I saw a news item today announcing that the forthcoming tour of Australian group Midnight Oil in support of a new album, Resist, will be their final one. The band was a fixture of Australia’s alternative rock scene but began to get more attention starting in 1987 with their album Diesel and Dust and the song “Beds Are Burning” which illuminated the plight of indigenous Australians. It was with their following album Blue Sky Mining from 1990 that I became aware of them, in large part because of airplay on Long Island’s alternative music station WLIR. I have fond memories of seeing Midnight Oil play during the Blue Sky Mining tour at Jones Beach Theater and they were amazing. Lead singer Peter Garrett is an commanding presence and the songs have great guitar interplay.
The band’s political activism, particularly in aid of anti-nuclear, environmentalist and indigenous people rights, are an integral part of their identity. In 1990 Midnight Oil played an impromptu lunchtime set in front of Exxon headquarters in New York with a banner reading, “Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick,” protesting the Exxon Valdez oil spill the previous year. Garrett went on to become a senior minister in the Australian government between 2007 and 2013 after first being elected to the House of Representatives in 2004.
Below are videos for my favorite Midnight Oil songs. I hope they interest you enough to check them out further.
Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning
Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mine
Midnight Oil – Forgotten Years
Midnight Oil – King Of The Mountain
If your interested in checking out the band’s history, here is a video from the music You Tube channel Todd In The Shadows who talks about Midnight Oil and the song Beds Are Burning during his series One Hit Wonders (which makes a point of saying that the term One Hit Wonder doesn’t really apply here).
ONE HIT WONDERLAND: “Beds Are Burning”