Midnight Oil

~ Group


Midnight Oil (also known informally as "The Oils" to fans) are an Australian rock band, who originally performed as Farm from 1972 with drummer Rob Hirst, bass guitarist Andrew James and keyboard player/lead guitarist Jim Moginie. While vocalist Peter Garrett was studying at Australian National University in Canberra, he answered an advertisement for a spot in Farm, and by 1975 the band was touring the east coast. By late 1976, Garrett moved to Sydney to complete his law degree, and Farm changed its name to Midnight Oil by drawing the name out of a hat.

Important to their development was manager Gary Morris who was able to negotiate favourable contracts with tour promoters and record companies and frustrate rock journalists. Guitarist Martin Rotsey joined in 1977 and Midnight Oil, with Morris, established their own record label Powderworks, which released their debut eponymous album in November 1978, and their first single "Run by Night" followed in December. Founding bass guitarist James, forced to leave due to illness in 1980, was replaced by Peter Gifford. Gifford was himself replaced by Bones Hillman in 1987. Through a long and distinguished career, the band became known for its driving hard-rock sound, intense live performances and political activism, particularly in aid of anti-nuclear, environmentalist and indigenous causes.

Midnight Oil's albums which peaked in the Australian Top Ten were 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Red Sails in the Sunset, Species Deceases, Diesel and Dust, Blue Sky Mining, Scream in Blue (Live), Earth and Sun and Moon, Breathe, 20,000 Watt R.S.L., Redneck Wonderland, The Real Thing, Capricornia and Flat Chat. Australian Top Ten singles were "Power and the Passion", "The Dead Heart", "Beds Are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine". Aside from chart success, both "Power and the Passion" and "Beds Are Burning" were listed by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in the Top 30 best Australian songs of all time in 2001, a chart in which Midnight Oil are the only artists to feature twice. In December 2002, Garrett announced that he would seek to further his political career and Midnight Oil disbanded. But they would reform for two warm-up shows in Canberra leading up to their performance at one of the "Sound Relief" charity concerts, in honour of the victims of the 2009 "Black Saturday" fires in Victoria and floods in Queensland.

Midnight Oil won eleven Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards during its career, including induction into the Hall of Fame in 2006. At the induction, ARIA chairman Denis Handlin described Midnight Oil as true legends that always led by example in a uniquely Australian way with music that is powerful, uncompromising, inspiring, entertaining and enduring.

In 2010, their album Diesel and Dust ranked no. 1 in the book The 100 Best Australian Albums by Toby Creswell, Craig Mathieson and John O'Donnell.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1978 Midnight Oil 6
1979 Head Injuries 6
1981 Place Without a Postcard 5
1982 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 5 7
1984 Red Sails in the Sunset 4 7
1987 Diesel and Dust 3.25 9
1990 Blue Sky Mining 4.5 7
1993 Earth and Sun and Moon 4
1996 Breathe 4
1998 Redneck Wonderland 2
2002 Capricornia 5

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1997 20,000 Watt R.S.L. 3.5 3
1997 The Best of the B‐Sides 1
2000 The Collection 1
2004 Les Indispensables De Midnight Oil 1
2006 Flat Chat 1
2012 Essential Oils 2

Album + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1991 Best of Both Worlds 1
1991 Dreamworld 1
1992 Scream in Blue: Live 3
1992 Oil From the Outback 1
1993 Absolutely Live 1993 1
1993 1993-04-29: Astoria Theatre, London, UK 1
1993 Best Of Both Live Acts 1
1993 Know Your Power 1
1993 Live USA 1
1993 Sometimes 1
1993 Unplugged Calgary Electric Chicago 1
1994 Blue Sky Red Earth 1
1994 Spiritual Magic 1
2000 The Real Thing 1
2000 Our Country 1
2004 Best of Both Worlds 1
1984-04-10: Park West, Chicago, IL, USA 1
1993: Acoustic Nights 1
2002-03-18: KLOS-FM, Los Angeles, CA, USA 1
2002-07-04: Chicago, IL, USA 1
Beds Are Burning 1
Midnight Oil Live USA 1
Unplugged Calgary, Electric Chicago 1
Waveaid Tsunami Relief Concert 1

Album + Remix

Year Title RatingReleases
1990 The Green Disc 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1983 Power and the Passion 1
1987 Beds Are Burning 2
1987 Put Down That Weapon 4
1987 The Dead Heart 1
1988 Beds Are Burning / The Dead Heart 4 1
1989 Beds Are Burning 1
1990 Forgotten Years 2
1990 Blue Sky Mine 3
1993 My Country 1
1993 Outbreak of Love 2
1993 Truganini 3
1996 Underwater 1
1998 Redneck Wonderland 1
2003 No Man’s Land 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1980 Bird Noises 4
1985 Species Deceases 4

Unspecified type

Year Title RatingReleases
Acoustic 1993 1

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