Perhaps you're thinking of kangaroos, koalas, or even poisonous snakes. Perhaps you've been thinking about the outback, the devastation caused by bushfires, and the effects of climate change. Maybe you're recalling Vegemite, the peculiar Australian food spread made from leftover brewer's yeast, or some other slang terms or characteristics associated with Australia. It's possible to imagine all of these scenarios.
However, Australia's wealth of talent is also widely praised. The island continent has a long history of producing successful performers in the United States. Some of the most successful musicians in the United States, for instance, have their roots down under. With that out of the way, let's examine some Australian musicians who have found success in the USA.
Australian Singers and Bands
Angus and Malcolm Young, two Australian brothers, formed the raucous, pounding, straight-forward sounding and sexually-charged hard rock band in 1973. As one of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," Rolling Stone magazine has acknowledged AC/incredible DC's legacy.
AC/founding DC's brothers found the band's name on a sewing machine, and they felt that the electricity-related abbreviation best captured the energy of their music. Since then, the band has had more than two dozen singles that peaked at No. 1 on the mainstream rock charts, and three songs that peaked at No. 1 on the mainstream pop chart, the United States Billboard Hot 100:
- "You Shook Me All Night Long" (1980)
- "Back in Black" (1981)
- "Moneytalks" (1990)
Over their four decades of making music, the band has survived a variety of real-life challenges, including:
- bandmates' drug and legal problems
- the firing, illness, retirement, and death of AC/DC members and
- the accidental death of several fans at a concert.
Keith Urban, a global superstar in the world of country music, holds citizenship in three countries: New Zealand, Australia, and the United States of America. Although Urban's parents were from New Zealand, he spent his formative years in Australia. Throughout his career, Urban has consistently released high-quality music. Since 1999, he has released over forty singles that have cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard country music chart in the United States. More than twenty of his singles during that time period also topped the adult contemporary music chart and the mainstream pop chart. Here are a few examples of such tuneful interludes:
- "Somebody Like You" (2002)
- "You'll Think of Me" (2004)
- "Days Go By" (2004)
- "Making Memories of Us" (2005)
- "You Look Good in My Shirt" (2008)
- "Long Hot Summer" (2011)
- "Somewhere in My Car" (2014)
- "Raise 'Em Up" (featuring Eric Church) (2015)
- "Blue Ain't Your Color" (2016)
Urban became well-known in 2002 for stripping off for Playgirl, but he later expressed regret for doing so. He tied the knot with Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, in 2006. She was born and raised in Australia, too. The singer has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, judged the American version of "American Idol," and won a Grammy Award, among other accolades.
What would the 1970s have been like if not for that group of Australian brothers who made a name for themselves by singing disco songs at the top of their range, sometimes in a quavering whisper? The Bee Gees, consisting of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, are widely regarded as one of the most influential and successful bands in history. They were all born in England, but they all emigrated to Australia when they were young. In 1958, they began performing as the Bee Gees; they wrote all of their hits and became known for their complex three-part harmonies.
- Recording primarily rock and disco songs, the band achieved an impressive 15 Top
- "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971)
- "Jive Talkin'" (1975)
- "You Should Be Dancing" (1976)
- "How Deep Is Your Love" (1977)
- "Stayin' Alive" (1977)
- "Night Fever" (1978)
- "Too Much Heaven" (1978)
- "Tragedy" (1979)
- "Love You Inside Out" (1979)
For many other artists, the Gibb brothers have been prolific songwriters. More than two thousand and five hundred different performers have put their spin on the songs. The extraordinary achievement of this Australian band has been honoured in many different ways over the years. The Bee Gees have received a Grammy Legend Award, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. On top of all that, they are now enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Men at Work
When you think of Australian musicians, you might immediately think of Men at Work, who are perhaps best known for their song "Down Under." When they first got together in 1979, this Australian band were a pop-rock outfit with a new wave sound. The following songs peaked in the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and were among their most commercially successful:
- "Who Can It Be Now?" (1981)
- "Down Under" (1981)
- "Overkill" (1983)
- "It's a Mistake" (1983)
Their songs appealed to international audiences and found popularity on U.S. adult contemporary and mainstream rock charts. The band has periodically revived playing over the years.
