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Power and the Passion – Midnight Oil

midnight-oilLong before they tasted any touch of success in these United States, Aussie band Midnight Oil was a big thing down under. My first exposure was “Power and the Passion” in 1982.

The creepy, hypnotic dancing of freakishly tall and bald lead singer Peter Garrett draws you in and makes this video worth watching at least once (I watched it many times as a kid). Is this guy a rock star or Mr. Clean? Or possibly an escaped nut job from a local insane asylum. My young brain struggled to figure it all out.

All I really knew is that the band was tight, solid and soon went on to much larger fame with hits like “Beds Are Burning” and “The Dead Heart” from their 1987 record Diesel and Dust. It’s a solid record and was named the 13th best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone Magazine.

I was an Oils fan for many years. And for me, it all started with “Power and the Passion” and Peter Garrett’s spasmodic dancing. Perhaps the only other rocker with an equally distinctive dance is Ian Curtis from Joy Division. But that’s a post and a video for another day.

Buy “Power and the Passion” by Midnight Oil
Midnight Oil - 20000 Watt RSL - The Midnight Oil Collection (Remastered) - Power and the Passion

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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3 Responses to "Power and the Passion – Midnight Oil"

  1. Matt Thurston says:

    My first exposure to the Oils was also Power and the Passion. Holds up pretty good, dontchathink? Could say the same for most of Midnight Oil’s catalogue.

    A few random thoughts…

    I still listen to their three albums from ’87 to ’93: Diesel and Dust; Blue Sky Mining; Earth and Sun and Moon. Diesel and Dust totally reminds me of my freshman year at a certain university in Provo.

    Peter Garrett missed a second career as a movie bad guy or character actor.

    Midnight Oil was one of the few “political” bands who seemed genuinely political.

    My Rob Gordon inspired Top 5 Australian Bands of All Time List:

    1.) Neil Finn (includes Crowded House, Split Enz, etc.)
    2.) The Go-Betweens
    3.) Midnight Oil
    4.) The Church
    5.) Hoodoo Gurus

    Missed the cut: INXS, AC/DC, Divinyls, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Men at Work, Silverchair, Jet, Air Supply, Rick Springfield, Olivia Newton-John, Frente.

  2. Michael Waterman says:

    Power and the Passion never grows old. And you’re right about Peter Garrett taking on a movie bad-guy persona. His dancing, bald dome and intense expressions left quite an impression 20 years ago.

    Your top-five Australian bands list is solid. However, I have to place Hoodoo Gurus higher on the list and Crowded House and Split Enz are technically New Zealand bands. I also have to include AC/DC on my list. One of the greatest-ever rock bands. I listen to their early Bon Scott albums often.

    Perhaps the greatest Australian song ever: “Friday on My Mind” by The Easybeats. Guitarist is George Young, older brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC who helped the young lads secure their first record deal.

  3. John Wilson says:

    Okay, I admit I do not understand Australian music nearly as well as you or Matt do. But I must say, I found that singer in “Friday on My Mind” to be just as disturbing as Peter Garrett. It’s just a different kind of disturbing.

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