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Midnight Oil

Australia's Midnight Oil brought a new sense of political and social immediacy to pop music: not only did incendiary hits like "Beds Are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine" bring global attention to the plight of, respectively, aboriginal settlers and impoverished workers, but the group also put its money where its mouth was -- in addition to mounting benefit performances for groups like Greenpeace and Save the Whales, frontman Peter Garrett even ran for the Australian Senate on the Nuclear Disarmament Party ticket.

The band formed in Sydney in 1971 as Farm, and originally comprised guitarists Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey, drummer Rob Hirst, and bassist Andrew "Bear" James; Garrett, a law student known for his seven-foot-tall stature and shaven head, assumed vocal duties in 1975, and the group soon rechristened itself Midnight Oil. After months of sporadic gigs, they began making the rounds to area record companies; following a string of rejections, the group formed its own label, Powderworks, and issued their self-titled debut -- a taut, impassioned collection of guitar rock which quickly established the Midnight Oil sound -- in 1978.

After declaring their independence from the music industry, Midnight Oil grew increasingly active and outspoken in the political arena; after performing in opposition to uranium mining, they supported the Tibet Council before turning their attentions to the unfair practices of the local music industry, and formed their own booking agency in response to the monopoly exerted by area agents and promoters. With their 1979 sophomore effort, Head Injuries, the band scored their first hit single, "Cold Cold Change," and earned a gold record. James left the band the following year due to health problems; with new bassist Peter Gifford, they cut the EP Bird Noises, another chart success.

With 1981's Place Without a Postcard (recorded with producer Glyn Johns), Midnight Oil achieved platinum status on the strength of the smash "Armistice Day," which won the group an American deal with Columbia Records. Their follow-up, 1983's 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, spent over two years in the Australian Top 40; after 1984's Red Sails in the Sunset, Garrett made his run at Senate, losing by only a narrow margin. Participation in the Artists United Against Apartheid project followed, leading directly into Midnight Oil's increased interest in the battles of Australia's aboriginal settlers and a tour, dubbed "Black Fella White Fella," with the aborigine group the Warumpi Band.

The aborigines' plight came to the fore on 1987's Diesel and Dust, the Oils' breakthrough record; sparked by the hit single "Beds Are Burning," the album reached the U.S. Top 20 and made the band a household name. After bassist Dwayne "Bones" Hillman (ex-Swingers) replaced Gifford, Midnight Oil returned with 1990's Blue Sky Mining, which they followed with a concert outside of the Exxon corporation's Manhattan offices in protest of the company's handling of the Alaskan oil spill. (A film of the performance titled Black Rain Falls was later released, with profits going to Greenpeace.) The album Earth and Sun and Moon appeared in 1993, followed three years later by Breathe. Midnight Oil next resurfaced in 1998 with Redneck Wonderland. The Real Thing, only available in Australia, followed in 2001. It was a solid collection of new songs and live tracks from Midnight Oil's magnificent run at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. Capricornia, issued on Liquid 8 in spring 2002, marked the band's 14th album of their career. In December, Peter Garrett announced his split from the band after 25 years. Garrett, who left Midnight Oil on good terms, wished to pursue other challenges. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Flat Chat

