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Howzat! Archive - January 12th 2011

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Howzat! loves a good anniversary, and we've got a few big ones in 2011: It's 40 years since arguably the greatest Australian single ever, Eagle Rock. It's 30 years since the Hoodoo Gurus formed, Chisel trashed the Countdown Awards' set, Men At Work released their landmark album Business As Usual, and the Divinyls issued their debut single, Boys In Town. It's 25 years since Australian Crawl's final shows, Paul Kelly's Gossip, Crowded House's self-titled debut, The Triffids' Born Sandy Devotional, Hunters & Collectors' Human Frailty and John Farnham's Whispering Jack. It will also be 25 years since the death of The Birthday Party's bass player Tracy Pew, and 25 years since Pseudo Echo released their cover of Funky Town, which topped the Australian charts and hit the Top 10 in the US and UK. And it's 20 years since You Am I's debut EP, Died Pretty's Doughboy Hollow, Yothu Yindi's Treaty, Baby Animals' self-titled debut and Crowded House's Woodface. And some 2011 birthdays: Vanessa Amorosi and Guy Sebastian will be 30, and Dannii Minogue will be 40. And it's the 10th anniversary of the deaths of Shirley Strachan and Ted Mulry.

It's the 25th ARIA Awards in 2011, a major milestone. But they'll need to be better than the 2010 version. As for the ARIA Hall of Fame, here are some Howzat! suggestions: Stephen Cummings and The Sports (it's 30 years since The Sports' final release; surely their time has come), The Go-Betweens, Rick Springfield (it's 30 years since Jessie's Girl topped the US charts), Air Supply (30 years since The One That You Love went to number one in the US, one of seven consecutive US Top 5 hits), Dave Graney and Clare Moore, Chain (40 years since Black and Blue), Crowded House, David Bridie, Deborah Conway, Died Pretty, Goanna, Kim Salmon, Kylie, Lynne Randell, Neil Murray, The Reels (30 years since Quasimodo's Dream), The Stems, Sunnyboys (30 years since their self-titled debut), TISM and X. And it's time to include record producers in the Hall of Fame.

It's certainly not doom and gloom, but many people are speculating about what will happen to the Australian concert business in 2011. "Is it still boom time on the Australian touring circuit," Iain Shedden asked in The Australian, "or is the balloon that has floated high and proud for several years about to burst big time? We'll know by Easter." Howzat! is certainly not hoping for a downturn - the touring sector has been driving the local business in the past few years - but perhaps a slight correction would be no bad thing. A letter in The Drum in Sydney caught our eye recently. Sid from Mascot wrote: "Given the chance of seeing a band you know will be somewhere close by next week or going to see some international act that might not be back over for, what, a fortnight (that's how the turnaround seems sometimes), what chance do the local acts have?" Howzat! often wonders why local punters continue to pay up to $80 to see international pub acts when they could see equivalent (and usually better) local acts for a fraction of the cost. Sure, it's great when your favourite international act comes to town, but all the overseas bands take money from the country, as well as media attention and gigs away from Aussie acts.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. First, the good news - ARIA's 2010 year-end chart features 30 Aussie albums in the Top 100 - the best result since 2007 (up from 26 last year, and 25 in 2008). But just one local album (Angus & Julia Stone's Down The Way at number seven) cracked the Top 10. Meanwhile, it was a wipeout on the singles side, with no homegrown hit making the year-end Top 30. The highest Aussie entry was Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP's We No Speak Americano at 34. It's the first time an Aussie single has failed to crack the year-end Top 15 since ARIA started compiling the charts in 1988. Just one Australian single (Guy Sebastian's Who's That Girl) went to number one in 2010 - and that only happened in the year's final chart. Overall, just 13 Australian singles cracked the 2010 Top 100 (compared to 18 last year, and 21 in 2008). The Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition has shown remarkable staying power - it was 2010's fourth biggest homegrown hit, even though it was first released in September 2008. Despite the number of Aussie albums on the year-end chart, not one local release sold more than 200,000 copies in 2010. It was a good year for Australia's Got Talent winner Mark Vincent, who was the only Aussie act to land two albums in the Top 100 (at 74 and 89). Guy was the only local to have two single entries (at 42 and 90).

Yolanda Be Cool - We No Speak Americano (number 34)
Guy Sebastian - Who's That Girl (42)
Birds Of Tokyo - Plans (47)
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition (56)
Stan Walker - Black Box (60)

Angus & Julia Stone - Down The Way (number seven)
Altiyan Childs - Altiyan Childs (19)
The John Butler Trio - April Uprising (20)
Birds Of Tokyo - Birds Of Tokyo (24)
Guy Sebastian - Twenty Ten (27)

Westgarth Talking D. ROGERS
Ambulance JUAN ALBAN
The Great Collage ANDREW McDONALD
My Little Tokyo MYLES MAYO

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