There is so much talk of charts and sales, schedules and projections in the music industry that it’s sometimes pleasing to take a step back from what’s happening right now, and to realise that the Australian classics we all know off by heart — those songs that have thudded us into submission through FM radio, television commercials, breaks between sporting highlights, Best BBQ Songs compilations, your drunk friend at the RSL that one time, and all the rest of all — a great deal of these songs never made the ARIA Top 30.

So, take heart. Today’s number #96-and-out-the-following-week could be 2030’s radio staple, played on the hour, every hour as kids not yet born whine in the backseat about how they “always play this one”.

Like the following singles that the kids just didn’t buy.


‘Khe Sanh’ is such an Aussie anthem it should have the word ‘girt’ in it. Despite basically having a major stake in Australian FM radio these days, no commercial radio station would touch the song at the time of release, mainly due to the numerous drug references such as the “growing need for speed and novacaine”, and descriptions of women whose “legs were often open, but their minds were always closed.”

As a result, ‘Khe Sanh’ stalled at number 41.

“Every DJ in the country begged us to release ‘Khe Sanh’ as a single”, Barnes said. “Then they banned it two weeks later. They had to ban something once a week to keep the Catholic Church happy.”