The first ever Aussie pop group to achieve success in not only their home country but also the UK and the US, The Seekers have sold more than 50 million records worldwide. They formed in Melbourne in 1962, and than three years later became an international hit, with songs like “I’ll Never Find Another You”, “The Carnival is Over” and the iconic “Georgy Girl”. To this day, they’re still one of the nation’s most successful musical acts.
5. Olivia Newton-John
A performer since her school days, ONJ’s first few albums were reasonably successful, and she even represented the UK at Eurovision in 1974 with the song “Long Live Love”, but lost out to ABBA. However, her biggest break came in 1978 when she was given the lead role in Grease. The film (and its soundtrack) were hugely successful, launching Olivia to worldwide fame. She continued her success with the Xanadu soundtrack in 1980 and released her best-selling album Physical in 1980.
6. Keith Urban
Perhaps even more successful in the US than his home country, Keith Urban got his start touring as a backup act to Slim Dusty in the early ‘90s before moving to Nashville, Tennessee. By the mid-2000s, he was a certified country music star. He’s released nine albums, won countless awards, had 20 number one singles in the US and, in 2006, married Australia’s golden girl, Nicole Kidman.
The Farriss brothers, along with Michael Hutchence, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Beers, founded the band in 1977. After changing their name to INXS upon the recommendation of a Midnight Oil member, the group soon became one of Australia’s most beloved rock acts, with hits like “Original Sin”, “Burn for You” and “Don’t Change”. At the height of their fame, both domestically and internationally, Michael Hutchence sadly died, but his music – and the band – remain incredibly popular.
Sia Furler spent her whole career writing hits for other people (think Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Rihanna), but in 2014, she smashed the charts with her hit song, “Chandelier”, which reached the top five on record charts in 20 countries. “Cheap Thrills”, released in 2016, became her first number one in the US. Despite this, she remains as humble and mysterious as ever.
Tell us in the comments below, who’s your all-time favourite Aussie musician?