THE tongue-twisting country tribute to Australian towns, a celebrity whale’s song and the timeless protest anthem Solid Rock are among this year’s inductees to the Sounds of Australia.
Now enshrined in the National Film and Sound Archive, I’ve Been Everywhere, Man, written by country artist Geoff Mack and made a No. 1 hit in 1962 by Lucky Starr, listed 94 Australians locations at speed.
Its Australian chart success inspired Mack to write an American version which went to No. 1 in the US and was later recorded by Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Powderfinger’s enduring existential lament These Days also made the cut this year, almost two decades after it was written for the offbeat crime caper Two Hands.
While the song was never released as an official single, it would top Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2000 and became an epic singalong at their farewell concerts in 2010.
“These Days almost wrote itself and was based on a very simple motif that circles around the same four chords and lyrics that lament time and the pressure it places in our daily lives,” the band said in a prepared statement.
“The repetition was intentional and reinforces its simple message. Given that it was never a single, it is surprising that it has become one of our most enduring and loved songs.”
Still sounding as iconic and powerful now as when Shane Howard wrote it after a 10-day camping trip to Uluru, Goanna’s Solid Rock joins the prestigious list this year.
Released in 1982, Solid Rock would go on to win best debut single at the Countdown Awards but more importantly, put indigenous land rights back on the political map.
Howard said while at Australia’s red heart, he saw “an incredible injustice that needed to be
dealt with … I had to reassess my whole relationship with the land and the landscape,
and understand that we had come from somewhere else, and we had disempowered
a whole race of people when we arrived.”
Gurrumul’s self-titled debut album, released just a decade ago, has also been included in the 2018 Sounds Of Australia.
The album introduced the naturally gifted singer and songwriter to the world, promoting indigenous language as its cultural custodians fight to keep it alive.
But the sounds to make it onto this year’s list aren’t all songs.
The much-loved, rare albino whale Migaloo is one of the vocal stars of Songlines: Song of the East Australian Humpback Whales, field recordings of the whales singing during their annual migration.
And the Binny Lum Collection features the Melbourne broadcaster’s collection of interviews from 1955 to 1967, including her chats with The Beatles, Barbra Streisand and Dame Joan Sutherland.
The 2018 Sounds of Australia
1905 Caro Mio Ben — Ada Crossley: A prominent turn-of-the century opera singer.
1926 Freshie/After the Dawn — Sydney Simpson and his Wentworth Café Orchestra: After the Dawn is the first entirely Australian recording, composed, performed, recorded and pressed by Australians.
1955-1967 Binny Lum Collection — Binny Lum and interviewees.
1959 Come Closer to Me — Pilita Corrales: A Filipino woman singing in Spanish was one of the first female singers to make the Australian charts with a locally produced record.
1962 I’ve Been Everywhere — Lucky Starr. There are more than 131 versions of this song.
1976 Girls in Our Town — Margret RoadKnight: An empowering song about the trials and tribulations of teenage girls during the 1970s era of women’s liberation.
1982 Solid Rock — Goanna.
1992-2008 Songlines: Songs of the East Australian Humpback Whales — Mark Franklin:
1999 These Days — Powderfinger.
2008 Gurrumul — Gurrumul.