From Farnsy and Barnsy through to Baby Animals and Thirsty Merc, we check out the hidden gems that flew beneath the radar
Sure, a hot single can make or break a career, but any music lover can extol the virtues of a good deep cut. More often than not, it’s the album tracks that tend to resonate with listeners the most, and even if they don’t cop a spin on the radio, they’ll always hold a fond spot in the hearts of fans.
Today we’re diving into some of the tracks that fell through the cracks from some of your favourite Aussie rock musicians. Often when their album has the band’s breakout hit or popular song, it outshines the rest of the tracks, some of which are hidden gems. Let’s take a closer look.
To get you back into the swing of things for 2022, we’re reposting some old favourites of yours and ours. This article was originally published October 12, 2020.
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‘Second Skin’ – John Farnham
The closing track to the rocker’s 16th studio album Romeo’s Heart, ‘Second Skin’ is an amazing tune rom the ‘You’re The Voice’ hit-maker that shows just how versatile he really is. A departure from his typical adult contemporary dabblings, ‘Second Skin’ shows us a funky side to Farnsy, with him, long-time writing partner Ross Fraser and iconic pianist Chong Lim linking up to lay down the funk. It’s a great deep cut that certainly deserves a listen – check it out below.
‘Now Or Never’ – Thirsty Merc
These Sydney rockers have come far from their ‘In The Summertime’ days. Since they released the song that shot them to fame and landed them a permanent spot in beer commercials all over the world, Thirsty Merc have released a number of records chock full of some great rock tracks that really show off their chops. But one of the best came on 2007’s Slideshows in the form of ‘Now Or Never’, which is simply is the textbook example of the perfect rock song; a stomping groove, a gradual build-up to a singalong chorus and a crazy outro, with Rai Thistlethwayte flexing his muscles as a singer to end the track on a high. The replay button will get worn out fast with this one.
‘This Time’ – INXS
This 1985 track was featured on the group’s fifth album; Listen Like Thieves, and was one of the only songs on the album to be written soley by Andrew Farriss. At the time, many critics compared ‘This Time’ to U2’s sound at the time, with the chorus-drenched guitars and big singalong choruses baring all the hallmarks of a soft rock anthem. Despite reaching a respectable #19 on the ARIA charts and #81 on the US Billboard charts, this track remains is one of the groups’ greatest lesser known songs, and we feel it deserves far much more acclaim than it tends to get.
‘Talking To A Stranger’ – Hunters And Collectors
This only single from Hunters and Collectors self-titled 1982 debut album is a gem that’s been hidden away for far too long. Coupled with a music video directed by iconic filmmaker Richard Lowenstein, this post-punk banger only reached #59 on the ARIA charts, which honestly, is a crying shame. Luckily, fans of the band have recognised the timeless appeal of the track in retrospect, and it’s now a mainstay in the band’s live show, marking one of their earliest tunes to make the cut in their setlist.
‘No Lies’ – Noiseworks
Written in 1987 for the group’s debut self-titled album, this track didn’t even poll on the ARIA charts, but reached 31 on the short lived ‘Kent Music Report’. Penned by the group’s frontman Jon Stevens and musician Brent Thomas, this track could easily sit next to their greatest hits. It displays a different, new-wave leaning side of the group, which is something that they seem to do really well. Check it out below.
‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ – Jimmy Barnes
We all love ‘Working Class Man’ and ‘Khe Sanh’, but ‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ is a great deep cut from the Cold Chisel frontman. Written by Stevie Nicks’ collaborator Chas Sanford and featuring vocals from Bette Davis Eyes’ hitmaker Kim Carnes, this track had all the makings of a worldwide hit. It’s definitely another example of a song that flew too far under the radar; give it a listen below.
‘All I Do’ – Daryl Braithwaite
The ‘Horses’ hitmaker recorded this track for his second studio album; Edge. Written by Canadian music icon; Ian Thomas, ‘All I Do’ showed a quieter, more emotional side to the rocker, which gives Darryl the opportunity to show off his big range, something that is missing from his harder rock songs. Coupled with a video filmed partly on St Kilda beach, this is one of the greatest Aussie rock songs that deserved way more attention than it got.
‘Dr. Heckyll & Mr Jive’ – Men At Work
Penned by the group’s legendary frontman; Colin Hay, this track, in classic Men At Work fashion, is lyrically sophisticated and full of jokes and double meanings. About a mad scientist that creates a potion, it’s based on the popular Jekyll and Hyde story. ‘Dr Heckyll & Mr Jive’ was featured on the band’s 1983 album Cargo. Often overshadowed by their hits ‘Down Under’ and ‘Overkill’, this track is yet another one that flew too far under the radar
‘Hey Little Boy’ – Divinyls
Originally by little known US band Syndicate Of Sound, and originally called ‘Little Girl’, Chrissy Amphlett and co. covered this track on their 1988 album Temperamental. The band do very well to make it their own, Amphlett really conveys the angst and punk-rock anger the song lyrically deals with. You could easily be mistaken if you thought it was one of their tracks.
‘Make It End’ – Baby Animals
Featured on the group’s self-titled album, ‘Make It End’ was overshadowed by hits ‘Early Warning’ and ‘Rush You’, but it still holds up as a shining moment in the Baby Animals back catalogue. This soft-rock intro keeps the listener intrigued through a track that builds up to an awesome, hard rock outro. Written by frontwoman Suze DeMarchi and musician Steve Elson, it’s an awesome, well written deep cut that is worthy of your time; check it out below.
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