Last week, the Australian music industry celebrated their annual night of nights with the 2018 ARIA Awards. While countless amazing musicians scored some of those famous pointy statues, plenty of other talented folks also scored nominations for this year, ensuring that their work hasn’t gone unrecognised.

With the awards done for another year now, it makes for a perfect time to stroll down memory lane and check out some of the highlights of years gone by.

Remember when Savage Garden won ten awards in 1997? Remember when Paul Mac thanked Sydney’s drug dealers during Itch-E And Scratch-E’s speech? Or remember when Madison Avenue’s performance was overshadowed by a water glass?

These days, it’s so easy to go back and relive some of these moments thanks to the Internet. But it’s also worth remembering that the awards’ early days are less easy to remember, with the awards not being televised until 1992.

In fact, the inaugural ceremony in 1987 was rather famous for host Elton John telling the industry to not televise their proceedings, “if you want these Awards to stay fun.”

As a result, many of the famous moments of the early ceremonies are lost to time. We’ve got no footage of iconic producer George Martin presenting at the 1989 awards, and we’ve got no visual proof of Molly Meldrum getting into a war of words with Midnight Oil manager Gary Morris in 1988.

However, the biggest oversight of these early years happens to revolve around the fact that we have no record of the nominees from 1988.


Yes, as strange as it may sound, there appears to be no official record of the nominees from the second annual ARIA Awards from February of 1988.

“Wait a minute,” I can hear you say, “I just took a look at Wikipedia, and it’s all there in black and white!”

Well, sort of. See, we know exactly who the winners of that year are, and plenty of people have managed to rediscover who some of the nominees were, but for many of the awards, we’ve got no idea about the other artists who were in the running.

In fact, if we head over to the official ARIA Awards website, 1988 is the only year where the nominees aren’t available for viewing. As it turns out, the only reason we know who some of the nominees are is because eagle-eyed researchers have dug up mentions of them in newspapers and interviews from the time.

So, while it’s great to know that Midnight Oil won Single Of The Year thanks to ‘Beds Are Burning’, wouldn’t it be great to know which songs – apart from Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Slice Of Heaven’ and Icehouse’s ‘Crazy’ – were also in contention?

Likewise, we know approximately none of the other nominees for Album of The Year. Clearly Icehouse’s Man Of Colours was such a well-deserved win that the rest of that year’s nominated releases were quickly forgotten.


The nominees for some categories have survived though, and while know who was up for the Best Group, Best New Talent, and Best Female Artist, we couldn’t tell you anything about Best Male Artist, except for the fact that John Farnham took home the statue.

Logically though, there would have to be some record of these nominees out there somewhere.

Maybe you’ve got a copy of your local street press magazine from 1988 tucked away in the closet somewhere, or maybe you were there and have a memory that many of us could only dream of. If that is the case, then you could hold the key to solving a mystery that has plagued Australian music archivists for some time.

In the meantime, scroll on to learn the winners of the 1988 ARIA Awards, and some of the nominees.

Check out Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’:


1988 ARIA Awards Winners

Album Of The Year

Winner: Icehouse – Man Of Colours

Single Of The Year

Winner: Midnight Oil – ‘Beds Are Burning’
Dave Dobbyn with Herbs – ‘Slice of Heaven’
Icehouse – ‘Crazy’

Highest Selling Album

Winner: Icehouse – Man Of Colours

Highest Selling Single

Winner: Kylie Minogue – ‘Locomotion’
Dave Dobbyn with Herbs – ‘Slice Of Heaven’

Best Group

Winner: Crowded House
Hunters & Collectors
Midnight Oil

Best Female Artist

Winner: Jenny Morris – Body And Soul
Anne Kirkpatrick – Come Back Again
Kate Ceberano
Sharon O’Neill
Shona Laing

Best Male Artist

Winner: John Farnham

Best New Talent

Winner: Weddings Parties Anything – Scorn Of The Women
Dave Dobbyn
James Reyne
Lime Spiders
Painters And Dockers

Best Country Album

Winner: Flying Emus – This Town
Anne Kirkpatrick – Come Back Again

Best Indigenous Release

Winner: Gondwanaland – Gondwanaland
Australia all Over – Australia All Over
Flying Emus – This Town
Midnight Oil – Diesel And Dust
Warumpi Band – Go Bush

Best Adult Contemporary Album

Winner: John Farnham – ‘A Touch Of Paradise’

Best Comedy Release

Winner: The 12th Man – Wired World Of Sports
Garry Who – Life’s Just A Routine

Fine Arts Awards

Best Jazz Album

Winner: Vince Jones – It All Ends Up In Tears
The Don Burrows Quintet with the Adelaide Connection – Nice ‘n’ Easy

Best Classical Album

Winner: Voss (Australian Opera) – Voss
Dave Loew and the National Arts Orchestra Australia – Debut

Best Children’s Album

Winner: Peter Combe – Toffee Apple

Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Recording

Winner: Original Australian Cast Recording – Nine
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Mario Millo) – The Lighthorsemen

Artisan Awards

Song Of The Year

Winner: Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst & Jim Moginie – ‘Beds Are Burning’ (Midnight Oil)
Dave Dobbyn – ‘Slice of Heaven’ (Dave Dobbyn with Herbs)
Icehouse – ‘Crazy’

Producer Of The Year

Winner: Mark Opitz
Andrew Farriss
Jon Farriss

Engineer Of The Year

Winner: David Nicholas – Richard Clapton – Glory Road, INXS – Kick

Best Video

Winner: Claudia Castle – Paul Kelly – ‘To Her Door’

Best Cover Art

Winner: Ken Duncan, Creative Type Wart, Gary Morris, Midnight Oil – Midnight Oil – Diesel And Dust

Outstanding Achievement Award

John Farnham

ARIA Hall of Fame inductees

Slim Dusty
Col Joye
Johnny O’Keefe
Dame Joan Sutherland
Vanda & Young