For King & Country
American Songwriter called For King & Country "Australia's answer to Coldplay," and Billboard said they were "on a passionate pursuit of joy." The band For King & Country has won a Grammy. Shortly after relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, the Australian band established themselves as a formidable force in contemporary Christian music. They've put out several singles that have reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot Christian chart.
- "Busted Heart (Hold On to Me)" (2011)
- "The Proof of Your Love" (2012)
- "Fix My Eyes" (2014)
- "Shoulders" (2014)
- "It's Not Over Yet (The Encore)" (2016)
- "Priceless" (2016)
- "Glorious" (2016)
- "Little Drummer Boy" (2017)
- "Joy" (2018)
- "God Only Knows" (2019)
- "Burn the Ships" (2019)
Brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone comprise this Christian pop duo. The Australian band temporarily adopted two unremarkable names—"Austoville" and "Joel & Luke"—before settling on "For King & Country." What inspired their group's name was the battle cry of English soldiers who were willing to lay down their lives for their king and country.
Natalie Imbruglia, who was born in Australia, possesses a wide range of talents. She started out modelling for companies like L'Oreal and Gap before making her acting debut on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. She also starred in a number of films after the spy action comedy Johnny English came out in 2003.
In 1997, with the release of Ednaswap's "Torn," Imbruglia made her professional singing debut. The relationship that was the subject of the upbeat pop song ended badly. The first single released by Imbruglia, "Torn," also ended up being her most successful. Worldwide acclaim and Grammy Award buzz ensured its international success. Since changes were made to the criteria used to determine which songs would make it onto the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, "Torn" could only reach #42 at its highest point. Imbruglia's subsequent single, 2002's "Wrong Impression," was a mediocre success, peaking at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100. To add, Imbruglia has been a big backer of efforts to end obstetric fistula. She was finally able to call herself a full-fledged Brit in 2013.
If you grew up in the 1980s like I did, you probably listened to Air Supply when you fell in love or when you were trying to get over a breakup. However, Australian vocalist Russell Hitchcock completes this formidable soft rock duo.
A number of the band's love songs from the first half of the 1980s reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The band formed in 1975. In the early 1980s, eight songs by Air Supply made it into the Top 10 on mainstream charts, an impressive feat at the time. Here are some of them:
"Lost in Love" (1980)
- "All Out of Love" (1980)
- "Every Woman in the World" (1980)
- "The One That I Love" (1981)
- "Here I Am" (1981)
- "Sweet Dreams" (1982)
- "Even the Nights Are Better" (1982)
- "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" (1983)
Australian Female Singers
Courtney has received international acclaim for her unique fusion of singer-songwriter and garage-pop, as well as multiple Grammy Award nominations and a number of Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards, including "Best Female Artist of 2015."
Her unique sound and the sincerity of her lyrics propelled her to the top of the Australian charts in the early 2000s, where she went on to win a record-breaking nine ARIA Music Awards. Nevertheless, this native of Melbourne will not be releasing any new albums in the near future. Despite this, on Mother's Day of 2019, she released a new song titled "Emotional Rollercoaster," which details the highs and lows of parenthood.
Ever since her debut in 2001, Delta Goodrem has been dominating the music industry. She has produced several albums that became commercial successes, and her songs frequently appear in the top 40. She has appeared on the Australian soap opera Neighbours as Nina Tucker, and she also played fellow Australian singer Olivia Newton-John in a biographical television miniseries. In addition, for the past few years she has been a judge on The Voice Australia.
Iconic Bands In Australia
Between the years 1985 and 1996, they had a string of hits, some of the most notable of which are Don't Dream It's Over, Something So Strong, Fall At Your Feet, and Weather With You. Because of Crowded House's immense popularity in Melbourne, the Melbourne Museum for the Performing Arts is currently hosting an exhibition dedicated to the band at which visitors can view a variety of collectibles and unique items associated with the group.
The band Midnight Oil, through its music and lyrics, called attention to political and social injustices that were being largely ignored at the time.
