Regardless of how you celebrate Australia Day, we encourage everyone to take the time to pause for a moment in honour of some great Aussie bands and awesome driving songs.
If you’re kicking around having a barbie or driving to visit relatives, throw on our Great Aussie Driving Songs playlist and rock out.
We canvassed the office to come up with this eclectic list of melodic and rhythmic gems, guaranteed to tantalise your eardrums and have you singing along top note.
Happy Australia Day!
Below is the mixtape selection.
The Triffids – “Wide Open Road”
Born Sandy Devotional | 1989
The Triffids were an Australian folk rock band and despite this song being released back in the 80s, it wasn’t until 2001 that the Australian Performing Right Association named “Wide Open Road” as one of the top 30 Australian songs of all time.
If Paul Kelly and Chris Bailey from the Saints think it’s good enough to perform, it’s good enough for our playlist.
Goanna – “Solid Rock”
Spirit of Place | 1982
This gets a few spins anytime I take a road trip out to the country, especially interstate. Passing through towns that feel like they haven’t changed since I did these trips as a kid, with the family, is just an incredible nostalgia-loaded experience.
The song, of course, also talks a great deal about the bigger political issues that surround Australia Day, so it’s a very moving story when listened to closely. When you really take it in.
Masters Apprentices – “Turn Up Your Radio”
Turn Up Your Radio EP | 1970
This is a classic Australian rock band who formed in Melbourne and produced this hit in 1970. As the title suggests, I always crank this song in the car.
With the loud saxophones and Jim Keays screaming (he sang it blind drunk), it’s one I bash out on the steering wheel every time and rock out to that much that I sport a new hairstyle.
AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”
Highway to Hell | 1979
James Wong, Journalist
Hard, loud and fast. Gets the blood running and the tune is iconic.
The Smith Street Band – “Young Drunk”
Sunshine & Technology | 2012
The Smith Street Band hail from Melbourne and formed in 2010. The band has released two albums and is famous for a politically charged track entitled “Wipe That Shit-Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face”, inspired by Tony Abbott who was Prime Minister at the time.
The single raised money for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
Methyl Ethel – “Twilight Driving”
Oh Inhuman Spectacle | 2015
A high repeat fave of mine right now, the highly appropriately titled “Twilight Driving” by Methyl Ethel.
Not sure what to say apart from the fact that is a beautiful track that has been the soundtrack of this summer for me with a blend of retro cool, meets contempo.
Cold Chisel – “Flame Trees”
Twentieth Century | 1984
It’s not merely an iconic Aussie song, or perhaps Chisel’s most road-trippy song. It’s the one song I need to listen to every Australia Day because no other song, in a very personal and individual sense, captures the flavour and essence of what Australia meant to me as I considered it from my childhood.
Given I’ll be punting German cars in South Africa this Australia Day – for shame – no other song will make me feel quite so homesick. And I can’t think of another Aussie song that makes me want to hit the long-haul road back home.
INXS – “Devil Inside”
Kick | 1987
That iconic guitar riff, the rising beat and big hair party anthem lyrics, this track nearly wore out my Kick tape on endless repeat in Dad’s Fairlane Ghia. It makes every drive a reminder of the decade that taste forgot, and that is grand.
AC/DC – ” Thunderstruck”
The Razor’s Edge | 1990
Whether you’re at a barbie or our for a drive, or just getting sunburnt in the backyard, cranking up this iconic Aussie rock track is always a good idea. And within seconds of it starting, others can’t help but get caught up in the awesome.
Spiderbait – “Old Man Sam”
Shashavaglava | 1993
Australian Crawl – “Daughters of the Northern Coast”
Sons of Beaches | 1982
Supposedly this track was a big influence on Kurt Cobain, and I can see why. That opening riff is just all time and the fat guitar sound throughout works perfectly cruising up and down NSW’s coast or Sydney’s Northern Beaches soaking up the K’s. It also sounds even better when you do it in a Kingswood.
The Choirboys – “Run To Paradise”
Big Bad Noise | 1988
Perhaps our best (worst) pub band ever?
Hilltop Hoods – “Chase That Feeling”
State of the Art | 2009
As much as I love a good Aussie pub song, I also love Aussie hip-hop. The Hilltop Hoods are awesome and “Chase That Feeling” is an upbeat fun song that puts a smile on your face. Not adverse to a bit of “Cosby Sweater” or “Hard Road” either.
Of course I wanted to chuck in an Iggy Azalea track, or even Sia, but they didn’t really fit given the pub rock vibe of most of this playlist!
SECRET MIXTAPE BONUS TRACKS!
Cold Chisel – “Bow River”
Circus Animals | 1982
It’s a song about getting out of town and driving out into the Australian countryside, so it’s perfect to listen to when getting out of town for a drive in the Australian countryside!
The track picks up pace well, and is that perfect, classic pub-rock singalong tune that Chisel were (are?) so good at.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Deanna”
Tender Prey | 1988
Just because I heard it last Saturday night live and it made me remember how much I loved it. An Aussie icon that is still alive, and the world is a better place for him.
Frenzal Rhomb – “We’re Going Out Tonight”
A Man’s Not A Camel | 1999
My friends’ nights out in the Shire started to this song.
Flash and The Pan – “Midnight Man”
Early Morning Wake Up Call | 1984
This song’s a bit more sinister than the rest, and is most enjoyable while driving at night and in the rain.
The repetitive beat and spoken-word lyrics throughout create an awesome atmosphere when you’re behind the wheel and slowly build to a explosion of wailing guitars. Best listened to at full blast.
Tune in to Aussie driving songs here
Yeah, mates, we love you too. Happy Australia Day!