Sweeping and remarkably complete

The years between 1975 and 1990 were fertile ones for Australia’s live music scene.

In the mid-70s, rock moved from the dance halls and campus coffee shops and into the pubs. Beer barns all over the country became live venues and the era of Pub Rock began. Many of the acts that came through those years remain both household names and commercial radio fodder to this day, while many many more have disappeared into relative obscurity.

This enormous 4-disc compilation remembers them all – 91 artists who burned their names into Australian rock and roll history by slogging it out week after week in pubs. While it’s true that a lot of the tracks here read like a Triple M or WSFM playlist – ‘Run to Paradise’, ‘Dumb Things’, ‘One Word’, ‘Driving Wheels’, ‘Take Me Back’ – complier David Laing has also dug deep.

As the two kings of pub rock, Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil take pride of place at the head of the list here, but that list is long, covering everything from international identities to underground campaigners like X and the Lime Spiders, to local heroes who never really broke out of their hometown markets: bands like The Boys from Perth, Newcastle’s Heroes and Sydney’s slavishly hard-working but criminally ignored Cyril B. Bunter Band.

There’s also inclusions like Boys Next Door and Split Enz who struggled against the movement they were unwittingly caught up in, eventually transcending it, as well as groups like the Radiators and the Screaming Jets who continue to wear the pub rock brand like a badge of honour to this day.

Tellingly, only eight of the tracks feature female artists, revealing how male-dominated the scene was, and just as significantly no song is more recent than the Badloves’ ‘Lost’ from 22 years ago – about the time many pubs, especially in Sydney, began to move away from original live music as entertainment.

For collectors and Oz Rock aficionados looking to fill that hole in their collection, this is a sweeping and remarkably complete set (except for some glaring omissions like Hoodoo Gurus and INXS), but with the decline of Pub Rock as an aspect of Australian popular culture since the mid-90s, it remains to be seen what Vol. 2 could possibly look like.

CD 1:
1. Cold Chisel – Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)
2. Midnight Oil – Cold Cold Change
3. The Angels – Take a Long Line
4. Divinyls – Boys in Town
5. The Radiators – Comin’ Home
6. Flowers – Walls
7. Models – Big on Love
8. Hunters & Collectors – Do You See What I See?
9. Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons – So Young (Live 1979)
10. The Sports – Don’t Throw Stones
11. Mental as Anything – If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?
12. Mondo Rock – Cool World
13. Paul Kelly & the Coloured Girls – Dumb Things
14. Australian Crawl – Beautiful People
15. Richard Clapton – Out on the Edge Again
16. Men at Work – Who Can it Be Now?
17. Matt Finish – Mancini Shuffle (demo)
18. Sunnyboys – Show Me Some Discipline (single version)
19. Loaded Dice – Mam’selle
20. Ted Mulry Gang – Heart of Stone
21. Russell Morris & the Rubes – The Roar of the Wild Torpedoes
22. Wendy & the Rockettes – Tonight
23. Billy Miller & the Great Blokes – Perpetual Motion
24. Dragon – Rain

CD 2:
1. Skyhooks – Women in Uniform
2. The Ferrets – Don’t Fall in Love
3. The Dingoes – Smooth Sailing (7″ version)
4. Stars – Mighty Rock
5. Renee Geyer – Hot Minute
6. Stiletto – Goodbye Johnny
7. Texas – I Wanna Dance With You
8. The Elks – Party Girl
9. Reels – Prefab Heart
10. Boys Next Door – Shivers
11. The Saints – Just Like Fire Would
12. Split Enz – History Never Repeats
13. Goanna – Solid Rock
14. Warumpi Band – Blackfella/Whitefella
15. Ross Wilson – Living in the Land of Oz
16. Ian Moss – Telephone Booth
17. The Badloves – Lost
18. Noiseworks – Take Me Back
19. Choirboys – Run to Paradise
20. Heroes – The Star and the Slaughter
21. Ray Arnott – On the Run
22. Marcus Hook Roll Band – Natural Man

CD 3:
1. Mi-Sex: Computer Games
2. Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs – Suburban Boy
3. Jimmy & the Boys – Products of Your Mind
4. The Aliens – Confrontation
5. The Boys – Hurt Me Babe
6. The Hitmen – I Don’t Mind
7. Angry Anderson – Bound for Glory
8. Uncanny X-Men – Everybody Wants to Work
9. James Freud & The Radio Stars – Modern Girl
10. Icehouse – Nothing Too Serious
11. V. Spy V. Spy – Don’t Tear it Down
12. XL Capris – World War 3
13. The Numbers – The Modern Song
14. The Church – Too Fast for You
15. The Lime Spiders – Weirdo Libido
16. The Lonely Hearts – The Spell
17. The Johnnys – Bleeding Heart
18. X – Dream Baby
19. Painters & Dockers – Nude School
20. Weddings, Parties, Anything – Away Away
21. The Zimmermen – What Really Hurts
22. Paul Kelly & the Dots – Seeing in Believing
22. GANGgajang – Gimme Some Lovin’

CD 4:
1. Jimmy Barnes – Driving Wheels
2. Baby Animals – One Word
3. The Screaming Tribesmen – Date With a Vampyre
4. Huxton Creepers – I Will Persuade You
5. Boom Crash Opera – The Best Thing
6. The Screaming Jets – Better
7. Heaven – Fantasy
8. Finch – Short Changed Again
9. Rose Tattoo – We Can’t be Beaten
10. Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs – Movie Queen
11. Stevie Wright – Hard Road
12. Jeff St. John – A Fool in Love
13. The Stockley, See, Mason Band – Endless Love
14. Swanee – If I Was a Carpenter
15. The Cyril B. Bunter Band – Last Chance
16. The Cockroaches – She’s the One
17. Tim Finn – Made My Day
18. The Black Sorrows – Chained to the Wheel
19. Moving Pictures – Bustin’ Loose
20. Broderick Smith’s Big Combo – Faded Roses
21. Ariel – Yeah Tonight
22. The Party Boys – Gonna See My Baby Tonight