Day 19. A song that you love from a band that has since broken up:
“King Of The Mountain” — Midnight Oil
Today’s song comes from their 1990 album Blue Sky Mining. That was the studio follow-up to Diesel And Dust, which contained their only US Top 40 hit, “Beds Are Burning” (although I always felt “The Dead Heart” was the stronger song). They did get a number of songs into the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, including “King Of The Mountain,” which reached #20. But still, most people know them for only the one song, if at all.
In their native Australia, of course, it’s a bit of a different story. They had a number of Top 10 hits and albums during their career and had a large, somewhat (okay, very) rabid following. Heck, as I mentioned in my dance post, “Blue Sky Mine” even got played at dance clubs, and it wasn’t at all a dance song. Good beat, yes. “Who Let The Dogs Out”, no.
While I had discovered them before I went to Australia, I certainly came to know them better as a result of being there. They were strong advocates for Aboriginal rights and many of their songs addressed political, and sometimes controversial, topics. (“Blue Sky Mine,” for instance, is about the abuses of big business.)
I was able to see them live twice. The first on the tour supporting the Blue Sky Mining album. I remember driving to Springfield, Massachusetts from Worcester to see the show. I actually remember the drive home better. It was September, I believe and the driver’s side window of my car had shattered and was missing. That was a cold, cold ride home. The second time was in 2001, when they were supporting what turned out to be their final studio album, Capricornia. The second time was better. Mostly because, thanks to my friend Pete, I was three feet from the stage.
I remember that show fairly well, but two things stick out:
- It was 6 weeks after 9/11, and Peter Garrett, the always-political lead singer of the group, talked about how we as a country were handling it.
- I got sweated on by Peter Garrett.
Yes, you read #2 correctly. It was gross and somehow cool all at the same time. (But mostly gross.) The man sweats profusely during shows. Couple that with the weird, almost epileptic, movements he makes and us being so close to the stage, and I guess it was bound to happen.
Anyway, I picked today’s song (rather than “Beds Are Burning” or “The Dead Heart”) for three reasons:
- You’ve likely heard “Beds Are Burning” and I’m trying to broaden your horizons.
- “The Dead Heart” was also on Diesel And Dust, their most popular album in the US, so there’s an outside chance you’ve heard it, too, even if you don’t recognize it by name. (For those of you not reading this on a mobile device, I encourage you to check out the song preview on the Amazon Widget.)
- I do really love the song. It’s my favorite on Blue Sky Mining, which is saying something, because it’s a very strong album.
After the “sweat” tour, Midnight Oil broke up, with the exception of a couple of reunion shows. Peter Garrett ran for Parliament, and won. He’s recently retired from that, so fans are hopeful that the band will reform and record a new album.
That would be cool, not only for the new music, but because I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. I can’t decide whether I would or would not want to be sweated on again. Maybe I’d just settle for an autograph.