A Musical History

  • The history of UMPG is best told through our songs. At home Johnny O’Keefe was swinging rock n’ roll onto AM airwaves for the first time, while abroad the Beach Boys were plotting an avant-garde pop roadmap that countless bands would later follow. The touring ethic of seminal punks Radio Birdman helped whet a global appetite for Australian rock that Jet and Wolfmother would later satisfy.

    Foo Fighters (US), The Living End (AUS) and Shihad (NZ) would all become arguably the greatest live bands in their respective nations during the late 90’s. Peter Allen’s ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ and Neil Murray’s ‘My Island Home’ became unofficial national anthems. Across the ditch, OMC would create an NZ urban blueprint with ‘How Bizarre’ before Savage achieved multi-platinum success in the U.S. Today, Adele is breaking records around the world while Melbourne rapper 360 breaks records at home.

    Scroll through using the bar below, and click to either watch the video or play a song clip.

  • 1936

    Irving Berlin - Let's Face The Music and DanceIrving Berlin - Let's Face The Music and Dance

    A classic song from one of America's greatest ever songwriters. This version by Fred Astaire marked the track's first appearance, as part of the film 'Follow The Fleet'.

    Irving Berlin - Let's Face The Music and Dance (Fred Astaire) 


  • 1942

    Legend has it that when Irving Berlin wrote this song he called to his secretary, "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!".

  • 1958

    Johnny O' Keefe - Shake, Baby ShakeJohnny O' Keefe - Shake, Baby Shake

    Johnny O'Keefe's musical career spanned over 20 years and he remains Australia's most successful chart performer, with 28 Top 40 hits to his name.

    Johnny O' Keefe - Shake, Baby Shake

  • 1958

    The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your EyesThe Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

    The most famous version of the classic song came from this American doo wop group, and was a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The Platters - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

  • 1960

    John Coltrane - Giant StepsJohn Coltrane - Giant Steps

    A true pioneer of freeform jazz, John Coltrane was constantly pushing the boundaries with his music, and this title track from his 1960 album is a perfect example of his talent and radical approach to composition. 

  • 1964

    Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, FunBeach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun

    One of the many highlights of the Beach Boys' extensive legacy, 'Fun, Fun, Fun' featured on their 'Shut Down Volume 2' album.

    Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun

  • 1965

    Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of SilenceSimon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence

    One of the greatest folk-rock anthems of all time, and the song that shot the duo to stardom - as well as appearing in Mike Nichols' infamous film 'The Graduate'. 

    Simon & Garfunkel - Sound of Silence

  • 1967

    Jimi Hendrix - Purple HazeJimi Hendrix - Purple Haze

    The definitive psychedelic rock anthem from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, from their 1967 album 'Are You Experienced'. 

  • 1968

    Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock of the BayOtis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay

    Recorded just a few days before his death in 1967, this was the first ever posthumous number one single to enter the UK and US charts, and went on to become the most successful release of his career. 

  • 1970

    John Williamson - Old Man EmuJohn Williamson - Old Man Emu

    A performance of an original song ‘Old Man Emu’ on ‘New Faces’ in 1970 marked the arrival of legendary bush-balladeer John Williamson - the song would quickly hit No.1 on the Australian chart.

  • 1970

    Idris & Evan Jones - The Pushbike SongIdris & Evan Jones - The Pushbike Song

    Written by brothers Idris and Evan Jones, 'The Pushbike Song' was record by The Mixtures and released in 1970 - reaching No. 1 in Australia, it would have also reached No. 1 in the UK had it not have been for George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’.

    Idris and Evan Jones - The Pushbike Song (performed by The Mixtures)

  • 1971

    Sherbet - Can You Feel It BabySherbet - Can You Feel It Baby

    Sherbet was the first Australian band to reach $1 million in record sales in Australia; the first Australian band to turn their merchandising into a huge industry; and they pioneered the concept of massive regional tours. From 1970 until 1984 Sherbet scored 20 hit singles in Australia (with two No. 1's) and released 10 Platinum status albums.

