|Burning the Midnight Oil has helped this group of Australian rockers bridge four decades with an evolving sound and a slant toward activism for a variety of causes. The band's relatively humble beginnings as a band called Farm, described as having a progressive rock sound and also playing a selection of covers in and around Sydney, eventually led to worldwide recognition that continues into the present.|
With an upcoming world tour stretching across five continents and most of 2017, it's no surprise Midnight Oil cultivates such strong support among its widespread fanbase..
Beds are burning
Experimenting with and moving between genres like pub rock, new wave, alternative rock and hard rock, Midnight Oil spent many years developing a strong, distinct sound. Following its first few formative years as Farm, Midnight Oil itself emerged in 1976.
At that point, the group included lead singer Peter Garrett, who went on to become a member of Australian Parliament and the holder of two federal-level Minister positions, drummer Rob Hirst, lead guitarist and keyboardist Jim Moginie, and Andrew James on bass. Shortly thereafter, The Oils, as they're often called by fans, picked up Martin Rotsey on lead guitar.
The band grew from its modest start into a larger, more recognized act following the name change, especially catching on among the Sydney surfing scene and developing a reputation for having especially exciting live shows. The first album under the Midnight Oil banner, a self-titled effort, enjoyed relatively strong sales in the Australian market, although not enough to receive a sales certification.
The band's efforts grew from there, however, both in music and activism. Early actions included disapproval with uranium mining and performances related to it, as well as backing the Australia Tibet Council, which supports the democratic freedoms and human rights of citizens of that country.
Growing popularity and long-term success
On the music front, the band's second full-length offering, Head Injuries, led to a Platinum certification in Australia and increasing awareness throughout that country. Midnight Oil first cracked Australia's top 40 chart with "Don't Wanna Be The One," a single off 1981's Place Without a Postcard. That album also included "Armistice Day," an even bigger single that set the stage for their next album.
Viewed by many as The Oils' big Australian breakthrough, 1983's 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 eventually went seven-times platinum in Australia and cracked international charts in both New Zealand and the U.S. From there, the band entered its longest period of widespread popularity.The follow-up album, Red Sails in the Sunset, was strong in established markets, but 1987's Diesel and Dust along with 1990's Blue Sky Mining saw gold and platinum sales certifications around the world. Midnight Oil's highest-performing singles, "Beds are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine" appeared on those two albums, respectively. They continued to record, tour and realize international success going forward, albeit with a growing group of dedicated fans instead of especially widespread acclaim.
Now, with an additional 27 years under the band's belt - minus time spent inactive during Garrett's political efforts in the 2000s - The Oils are prepared to thrill fans with exciting live shows filled with cutting commentary and masterful musicianship.