Friday, August 26, 2011

Blue Sky Mine

Today's edition of Retro Friday features the band Midnight Oil and the song "Blue Sky Mine."

Midnight Oil is yet another band (along with Til Tuesday's Aimee Mann) that played at that first Pointfest Music festival sponsored by 105.7 The Point back in the early 1990's. I always loved the band, but fell even more in love with them when I moved to St. Louis and fell in love with the music of 105.7 The Point.

Midnight Oil, informally known to it's fans as "The Oils," was an Australian rock band hailing from Sydney, originally performing under the name Farm beginning in 1972. The band consisted of: drummer Rob Hirst, bass guitarist Andrew James and keyboard player/lead guitarist Jim Moginie. Vocalist Peter Garrett was studying at Australian National University in Canberra when he answered an advertisement for a spot in the band Farm, and by the year 1975 the band was touring the east coast. Garrett moved to Sydney in late 1976 to complete his law degree, and the band wanted to change their name, but could not come to a consensus ... so they changed from Farm to Midnight Oil by drawing the name out of a hat!

The Midnight Oil albums which finished in the Top Ten in Australia include: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Red Sails in the Sunset, Species Deceases, Diesel and Dust, Blue Sky Mining, Scream in Blue (Live), Earth and Sun and Moon, Breathe, 20,000 Watt R.S.L., Redneck Wonderland, The Real Thing, Capricornia and Flat Chat. The singles that reached the Australian Top Ten include "Power and the Passion", "The Dead Heart", "Beds Are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine". Both "Power and the Passion" and "Beds Are Burning" were also included in 2001 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) on the list of Top 30 best Australian songs of all time.

The band popped into my head this week as I've been reminiscing about the original day of the Pointfest Music festival, and also because my husband has been in Australia for the past 8 days! I just really love Midnight Oil's punk/hard rock sound which has the perfect "pub rock" feel to it!

My two favorite Midnight Oil albums are Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining. The album Diesel and Dust focused on the need for recognition by white Australia of past injustices involving the Aboriginal nation and the need for reconciliation. Diesel and Dust topped the Australian albums chart at No. 1 for six weeks, and the song "Beds Are Burning" was their biggest international hit single which peaked at No. 6 in Australia, and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Blue Sky Mining was released in March of 1990 and it topped the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) albums charts at No. 1. It stayed at No. 1 for two weeks in Australia and also had Top 5 chart success in Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. The album was even more defiant and outspoken than Diesel and Dust, and the single "Blue Sky Mine" describes asbestos exposure in the Wittenoom mine tragedy.

Okay ... here's a little Blue Sky Mine for your listening pleasure!


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