  • 1972

    Elton John and Bernie Taupin's atmospheric pop ballad, documenting the lonely life of an astronaut, appeared on Elton's fifth studio album 'Honky Château'. 

  • 1972

    Sweet - Ballroom BlitzSweet - Ballroom Blitz

    Apparently inspired by a gig in Scotland when the glam rockers were chased off stage as they were pelted with bottles, 'Ballroom Blitz' went on to be smash hit in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

  • 1975

    Bob Hudson - The Newcastle SongBob Hudson - The Newcastle Song

    'The Newcastle Song' was a 1975 hit for musician and comedian Bob Hudson, the song poked fun at the working-class youth culture of the City of Newcastle in NSW.

  • 1975

    From the band's fifth studio album 'Siren', 'Love is the Drug' was built around a gloriously addictive disco bassline, and took the band to number two in the UK charts. 

  • 1976

    Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UKSex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK

    The Sex Pistols' debut single was a rallying cry for a disillusioned and allientated youth in 1970s Britain - described by their manager Malcolm McLaren as, "a call to arms to the kids who believe that rock and roll was taken away from them."

  • 1977

    Radio Birdman - New RaceRadio Birdman - New Race

    Radio Birdman performing the song 'New Race', taken from the seminal 1977 album 'Radios Appear'. Multi-platinum Australian band Silverchair would later perform the song with You Am I’s Tim Rogers at the 1995 ARIA awards.

  • 1977

    One of the standout out songs from the film soundtrack that helped bring disco into the mainstream - helped along by John Travolta's legendary strut through the streets of New York for the 'Saturday Night Fever' opening credits. 

  • 1978

    'Khe Sanh' was about an Australian Vietnam veteran coping with a return to normal life. Despite being initially banned from radio airplay in Australia, it still charted at #4 (in the band's home town of Adelaide) and at #41 on the national charts.

  • 1979

    The Clash's powerful political anthem was a response to social problems in Britain at the end of the 1970s, and regarded by many as one of their finest pieces of work. 

  • 1980

    Peter Allen- I Still Call Australia HomePeter Allen- I Still Call Australia Home

    Considered an alternative Australian national anthem, ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ was a global hit for Peter Allen in 1980. Australian airline QANTAS has used the song for many years with a notable lyric change, Rio has been changed to Rome as the airline does not operate flights to Rio de Janeiro.

    Peter Allen - I Still Call Australia Home

  • 1980

    Joy Division's beautifully bleak anti love song, and their first chart hit  - tragically marred by the death of Ian Curtis.

  • 1981

    Rick Springfield - Jessie's GirlRick Springfield - Jessie's Girl

    'Jessie's Girl' by pop-rock singer Rick Springfield was released in 1981, the song became an instant hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and later won Springfield a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

    Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl

  • 1982

    INXS have won six ARIA awards (including three for Best Group) and have sold more than 30 million records. They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001.

  • 1983

    John Schumann - I Was Only 19John Schumann - I Was Only 19

    'I Was Only Nineteen' was released in March 1983 as a single; it's a first person account of a typical Australian infantry regular soldier's experience in the Vietnam War.

  • 1983

    Arguably one of the most memorable electronic introductions to any track, Annie Lennox and David Stewart's hit single continues to ignite dancefloors today. 

  • 1984

    The Smiths - How Soon is Now?The Smiths - How Soon is Now?

    Although often considered to be a diversion from the classic Smith's sound, it was clearly a good one, as this was doubtless one of the band's best loved records, and according to co-writer Johnny Marr, "possibly our most enduring."

    The Smiths - How Soon is Now?

  • 1985

    The Grammy award winning song about an every day man dreaming of life as a rock star was one of the band's most successful singles, and also the first track ever to be played on MTV Europe

  • 1989

    The Church - Under the Milky WayThe Church - Under the Milky Way

    In 1989 'Under the Milky Way' won an ARIA Award for 'Single of the Year' and charted in the Top 30 on the Australian Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 24. On 27 October 2010 The Church were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney.