1. Only The Strong

2. Progress

3. Don't Wanna Be The One

4. Dreamworld

5. Hercules

6. Read About It

7. Section 5 (Bus To Bondi)

8. Cold Cold Change

9. Redneck Wonderland

10. Tell Me The Truth

11. Stand In Line

12. Pictures

13. Written In The Heart

14. Mosquito March

15. No Time For Games

16. Best Of Both Worlds

17. Say Your Prayers

18. Run By Night

x

Track List: Earth And Sun And Moon

1. Feeding Frenzy

2. My Country

3. Renaissance Man

4. Earth And Sun And Moon

5. Truganini

6. Bushfire

7. Drums Of Heaven

8. Outbreak Of Love

9. In The Valley

10. Tell Me The Truth

11. Now Or Never Land

x

Track List: Blue Sky Mining

1. Blue Sky Mine

2. Stars Of Warburton

3. Bedlam Bridge

4. Forgotten Years

5. Mountains Of Burma

6. King Of The Mountain

7. River Runs Red

8. Shakers And Movers

9. One Country

x

Track List: Diesel And Dust

1. Beds Are Burning

2. Put Down That Weapon

3. Dreamworld

5. Warakurna

6. The Dead Heart

7. Whoah

8. BullRoarer

9. Sell My Soul

10. Sometimes

x

Track List: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

1. Outside World

2. Only The Strong

3. Short Memory

4. Read About It

5. Scream In Blue

6. US Forces

7. Power And The Passion

8. Maralinga

9. Tin Legs & Tin Mines

10. Somebody's Trying To Tell Me Something

x

Track List: Head Injuries

1. Cold Cold Change

2. Section 5 (Bus To Bondi)

3. Naked Flame

4. Back On The Borderline

5. Koala Sprint

6. No Reaction

7. Stand In Line

8. Profiteers

9. Is It Now?

x

Track List: Midnight Oil

1. Powderworks

2. Head Over Heels

3. Dust

4. Used And Abused

5. Surfing With A Spoon

6. Run By Night

7. Nothing Lost - Nothing Gained

Similar Artists

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Saw them in NYC. They pulled up in front of the Exxon building on a flat bead truck and played for about an hour til the cops finally shut them down. A great spectacle and great music but ExxonMobil is still here and Midnight Oil is sadly just a memory.
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bobonit all I see across the various comments sections are you with negativity. If I may ask, who do you like? Maybe I am missing out on some of your good music? Oils rock!
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Bless you Garett and co
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If I'm not worthy of a reply, why did you bother ? You don't like my opinion, why don't you ask Pandora to only allow comments by fanboyz like you.
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while you are merely an agent provocateur, bobonit, and not worthy of reply, u are an ignorant f**k. Go troll somewhere else..
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It sounds like they found a list of all the far left causes that seem fashionable to care about and thought they were somehow a substitute for being able to play good music. Their music is annoying
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when first I heard Blue Sky Mine, it sounded like the most important song of all time, and it still does
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First saw them in 1992 with the Scream in Blue Album and they were by a long shot one of the best band who sounded as good and often better live. I saw them heaps of times after that and had the pleasure of going back stage on the Breathe tour where I got to meet the band members where I discovered that they are not head crazed rock stars but down to earth and caring guys. It was my pleasure to have been privileged to see and meet them .
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garretkolesz a r
Saw them at San Diego State 1987. Awesome.
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Place without a postcard was the real breakthrough album in Australia check out ( I dont wanna be the one) the oils at thier finest. Saw them live many times Peter Garrett was one of the greatest showman ever, its a pity he turned to politics he is now just another bullshit artist !
Report as inappropriate
Really one of the groups I wish was still producing protest stuff, we don't get enough of that.
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Midnight Oil is the best band ever! I wish I could have seen them live.
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milosdad
Love these guys. Was lucky enough to see them at a small, small club at the height of their popularity. Incredible energy.
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They really should have made their MTV Unplugged performance a Greatest Hits set...that would be as essential as Nirvana's Unplugged.
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Oils are the greatest. Used to watch them on the northern beaches in Sydney. Best live show I have ever seen and was blown away when they achieved success over here. Aussie, aussie, aussie -oy,oy,oy!
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2 music groups I miss the oils and the clash.
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Midnight Oil rocks they are Awesome like Yothu Yindi and other Great Southern Hemisphete groups.
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Nobody dances around like Peter Garret .Other thanACDC it is the best export the world has of Aussie music.Doh forgot to mention Nick Cave
Report as inappropriate
Basement Flat? Lucky Country???
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cr.griggs,

An american here that discovered the band with 10,9,8 and to this day remains one of my favorite discs I have ever owned.

KGS
Report as inappropriate
great band! always loved em (and I'm a metal-head. lol.)
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Beds are Burning now takes on a new meaning for me. I support the cause.
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telecranker
Oils make my top 10 list of greatest rock bands ever. Power & the Passion.
Report as inappropriate
They did an "Unplugged" session - wonder if that was ever released? It was a fantastic show that didn't make much of a splash at the time... Would love to see/hear it again!
Report as inappropriate
wow! they sure left out a lot of albums on this discography
Report as inappropriate
cdeems9
By Far one of the tightest, greatest bands of all time!! Oil listener for 20+ years. Their live show insane. Everything they put out rocked accept for Breath...not so much. My top picks right now are: Scream in Blue Live entire album...Red Sails of course...10, 9 , 8 , 7 , 6 . . . D i e s e l . . . M i n e . . . T h e y ' r e all phenomenal! Also check out Australia import..'Bes t of both worlds' Live Stuff!
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Ruff, and Tuff!. Stuff
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sydneygb
No love for Red Sails? I tried to add "Bells and Horns in the Back of Beyond" ... Pandora needs to do some homework!
Report as inappropriate
"...pursue other challenges" indeed.

Peter Garrett has been a member of the Australian federal parliament since 2004, and is currently the Australian federal government Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts.

http://en.wi k i p e d i a . o r g / w i k i / P e t e r _ G a r r e t t
Report as inappropriate
I agree...RED SAILS is a great album. Species Decreases is pretty good too.
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Midnight Oil rocks,especi a l l y with their awesome variety of instruments and accurate politics
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Check out Red Sails in the Sunset for those of you looking to expand beyond the puny album listing they have here. "Jimmy Sharman's Boxers" and "When the Generals Talk" are amongst many standout tracks.
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Head Injuries greatest album ever. The Oils at there rawest
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The most aware band to ever grace music.
Report as inappropriate
a mix of classic surf rifts, punk rock, and smooth vocal styles, the Oils may have actually been more influential in the philosophica l arena than U2, the Alarm, the Call, and other such politically- c h a r g e d bands... their message is definitely much less ambiguous than any other socially-con s c i o u s group in the history of rock music... and for people looking for positive references to Christ but finding Contemporary Christian Music distasteful at best, the Oils produce...
Report as inappropriate
why should I?
Oh alright, the "7 foot baldie" is now appointed as some earth saving green guy by the new Aussie President. He will do a lot of good powerful things.

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