Made in Australia from imported and local ingredientsFood Label
The main idea of the site is to trace the original versions of songs recorded by Australian artists, mostly from the 50s, 60s or 70s.
It’s about the history of songs: that’s why it’s called Where Did They Get That Song? It’s not a general guide to Australian music, and it doesn’t list every Australian band and singer. If that’s what you need, try here or here.
The site is mainly about cover versions recorded in Australia, but some original Australian records are featured if the question “Where did they get that song?” has an interesting answer.
The focus is on Australia, but a number of notable New Zealand records are also included.
Each page is about a song recorded by an Australasian artist. Versions of the song are listed chronologically, in reverse order, working back from the Australian or NZ record to the original version. After that you might find Red Herrings (same title, different song) and Later Versions (recorded after the feature song at the top of the page).
At this site, “original version” means the first time the general public was able to access the song. This could be the first record release, but it could be a public performance or a published manuscript of a song.
Unreleased demo versions don’t count, although some demos are mentioned if they are especially interesting or significant in the history of the song.
The words at this site are my own: no copying and pasting from other sites without acknowledgement. If I do quote someone, I make it clear who they are. References are noted or linked to, but not if the information is widely known and easily verified in standard sources.
I minutely examined the label and wondered what those words were within the bracketsGlenn A. Baker
I use contributed information if it is plausible or verifiable.
Many people have emailed me with corrections, suggestions, and answers to my questions: experts, collectors or researchers; people who were there, friends of the band, or sons and daughters of the artist; people who remembered some fact that everyone else had forgotten.
My policy is to credit anyone who contributes anything, but special thanks to Terry Stacey, Tony Watson, Philippe Edouard, Dave Overett, Joop Jansen, Andrew Ainsworth, David Walker, Kees van der Hoeven, honeydhont, Dunks at Milesago, Phil Chapman, Brian Lee, Mike Robbins, Chris Vening, Rod Stone, Peter Robinson, Ronnie Burns, Davie Gordon, Margaret G. Still, David Johnston, John Gambrill, Jon Stratton, Dave Monroe, Phil Milstein, Zbigniew Nowara, Ostin Allegro, Artie Kornfeld, John Yeager, Ray Rivera, David Neale, Tertius Louw, Artie Wayne, Al Kooper, Geoff Green, Gwyneth at the Peter Doyle website, Bruce R. Gillespie, Jan Baart, Tony Martin, Aaron Betts, Andy Gallagher, Erik Alm…
Australian and New Zealand charts
Personal thanks to chart compilers Gavin Ryan (Australian capital city Chart Books) and Dean Scapolo (Complete New Zealand Music Charts). These indispensable books seem to be out of print (2023).
Thanks to Warwick Freeman whose ingeniously compiled New Zealand Top 20 Singles of the Sixties fills some gaps from the first half of the 1960s.
In some places I have cited national Australian chart positions from Grant Dawe’s excellent Australia: Top 100 Singles.
A note about New Zealand charts:
As Dean Scapolo notes in his NZ chart book, there was no national NZ chart until March 1966. Even then, it was Listener magazine’s “pop-o-meter”, based on readers’ votes and “not a good indicator” of what was actually selling. From April 1970 sales figures were used, but the Listener charts were retired with the coming of official music industry charts in May 1975.
Another New Zealand chart compiler, Warwick Freeman, has used a variety of historical sources to compile retrospective charts going back to 1960, published in his New Zealand Top 20 Singles of the Sixties and other chart books.
Read more about charts at my blogpost Toppermost of the poppermost: the charts.
When did that record come out?
There are fanatics like me who must find the original version of a song, but it isn’t always straightforward. If two records appear around the same time, you might not be able to refine it further, and all you have is speculation or circumstantial evidence. I can publish that, but I use words like probably, possibly, and plausibly. Sometimes I just have to declare it a draw and leave it at that.
Read more at my blog.
The Australian bush was uniquely deficient in original songs. The most famous of them, “Waltzing Matilda” is set to a Scottish tune; “Click Go the Shears” to an American one. “The Banks of the Condamine” seems to have been a resetting of an English song from the Napoleonic Wars.Don Watson, The Bush (2014), p 109.