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Do You Know Midnight Oil?

In the 1980s, there are a handful of Aussie rock bands that mattered. Rose Tattoo sang about being a criminal. No-one was really sure what the Angels sang about half the time. Midnight Oil sang about things that mattered. Social issues, aboriginal issues, CSR refusing to pay out workers harmed by asbestos in mines, nothing escaped their gaze. Peter Garrett, the lead singer, always seemed to have some sort of seizure on stage, and the band was legendary for their live performances. As a teenager, you knew that the government was messing it up, and that people like Peter Garrett were what the world needed if we were ever going to make things better.

So, it's 2011, and where are they now? Actually, Peter Garrett is a member of the Australian parliament, although he lost his portfolio due to a government subsidy program that was widely rorted and ended up in the deaths of several apprentices. He was minister for the environment, a position in which he utterly failed to ever live up to his ideals, and was regularly embarrassed on television by being reminded of the gap between the lyrics he used to sing and what he was doing now that he had a chance.

Funny old world.

I'm not sure if the Oils were ever heard of outside the U.S., have you heard of them?

Reader Comments (12)

Absolutely I remember Midnight Oil. They had constant radio and video play at their peak. We had at least one album by them, I was fond of "Blue Sky Mine" in particular. Sad Mr. Garrett's political career didn't pan out as he intended. Thanks for the update.
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
beds are burning was HUGE here in US.

On a glam site ?
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKixchix
They are definatly not glam.

A friend drug me to see them, during thier 5 minutes of fame, here in the states and I must say while at the time Beds Are Buirning was the only song I knew they were a really great show.
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterreptileblvd
I've heard of the song and its ok. Not at the top of any lists for me though.
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Loved Midnight Oil, even if culturally, I being a Florida boy, did not always understand what the issues they were singing about were totally about. The reality of politics usually never match the ideals you held dear when you are a younger person, and the world of politics are lot cruelly then those heartless bastards that run to music industry.
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterManny
Yeah, like INXS, Midnight Oil where huge here well before they were known in the US. I didn't know for sure, but Beds are Burning was a song about Aboriginal rights, on the album AFTER their huge one here ( 10,9,8,.7,6,5,4,3,2,1 ). No, they are not glam. They are definitely rock. If they wore enough make up, they would probably be glam.
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
This band sucked ass in the 80's and still do today.

Slow day in glam land?
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Tell me you're kidding. Is this what happens when I go away fore a coupla dayz? Well, now I'm b-a-a-a-c-k! And I'm with Bob. Waste of space.

Do you remember Rock And Roll?

p.s. C'mon, Xtian! There are s-o-o-o many better REAL Australian Bands out there, Old AND New -- AC/DC, Zambelis, Divinyls, Hansel, Rose Tattoo and your beloved Angels, to name but a few. Tell us more about them and others we don't know about. But check their Rock & Roll Credentials first, PULEEZ!!!
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
They were huge in Brazil for a while... Beds are Burning and Blue Sky Mine played overtime on the radio.
I saw them back in the 90's. They were cool on stage.
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucas
They were huge over here in Finland, Beds Are Burning is still played once a day on mainstream radio.
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikkeSixx
Yeah, I'm more than old enough to remember these guys.But I'm also not that old yet to remember that I didn't really care for them....
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Xtian! Forgot one you mentioned in yer previous post on The Angels!

Screaming Jets!

Now that's ROCK & ROLL !!!
September 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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