Midnight Oil, an Australian rock band, performed an annual average of 200 shows in pubs, clubs, and theatres across Australia and the United States from 1976 until 2002. The band's legacy as one of Australia's most cherished cultural icons endures long after its members parted ways. Power And The Passion and Beds Are Burning are just two of their many hits that made the Australasian Performing Right Association's list of the 30 best Australian songs of all time (APRA). Further, the group brought home 11 ARIA Awards for their efforts.
Little River Band
Despite the fact that they didn't form until 1975, the Little River Band has since become widely recognised as one of Australia's finest musical acts. However, the rock band's efforts to gain notoriety in the United Kingdom were fruitless. So they zeroed in on the US market, where they found unprecedented success. Their songs often performed better on Billboard's pop and adult contemporary charts in the United States than they did in their native Australia. Little River Band is responsible for six songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States:
- "Reminiscing" (1978), their highest charting single at #3
- "Lady" (1979)
- "Lonesome Loser" (1979)
- "Cool Change" (1979)
- "The Night Owls" (1981)
- "Take It Easy On Me" (1982)
Chrissy Amphlett and Mark McEntee were the primary members of The Divinyls throughout the majority of the band's history, which began in 1980 in Sydney and ended in 1996. During this time, the band went through a number of lineup changes. In the Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett stood out as a major draw due to the zeal and determination with which she pursued her career as a singer and performer.
There have been a total of five albums released by the band, four of which debuted in the top ten in Australia and only one of which broke into the top 15 in the United States. The single "I Touch Myself" reached the top spot in Australia and the top four in the US. The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006 after being deemed worthy by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
The Australian rock band Jet is one of the most successful musical exports ever, having sold an astounding 6.5 million albums internationally. Two of their most well-known singles, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and "Rollover D.J.", topped the Triple J Hottest 100 that year. Both in Australia and the United States, Jet has been nominated for several awards and has even taken home a few. Their 2004 ARIA Music Award nominations included Best Rock Album, Best Group, and Single of the Year, among others.
In the '70s, Skyhooks were the band everyone needed, thanks to their innovative sound and unconventional live performances that raised the bar for rock in Australia. Their rock music was socially conscious, but the shocking ways they promoted themselves, in glittery costumes and high heels, shocked everyone. Their rock music was topical and shockingly honest about the world. Their first album was so successful that it dominated the charts for its first 16 weeks. After that, Skyhooks began making albums that would eventually lead to seven platinum records and two million dollars in album sales.
Although she calls Adelaide, Australia, home, Sia has been an integral part of music scenes all over the world. She has recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in American pop music, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom, including the band Zero 7. As if that weren't enough, she's also made a name for herself as a solo artist with hits like "Chandelier" and "Cheap Thrills." This led to her being nominated for a number of awards, including a Grammy, an MTV, and an ARIA Music Award.
The singer now based in Melbourne has performed every role in the musical from the lovable Tiny Tina to Evita in Opera Australia's production. And just the year before, another award was added to her already extensive list of honours when she was presented with the Excellence in Community Award by Support Act in the month of May.
Daniel Jones placed an advertisement in the local newspaper looking for a lead vocalist for Red Edge, which is how Savage Garden came to be. Jones and Darren Hayes, the musician who responded to the ad, worked together at first on the music that would become Savage Garden. Their debut single was released in 1996, and it reached #2 on the charts. Despite this, both of their subsequent singles reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100: "To the Moon and Back" and "Truly Madly Deeply." Their album, which they simply titled, was the third longest-charting Australian album of all time. They've sold over 11 million albums worldwide and won 10 ARIA Awards.
AC/incredible DC was founded in 1973 by Australian brothers Angus and Malcolm Young. More than two dozen singles by the band have reached the top spot on mainstream rock charts since then. Keith Urban is a country music superstar around the world, and he also happens to be a tri-national citizen. The Bee Gees are widely recognised as one of the most groundbreaking and successful groups in music history. The Gibb brothers, Barry, Maurice, and Robin, were born in England but raised in Australia.
