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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - December 14th 2016

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DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER
The year ended with Radio National axing its music programs. Pick up a Sunday paper and you'll struggle to find an album review. And TV remains a wasteland. Does music still matter in 2016? There's still no prime-time outlet for music on free-to-air TV, beyond The Voice and The X Factor. And these shows have a serious credibility problem. Australian Idol had a reasonable strike rate, but The Voice and The X Factor - despite the hyperbole and false promises - are not creating careers, let alone stars. X Factor winner, Isaiah, debuted at number 26, while this year's Voice winner, Alfie Arcuri, peaked at 89 with his winning song. Cruel, indeed. But then came the ARIA Awards, a celebration of old and new, and the ABC telecast of Crowded House's Sydney show. The nation sang along in genuine communion. Maybe music still matters after all?


ARTIST OF THE YEAR
There was a magic moment on 774's The Friday Revue when Brian Nankervis was chatting to Robert Forster about one of his rules of rock, that "being a rock star is a 24-hour a day job". Then, as if on cue, a man wearing a bright yellow suit, carrying a guitar, wandered in. "See what I mean?" Robert exclaimed. "Proof!" He's a 24/7 pop star and Ben Lee is Howzat!'s Artist of the Year.


CHART WATCH
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The good news first: At the time of writing, a record 21 Aussie albums (including the Molly soundtrack and triple j's Like A Version) topped the charts in 2016; 64 local albums hit the Top 10, with 149 making the Top 40. But it was a very different singles story, with just two homegrown chart-toppers (Flume's Never Be Like You and The Veronicas' In My Blood). Only 12 local singles cracked the Top 10, with just 39 reaching the Top 40. What does it all mean? Is radio playing enough Australian music?


ROCK IN PEACE
We farewelled some greats, including Jon English, Daddy Cool's Ross Hannaford and Wayne Duncan, Redgum's Hugh McDonald, Madder Lake's Mick Fettes and Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood. Take 40 Australia was axed after 32 years. And we'll miss Channel 31, which did so much for local music. Thanks to the Turnbull Government, the station will be switched off on 31 Dec.
[Note: After this article was written community TV stations Channel 31 Melbourne & Geelong, 31 Digital Brisbane, Channel 44 Adelaide and West TV Perth were given a 6 month extension to stay on free-to-air]


HOT LINE OF THE YEAR
"There's billionaires for president and parking fines at hospitals" - Alex the Astronaut, Already Home.

*Next week: Howzat!'s favourite 2016 albums


CHART WATCH
Peking Duk's Stranger meets the Top 10, jumping from 11 to eight.

Stranger PEKING DUK FEATURING ELLIPHANT (number eight)
Catch 22 ILLY FEATURING ANNE-MARIE (15)
The Greatest SIA (18)
Call On Me STARLEY (28)
Set In Stone GUY SEBASTIAN (29)
On Your Side THE VERONICAS (34)
Papercuts ILLY FEATURING VERA BLUE (35)


Chisel's new live album, recorded in 1980, arrives at number 11.

Friends For Christmas JOHN FARNHAM & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN (number four)
The Secret Daughter JESSICA MAUBOY (six)
Ripcord KEITH URBAN (seven)
The Live Tapes - Vol 3 COLD CHISEL (11, debut)
The Very Very Best CROWDED HOUSE (17)
Triple J's Like A Version 12 VARIOUS (21)
Skin FLUME (29)
The Christmas Album HUMAN NATURE (30)
Part 1 - EP GUY SEBASTIAN (31, debut)
Gimme Some Lovin': Jukebox Vol II HUMAN NATURE (33)
The Best of Kate Miller-Heidke KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (35, debut)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
The Enemy Within BEN LEE
Flying Blind SEAN KELLY/PESKY BONES
Already Home ALEX THE ASTRONAUT
Mariachi Wind MELODY POOL
Save BENNY WALKER

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