Is Throw Your Arms Around Me the greatest Australian song of all time?

An article about Throw Your Arms Around Me possibly being the greatest Australian song of all time.

Author:  Karen Hardy, The Canberra Times.

Date: 11 August 2019.

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Article Text

A note went out this week about The Red Hot Summer Tour, due to hit the south coast come summer. Who wants to attend? Would love to go with a like-minded, similar aged bunch of people and y’all came to mind, a friend wrote.

On the bill are Hunters and Collectors, James Reyne, The Living End, The Angels, Baby Animals, Killing Heidi and Boom Crash Opera.

Is Hunters and Collectors’ Throw Your Arms Around Me the greatest Australian song of all time?

You had me at Hunters. We all have a song and Throw Your Arms Around Me was mine for a while. It was 1984, our final year of high school, we’d spent the past 12 years together some of us, and we were all about to go our own way. Who knew if we’d ever meet again? Particularly that one boy.

There’s something about that song, fleeting love, taken moments. In 2001 it was named in the top 30 Australian songs of all time. Book my tickets.

I like the idea of songs taking you back to a moment. My son was doing the Spotify shuffle in the car the other night on the way home from training. Not his usual rap music, nor the death metal he occasionally surprises me with, but an eclectic mix which included Michael Buble’s Feeling Good and Air Supply’s I’m All Out of Love.

All Out of Love? Get out! This was another seminal song of my teenage years. I was 14 the year it came out. Madly in love with a boy called Simon who danced with me once at a school social, in the years before the teachers realised it was probably better to leave the lights on (we were a randy little high school, a hotbed of teen lust and desire). He made me feel like I was the only thing that mattered in his life, pressing his stocky little testosterone-fuelled teenage body against mine, and intertwining his fingers into mine.

Every time I hear that song I think of that school social and wonder what became of Simon. Because music does that: it takes you back to a time and a place; a moment.

Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl was my anthem during late high school, when I carried an unrequited torch for a friend’s boyfriend for years. Actual years. I played along with the charade right through until my HSC.

Then Lionel Richie’s All Night Long (All Night) became our year 12 anthem. Every time I hear it, I want to dance my troubles away, remembering a time when we were young and excited about a future that was just about to unfold.

One of my son’s favourite songs at the moment is Young, Wild and Free by Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa (and yes I had to Google that). And while I don’t condone the lyrics – don’t do drugs kids – it’s a catchy little tune that has anthem written all over it. That’s how it’s supposed to be, living young and wild and free.

At university, my musical world opened up. Meeting people with playlists – not that we called them playlists back then – that included bands like Talking Heads and New Order. Bands that were never on the radio station 2GZ in Orange where I grew up. It became OK to have a girl crush on Madonna. We felt political when we played Midnight Oil; felt socially conscious when we listened to Do They Know It’s Christmas? and We Are The World.

We lost our virginity to Springsteen’s The River, an oldie but a goodie. Had our hearts broken to The Church’s Under The Milky Way. I wish I’d known what he was looking for. Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees and that little key change where the girl is falling in love by the pianola, and he’s wondering whether he’ll go or stay. But who needs that sentimental bullshit anyway.

And then eventually babies came along. U2’s Beautiful Day on constant repeat between home and the obstetrician’s office in 2001. Coincidentally enough, U2’s Electrical Storm again in 2003. And then came the years washed over by The Wiggles and Justine Clarke, by Hi 5 and Playschool compilation albums.

And now we’re living the years where the kids are discovering their own music, developing their own tastes. Playing music in the car that you’re actually enjoying, or devil music as your own parents called it.

Finding songs you enjoy together. And there’s nothing better than when they discover one of the songs that you loved all by themselves. Buble, Air Supply, Springsteen, Adele, Tracy Chapman … they surprise me every day.

Let the music play.