They don't make songs like they used toMarch 23, 2017

Ian McFarlane's "Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop" had been out of print for some time, but those who wanted a copy don't need to wait long. Third Stone Press released the second edition, which one reviewer described as a glorious journey. American recording artists may have dominated the music charts during the 1960s, but their counterparts from elsewhere have made a lasting influence. McFarlane, who started his career with Duke, cited Serious Young Insects. (In case you don't have a clue, Serious Young Insects were one of the bands that emerged from Melbourne's post-punk scene during the 1980s.) Let's go elsewhere.

Your parents might have been sentimental while recalling the hits from the 1980s. There were many foreign acts making their breakthrough in the Billboard charts, and a number of them came from Down Under. It shouldn't be surprising at all, as there was a reality TV talent show featuring the surviving members of INXS. They were looking for the next lead singer of the group. J.D. Fortune, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was the winner of the contest, but his stint was a short one. (The Canadian singer would try his luck in country rock.) The Farriss Brothers, who founded the group, would figure out that no one could replace Michael Hutchence. His voice was wickedly sexy, if not intoxicating. "Original Sin", which was released in December 1983, was a chart topper in Australia. The sibling's composition had never been sharper while Hutchence's voice had a commanding presence. "Kick", the group's sixth studio album, wasn't received warmly upon initial review. It made INXS a global brand, though. ("Need You Tonight", the lead single, became their biggest hit.)

McFarlane didn't list INXS as the only local act to conquer the world during the 1980s. Let's take a sound trip through memory lane:

Icehouse. The Sydney-based band recorded "Electric Blue" in 1987, which was their biggest hit to date. (The song peaked to number seven in the Billboard 100 chart.) Iva Davies, the lead singer, also played the oboe, keyboards, and guitar. Icehouse was almost a one-man group, as Davies crooned and rocked his way. And no one could do it better.

Crowded House. They were another talented group from Melbourne, whose "Don't Dream It's Over" became a global hit during the last quarter of 1986. Neil Finn, the vocalist of the group, was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand. There won't be any issues at all, though. If their fans (and those who fancy 1980s music) would only recall "Don't Dream It's Over", then it could be due to Finn's haunting voice.

Kylie Minogue. Some would compare the Melburnian to Madonna, as her continuous transformation of her public image was one of the reasons behind her longevity in the music business. Not a few noticed her girl-next-door image, as "I Should Be So Lucky" would show. It was a catchy dance tune, where she would make a mark. It wasn't a coincidence that Britain's hit makers were behind Minogue's biggest hits; "Can't Get You Out of My Head" might have passed off as another hit by the Material Girl, but Minogue made it her own. She might be a diminutive figure, but she was all over the place (on the air and video).

Who are your favourite acts?

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