Bee Gees member Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb are all now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. In 1997, Natalie Imbruglia debuted as a professional singer. Her first release, "Torn," became her most successful single overall. Award-winning Australian group For King & Country took home a Grammy this year. They have released multiple singles that have charted in the top ten on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart.
Some of Australia's most well-known musical exports include Crowded House, Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins, and Midnight Oil. Don't Dream It's Over, Something So Strong, Fall At Your Feet, and Weather With You are a few of their most well-known songs. The Melbourne Museum is presenting a Crowded House exhibition. The Little River Band got its start in 1975, but it wasn't until 1976 that they became a major success. Since 2006, the group has been honoured by inclusion in the ARIA Hall of Fame.
A total of six of their songs have topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Over the course of his career, Jet has amassed a staggering 6.5 million album sales around the world. Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and "Rollover D.J." are two of their most well-known singles, and both topped Triple J's Hottest 100. Sia has collaborated with numerous prominent figures in the American pop music industry both in the studio and on stage. Grammy, MTV, and ARIA nominations were all submitted for Arena to consider.
In addition, she received the Excellence in Community Award from the Support Act. Savage Garden has won ten ARIA Awards and had over eleven million album sales worldwide. Savage Garden, their album, spent three weeks in the top three on Australia's album charts.
- Though, the country's abundance of talent is also praised.
- It's no secret that the island continent has a rich history of exporting talented performers to the United States.
- His 2006 wedding to Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, was a big deal.
- One of the most influential and successful bands in history is the Bee Gees, which consists of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.
- The Bee Gees have won three Grammys: one each for Legend and Lifetime Achievement.
- The Australian band quickly became a dominant force in modern Christian music after relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
- Many of their singles have charted in the top ten on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs list.
- In the first half of the 1980s, the band had several love songs that charted in the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
- It was in 1975 that the band first got together.
- Eight of Air Supply's songs charted in the Top 10 of the pop charts in the early 1980s.
- The Goodrem, Delta
- Delta Goodrem has been on top of the music charts since she first appeared in 2001.
- From 1976 until 2002, Australian rock band Midnight Oil played an estimated 200 shows per year in pubs, clubs, and theatres across Australia and the United States.
- Both "Power And The Passion" and "Beds Are Burning" are two of their many hits that were included in the "30 Best Australian Songs of All Time" list compiled by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA).
- The Little River Band is now widely considered to be one of Australia's best musical acts, despite not forming until 1975.
- Six songs by Little River Band have reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, with 1978's "Reminiscing" being the band's highest-charting single.
- With a staggering 6.5 million albums sold worldwide, Australian rock band Jet is one of the most successful musical exports of all time.
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and "Rollover D.J." are two of their most well-known singles, and both of them ranked highly on Triple J's Hottest 100 that year.
- Jet has been nominated for, and has won, a number of awards in both Australia and the United States.
- Not only has she achieved success with her band, but she has also achieved success as a solo artist with songs like "Chandelier" and "Cheap Thrills."
- She received several nominations as a result, including for a Grammy, an MTV, and an ARIA Music Award.
- The singer, who is now based in Melbourne, has sung every role in the musical, from the lovable Tiny Tina to Evita, in Opera Australia's production.
- They've won 10 ARIA Awards and had over 11 million albums sold worldwide.
FAQs About The Popular Bands And Singer In Australia
The first-ever Aussie pop group to achieve success in their home country and the U.K. and the U.S., The Seekers, have sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
Hard rock band AC/DC have knocked The Wiggles off the top of Australia's entertainment rich list in spectacular style - thanks to earnings of $105 million in the last financial year.
On their new single Physical, Australia (the band) an infectious, hook-filled pop belter that'll leave you no choice but to get a little.
Australia has produced a wide variety of rock and popular music, from the internationally successful groups AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave, Savage Garden, the Seekers, or pop divas Delta Goodrem, Kylie Minogue to the popular local content of John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes or Paul Kelly.
Toni Watson, known professionally as Tones and I, is an Australian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Her breakout single, "Dance Monkey", was released in May 2019 and reached number one in over 30 countries. "Dance Monkey" was accredited 16× platinum by ARIA for shipments of over 1,120,000 units by mid-2021.