2: Flame Trees – Cold Chisel

NeilTop 30 - Australian Songs

Entered Charts: 6 September 1984
Entry Point: 33
Highest Chart: 24
Weeks In: 7
Watch On YouTube: Click here

There is something about Flame Trees that demands a place this high in the Top 30 Australian Songs countdown. I have spent a significant amount of time in regional Australia and as a result have spent plenty of time eating and drinking in pubs like the one that features in the video clip. I know these people. I know these towns. The song and the video just captures the essence of rural Australia.

The lyrics are supposed to have been inspired by Don Walker’s years of living in Grafton in northern New South Wales, a town where jacarandas feature as much as the Illawarra Flame Tree after which the song was named. Again, having spent time in Grafton, I kind of get where Walker was coming from. Interestingly though, the film clip was filmed in Grafton – it was filmed in Oberon, nine hours drive away.

Another piece of trivia – one of the backing singers on the track was Megan Williams, who at that time was Ian Moss’ partner. She was best remembered as an actress, playing the role of Alice Watkins in the long-running 1970’s TV series, The Sullivans.

Flame Trees is a great song that can be played acoustically (listen to Barnesy’s version on his Live At The Sydney Opera House album) or as it was in the original recording. I’ve heard the Chisels sing it live and I’ve heard Barnesy sing it live in a solo show as well. It stands up as one of the great Australian songs in my opinion – but not quite good enough for the number 1 position. See you at 10:00am tomorrow for the announcement of the number one song in our countdown.