  • 1989

    The Hummingbirds - BlushThe Hummingbirds - Blush

    The Hummingbirds in August of 1989 released their single 'Blush', it peaked at No. 1 on the Alternative music chart, and No. 19 on the ARIA singles charts.

    The Hummingbirds - Blush

  • 1992

    Things of Stone and Wood - Happy Birthday HelenThings of Stone and Wood - Happy Birthday Helen

    Things of Stone and Wood released their song 'Happy Birthday Helen' in 1992 and it reached No. 9 on the Australian Singles Chart. A love song with a unique Melbourne-centric lyric, it can often be heard around Australian birthday cakes in place of the more traditional ‘Happy Birthday’ serenade.

    Things of Stone and Wood - Happy Birthday Helen 

  • 1992

    Lee Kernaghan - Boys from the BushLee Kernaghan - Boys from the Bush

    In 1992 Lee Kernaghan released 'Boys from the Bush', lifted from his ARIA award winning album ‘The Outback Club’. The song was Lee’s first ARIA No. 1 and would become an Australian Outback anthem.

  • 1994

    The Cruel Sea - Honeymoon Is Over The Cruel Sea - Honeymoon Is Over

    In 1994, The Cruel Sea won five ARIA Awards: 'Single of the Year’, 'Song of the Year', 'Album of the Year', 'Best Group' and 'Producer of the Year' for 'The Honeymoon Is Over'.

  • 1995

    “Ooh, baby, it's making me crazy, everytime I look around, everytime I look around, everytime I look around, it's in my face”. Remember these lyrics? New Zealand’s OMC released 'How Bizarre' in December 1995, and the song can still be heard on radio stations around the world today.

  • 1995

    The lyrically brilliant song about at an art student who aspired to be one of the 'common people' helped establish Pulp as one of the UK's best loved bands. 

  • 1995

    Warumpi Band - My Island HomeWarumpi Band - My Island Home

    In 1995 'My Island Home' won 'Song of the Year' at the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Awards. Written by Neil Murray and originally performed by his Warumpi Band, Christine Anu performed 'My Island Home' at the closing ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.

  • 1996

    The song that launched the career of the Posh, Scary, Sporty, Baby and Ginger, as they introduced the world to their own brand of 'Girl Power'. 

  • 2001

    Melbourne’s Jet rapidly became one of the hottest properties in global rock with ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’, the single went on to become a global smash and along with other hits including ‘Cold Hard Bitch’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’ and ‘Rollover DJ’ propelled their debut album to global sales of over 3.5m.

  • 2001

    Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My HeadKylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head

    The day the Australian pop princess went disco and never looked back - this catchy floor filler coupled with the futuristic music video became Kylie's most successful ever release. 

    Kylie Minigue - Can't Get You Out of My Head

  • 2001

    Alex Lloyd - Amazing Alex Lloyd - Amazing

    In 2001 Alex Lloyd released his most popular album ‘Watching Angels Mend’, which included hit songs 'Amazing' and 'Green', and went double Platinum. 'Amazing' also hit No. 1 on the Triple J Hottest 100 and won ‘Song of the Year’ at the 2002 APRA Music Awards.

    Alex Lloyd - Amazing

  • 2002

    Built around an unforgettable piano riff, 'Clocks' won the band the prestigious 'Record of the Year' Grammy award.

  • 2004

    The Killers' debut single slipped under the radar on its first release, but firmly established the band as a force to be reckoned with second time round. Lead singer Brandon Flowers described the song as being heavily influenced by La Vegas, where he grew up.

  • 2005

    Savage's first solo single 'Swing' peaked at number one for five weeks in the New Zealand singles chart. After the song featured in 2007’s Judd Apatow film ‘Knocked Up’, subsequent versions featuring Soulja Boy and Pitbull propelled the song to over 2.5m sales in the US, making it the highest selling song of all-time by an Australian or New Zealand hip hop artist.

