OK, for a famous pub quiz win, who was the first Australian act to have a No. 1 single in the U.K.? Think hard.
If you said Men At Work, you go home a loser. Kylie Minogue? Close, but no. INXS? They didn’t hit the top of the singles chart (but they had one album, Welcome To Wherever You Are, go to the summit). The answer is the Seekers, the folk-rock stars who hit the top twice, first with “I’ll Never Find Another You” in 1965 and “The Carnival is Over” in the same year (arguably their best known song “Georgy Girl” peaked at No. 3 in 1967).
Chart geeks and parochial Aussie music fans can rest easy after the Official U.K. Charts Company published a “definitive” list of No. 1s from the land Down Under.
Since the first singles survey was published 1952, 31 songs by Australian acts have reached the top. Just like the Great Southern Land itself, the lineup of Aussie chart beasts reads like a mixed bag, from novelty songs (“Shaddap Your Face”), to pop and rock, house, a touch of hip-hop, Eurovision (Gina G’s “Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit”) and a unique spoken-word mantra (movie director Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free”).
ARIA wiped him from its Hall of Fame, but the history books still recognise Rolf Harris as the first solo male Australia artist to land a No. 1 single in the U.K., which he did at the turn of the ‘70s with “Two Little Boys.”
Britains’ obsession with Aussie soaps is reflected in a bunch of Neighbours and Home & Away graduates earning top spots on the singles survey, from Kylie Minogue to Jason Donovan and Holly Valance.
It should come as no surprise that Kylie leads the way with seven No. 1 singles, including her collaboration with her Neighbours running mate, Jason Donovan, on “Especially For You,” which ruled in 1988. Kylie is, of course, a living legend in the U.K., where in 2007 she became the first woman and first non-Brit to receive the prestigious Music Industry Trust Award, an honour which until that year was affectionately (and inaccurately) known as the “man of the year”. Her current tally stands at 50 UK Top 40 singles. Donovan leads all men with four chart titles and Peter Andre got there three times.
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It’s easy to forget just how popular Olivia Newton John was during her heyday. But the record books show she banked three No. 1s over the years 1978 and 1980, all from Grease and Xanadu spin-offs.
Swat up on the list below and impress all your friends.
The complete list of Official UK #1 singles by Australian acts
1965 I’ll Never Find Another You, The Seekers
1965 The Carnival Is Over, The Seekers
1969 Two Little Boys, Rolf Harris
1978 You’re The One That I Want, Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
1978 Summer Nights, Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
1980 Xanadu Olivia, Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra
1981 Shaddap Your Face, Joe Dolce Music Theatre
1983 Down Under, Men At Work
1988 I Should Be So Lucky, Kylie Minogue
1988 Especially For You, Kylie & Jason
1989 Too Many Broken Hearts, Jason Donovan
1989 Hand On Your Heart, Kylie Minogue
1989 Sealed With A Kiss, Jason Donovan
1990 Tears On My Pillow, Kylie Minogue
1991 Any Dream Will Do, Jason Donovan
1996 Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit, Gina G
1996 Flava, Peter Andre
1996 I Feel You, Peter Andre
1999 Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen), Baz Luhrmann
2000 Don’t Call Me Baby, Madison Avenue
2000 Spinning Around, Kylie Minogue
2001 Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Kylie Minogue
2001 Somethin’ Stupid, Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman
2002 Kiss Kiss, Holly Valance
2003 Slow, Kylie Minogue
2004 Mysterious Girl, Peter Andre Ft. Bubbler Ranx
2010 We No Speak Americano, Yolanda Be Cool Vs Dcup
2012 Titanium, David Guetta Ft. Sia
2012 Somebody I Used To Know, Gotye Ft. Kimbra
2014 She Looks So Perfect, 5 Seconds Of Summer
2014 Problem, Ariana Grande Ft. Iggy Azalea