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Favourite Australian Number 1 Singles of the 2000s

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by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published January 18th 2022
Best of Australian charting music in the 2000s
Australia Day, for all its problems and issues, falls on January 26 as I write this, and I like to do some Australian-based stuff for the time frame. I had a few ideas, but while researching another writer (yes, I do research for others), a different idea came to me that I thought I'd have a look at instead.

Taken from the ARIA website.

See, I've been looking at number one singles on Australian charts, per ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association), before the 2010s when charts became influenced by how often a song was played, not actual sales. The ARIA website has all their archives going back many years, and so I have been spending a bit of time there (and if you're interested in how Australia's music tastes have changed over time, it is a fascinating look). Anyway, one thing I noticed was the lack of Australian artists that have reached number one. Yes, Kylie Minogue appears a bit, John Farnham and INXS pop their heads in occasionally, and there are a few others, but overall, I was really surprised.

Having said that, it did seem that in the 2000s (2000-2009) Australian music-buyers did discover more Australian music than before. Maybe it was the Australian Idol phenomenon (a lot of winners/contestants appear), but this was the only decade where I could (a) find a decent number of Australian songs at number 1, and (b) find 10 of these I like.

So, the rules this time are simple – had to be number one in the ARIA weekly charts sometime between January 2000 and December 2009, and be by an Australian artist or an artist recognised as Australian.
So, special thanks to the ARIA website for being my research base.

Some interesting tracks here.

January, 2000 (3 weeks at #1)
'Mascara' by Killing Heidi

Between this track and 'Weir' I thought Killing Heidi were going to dominate Australian music for the next decade… and for whatever reason, I was wrong. Ella Hooper is under-rated as a singer and the song-writing is always strong. Still, this is a great track.

June, 2000 (2 weeks at #1)
'Who The Hell Are You?' By Madison Avenue

When this song first came out, I was not impressed, but I was in a real rock phase in the early 2000s. Two years later on, as a teacher, when I heard students playing it, I realised it was not as bad as I had first thought, and it's actually catchy and better than a lot of the UK pop at the time that was on the charts. And listening now, it's fun.

March, 2002 (4 weeks at #1)
'Not Pretty Enough' by Kasey Chambers

On the other hand, I have been a fan of Kasey Chambers since I saw her performing with her father Bill (first country album I bought was by Bill Chambers) in the Dead Ringer Band. And this song, sounding so poignant and vulnerable, the title a refrain many of us may have heard ourselves thinking, is one of her many wonderful tracks.

June, 2003 (2 weeks at #1)
'Innocent Eyes' by Delta Goodrem

Delta Goodrem's first album was really good, but I bought this song on CD single, with the wonderful piano playing, her voice and the strong lyrics. I talk a lot about modern female singer-songwriters from Australia, but Delta was also quite good two decades ago. Her music veered off into more conventional pop territory later on, but this song – glorious.

May, 2004 (3 weeks at #1)
'Black Betty' by Spiderbait

Truth be told, I did not think Spiderbait had had a number one single, so was pleasantly surprised when this, one of my favourites of their tracks, appeared on the listings. With that banjo (including slide), driving guitar and then that powerhouse drumming, this is such a great version of the old track.

August, 2004 (1 week at #1)
'Scar' by Missy Higgins

And another song I was really happy to see had topped the charts, because this is such a great song. Again, I did not know it had reached number one (even if just for one week), but it did and so we have Missy Higgins' great voice, piano-playing and lyrics. Yes, I have typed that already. Maybe that was the way the 2000s went for good Australian female singer-songwriters…

November, 2004 (1 week at #1)
'These Kids' by Joel Turner & The Modern Day Poets

The only reason I knew this band were Australian was because the students I was teaching introduced me to the artist; apparently Joel Turner was popular for not getting on Australian Idol, but not getting on by being really entertaining. One of the very few rap songs from this time period I like, I think it's because of the good use of guitars and the really amazing lyrics that I was suckered into this one.

October, 2005 (1 week at #1)
'Shine' by Shannon Noll

Another Idol contestant, and one I quite like. While he also had a number 1 with a cover of 'What About Me?' (which I was not a fan of), I didn't mind this. I did also like a lot of his other releases, and preferred his music to that season's winner (Guy Sebastian).

March, 2007 (4 weeks at #1)
'Straight Lines' by Silverchair

Silverchair released great track after great track throughout their career, and this one, the last of their 3 number 1 singles in Australia, is as good as any other they released. By this stage in their career, Daniel Johns' voice had really come to its own, smooth and mature, and the music matched it so well.

May, 2008 (4 weeks at #1)
'Sweet About Me' by Gabriella Cilmi

I think it's her slightly rough, nasal vocals that get me, like a Down Under version of Amy Winehouse. This song sits on the fine line between pop and indy folk-rock, but just bops along so well. There's not much more to say, really.

And that's it – ten good Australian songs that topped the ARIA charts between 2000 and 2009. It was good to see so many Australian artists make the number one spot after the 90s and 80s were dominated by international acts.

I hope you enjoyed this interesting look back on a decade that is not my favourite for music, and yet has some surprisingly good tunes sitting there, hidden away.


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Why? Recognising Australian music for Australia Day
Where: Everywhere
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