  • 2005

    In 2005 Rogue Traders' album 'Here Comes the Drums' was certified 4× Platinum by ARIA for shipment of 280,000 copies featuring their hit song ‘Voodoo Child'.

  • 2005

    Bernard Fanning - Wish You WellBernard Fanning - Wish You Well

    On 31 October 2005, Powderfinger front man Fanning released his debut solo album entitled ‘Tea & Sympathy’ featuring his single 'Wish You Well'. The album debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIA Albums chart, and spent 58 weeks in the top 50 selling over 350,000 units in the process.

    Bernard Fanning - Wish You Well 

  • 2006

    This breezy, lilting, ska-inflected slice of perfect pop launched the career of one of the UK's best loved (and sometimes controversial) pop stars.

  • 2006

    Ben Lee - Catch My Disease Ben Lee - Catch My Disease

    In 2006 Ben Lee and co-writer McGowan Southworth won the APRA Award ‘Song of the Year’ & ‘Most Performed Australian Work’ for nominated work 'Catch My Disease'.

  • 2007

    After winning ARIA’s, APRA’s and the inaugural J Award, Wolfmother created Australian rock history after taking home the 2007 Grammy for ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ for ‘Woman’. Wolfmother’s debut album sold over 1.5m sales worldwide and was accredited 5 x Platinum in their native Australia.

  • 2008

    This second track from Florence's debut album 'Lungs' showcased her unique and captivating vocal style and set her on the path to stardom. 

  • 2009

    After a stellar multi-album career for globe-trotting punk rockers The Living End, arguably Australia’s best live band had inexplicably never been nominated for an APRA music award. In 2009, 15 years after the band formed, frontman Chris Cheney halted the band’s European tour to return to Australia to collect the prestigious ‘Song of the Year’ award for the multi-platinum smash ‘White Noise’…he jumped on a plane and returned to Germany 2 hours later.


  • 2009

    ‘Running Back feat. Flo Rida’ was the highest selling single of 2009 and also picked up the ‘Best Urban Work’ gong at the 2009 APRA Awards. Written by Jessica, Audius and Sean Ray Mullins - UMPG would go on to sign both Audius and Mullins to worldwide publishing agreements.


  • 2010

    The London quartet pedal a distinctive brand of bluegrass tinged folk, played across instruments as diverse as a double bass and a banjo. 'The Cave' was the third single from their Brit award winning debut album 'Sigh No More'.

  • 2011

    Adele's first UK number one single was inspired by heartbreak, but set her on the path to becoming a record breaking global superstar, the UK's very own "girl done good".

  • 2012

    Written by UMPG’s Sean Ray Mullins and Cassie Davis, Havana Brown’s 'We Run The Night' was certified 3 x Platinum in Australia before the song infiltrated US radio airwaves in 2012. The song continues its ascent up the Billboard Chart and has achieved global sales in excess of 1m.

  • 2012

    Melbourne rapper 360 tells the tale of an ex-girlfriend that cheated on him with a best mate. The song has since achieved sales of 4 x Platinum and the album ‘Falling and Flying’ featuring the Gold and Platinum singles ‘Killer’, ‘Just Got Started’ and ‘Child’ has sold well in excess of 100,000 copies in Australia.

  • 2013

    Battle Scars reached number 1 on the ARIA chart, before going on to be certified 9 x platinum in Australia, and 2 x in New Zealand where it reached number 2, giving Sebastian his sixth trip to the ARIA top spot and Fiasco his first.

  • 2014

    Timmy Trumpet's 'Freaks' broke records at home after becoming the highest selling single in Ministry of Sound Australia's history. It was certified 4x Platinum in Australia but also became a hit across the world selling close to a million copies.

  • 2015

    Sydney based electro duo Peking Duk’s ‘Take Me Over’ was certified 2x Platinum in Australia and earned the duo trophies for ‘Dance Work of the Year’ and ‘Most Played Australian Work’ at the 2016 APRA Music Awards. ‘Take Me Over’ was also nominated in the ‘Best Dance Release’ and ‘Song of the Year’ at last years ARIA’s.

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