Though you may never have heard of this rock and roll band from down under, Cold Chisel is one of the highest charting bands in their home land with nine albums to make it to Australia’s top ten since the seventies. But lovers of simple seventies and eighties rock will love the classic sound of Cold Chisel, enjoy singing their fun tunes and can download the great tracks now on Red Karaoke. Check it out…
Originally a heavy metal cover band from Adelaide, Australia, the group took on the name Cold Chisel in 1974 after writing a song with the same title. After relocating to Sydney in 1976, the group was picked up after years of strife and struggle with members, moving and songs and signed to Warner Music Group.
In1978, Cold Chisel recorded its self-titled debut album. The following month the song Khe Sanh was released as a single but was deemed too offensive for airplay on commercial radio because of the lyric “Their legs were often open, but their minds were always closed.” Despite that setback, it still reached #48 on the Australian singles chart and number four on the Adelaide charts thanks mainly to the band’s rising popularity as a touring act. Khe Sanh has since become Cold Chisel’s signature tune and arguably its most popular among fans.
The band’s next release was a live EP titled You’re Thirteen, You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine. One of the EP’s tracks, Merry Go Round was later recorded on the followup, Breakfast at Sweethearts. This album was finished in 1979 and smoothed out many of the band’s rough edges and gave the group a more sophisticated sound. Their hit, Goodbye (Astrid, Goodbye), became a live favorite for the band, and even went on to be performed by U2 during a tour in Australia in the 1980s.
By now the band had become notorious for its wild behavior and was on the verge of major success. Recorded over two months in early 1980, Cold Chisel’s next album, East, reached #2 on the Australian album charts and was the second-highest selling album by an Australian artist for the year. It contained the popular hits Cheap Wine and My Baby.
In 1981 Cold Chisel was nominated for all seven of the major awards at the joint Countdown/TV Week music awards held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and won them all. As a protest against the concept of a TV magazine being involved in a music awards ceremony, the band refused to accept its awards and finished the night by performing their hit My Turn to Cry. After only one verse and chorus, the band smashed up the set and left the stage.
Swingshift debuted in the number 1 spot on the Australian album charts, crystallizing the band’s status as the biggest-selling act in the country. Overseas, however, Cold Chisel was unable to make an impact. Later in 1981, the band began work on the album Circus Animals, again with Opitz producing. Like its predecessor, Circus Animals contained songs of contrasting styles, with harder-edged tracks like Bow River in place beside more expansive ballads such as Forever Now and When the War Is Over. The latter track has proved to be the most popular Cold Chisel song for other artists to record. The song was also a No. 1 hit for former Australian Idol contestant Cosima De Vito in 2004 and was also performed by Bobby Flynn during that show’s 2006 season.
In between tours in the early 80s, Twentieth Century was recorded. Released in February 1984, it reached number 1 upon release and included the songs Saturday Night and Flame Trees, both of which remain radio staples. Flame Trees took its title from the BBC series The Flame Trees of Thika although it was lyrically inspired by the organist’s hometown of Grafton, New South Wales. He later recorded an acoustic version of the song on his 1993 album Flesh and Wood and the track was also covered by Sarah Blasko in 2006.
You can check out new songs from Cold Chisel, Flame Trees, Cheap Wine and Bow River right here on Red karaoke, record them in mp3 or with Virtua Sing and even download the tracks to take with you anywhere. What are you waiting for – try something new!