How Many Albums From WA Acts Have Reached No.1?
With Spacey Jane debuting this week at No.1 on the ARIA Albums Chart with “Here Comes Everybody,” TMN looks at which other WA acts have reached the top of Australia’s music charts.
With third and fourth albums “Currents” (2015) and “The Slow Rush” (2020), Tame Impala hit the sweet spot – international acclaim for stretching musical boundaries, charting in 25 countries, and turning Kevin Parker into an international player and collaborator.
JOHN BUTLER TRIO
Formed in Fremantle in 1998, the John Butler Trio became a formidable live act with a fiercely loyal audience.
They made sure “Sunrise Over Sea” (2004), “Grand National” (2007) and “April Uprising” (2010) debuted at number one and hit platinum.
The prog-rockers formed in 1997 and built up via “Themata” (No.41) and “Sound Awake” (No.2).
Before the making of “Asymmetry”, singer Ian Kenny wanted it to have more personality and road-tested it with 16 sell-out shows.
When it was released on July 19, 2013, it debuted at No.1 and won them an ARIA award.
From doing Bob Dylan covers as teenage daughters of an Albany salmon fisherman, Vikki and Donna Simpson (who found a ‘brother’ Josh Cunningham in Broome) ended up being taken by Dylan on his 2003 North American tour.
A mixture of sparkling songs, an incessant touring schedule and an immediate folk-rock sound saw the Waifs hit multi-platinum consistently.
From 2003, they had a strong run – “Up All Night” (No.3), “Sun Dirt Water” (No.2),”Temptation” (No.3) and “Beautiful You” (No.5) but it took 2017’s “Ironbark” to get bragging rights to a No.1.
Eskimo Joe were another band who sang about their hometown Fremantle but with universal themes and radio-friendly melodies.
Their first album “Girl” (2001) on Modular misfired, reaching only No.29.
A move to Festival Mushroom ushered a golden period. “A Song Is A City” (2004) went to No.2 but “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” (2006) and “Inshalla” (2009) hit #1, bringing with them multiple platinum, ARIA and triple j triumphs.
BIRDS OF TOKYO
A mixture of hard hitting riffs and comforting balm to the soul created an unwavering and diverse following for Birds of Tokyo.
“Universes” (2008) reached No.3 and “Birds of Tokyo” (2010) hit No.2 but aided by the triple Platinum single “Lanterns” – the most played song on radio for first six months of 2013 – “March Fires” debuted at No.1.
They repeated that with “Human Design” in 2020.
Gyroscope’s third album “Breed Obsession” (2008) out through Warner Music yielded four singles including “Snakeskin”, a triple j hit which came with a video shot in Stonehenge featuring them play in a 200-metre crop circle.
It wasn’t Troye Sivan’s albums “Blue Neighbourhood” and “Bloom” but his maxi-EP “Wild” (2015) which got him a No.1.
It was placed on the Album Chart and not in the Singles Chart where four-track EPs are usually listed.
AND NOT FORGETTING…
US-born Perth-raised Diesel moved to Sydney and had two chart toppers with solo albums “Hepfidelity” (1992) and “The Lobbyist” (1993).
Some would argue that INXS met up at high school in Sydney but became a band in Perth as the Farriss Brothers, and this list could include their four Aussie number ones.
Dave Faulkner and drummer James Baker went East and formed Hoodoo Gurus, who reached No.2 with “Blow Your Cool” and “Crank”.
Suze DeMarchi, Frank Celenza, Eddie Parise and Dave Leslie relocated to Sydney and formed Baby Animals.
High on a buzz, their self-titled debut crashed in at #1 in September 1991 and went on to be certified Platinum eight times.
They remain a live blast but never recaptured the ‘lightning in the bottle’ on record.
Kalgoorlie-born Tim Rogers and East Fremantle drummer Rusty Hopkinson formed You Am I in 1989 on the East Coast, and became the first Aussie band to release three successive albums that each debuted at No.1: “Hi Fi Way” (1995), “Hourly, Daily” (1996) and “#4 Record” (1998).
It’s hard to believe that none of the early AC/DC classics with Fremantle-raised Bon Scott like High Voltage, and Highway To Hell never made that the long way to the top although they sold well enough to get multi-platinum status.
“TNT” came close with a No.2 spot, and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” peaked at #No..
AC/DC’s first Aussie chart topper was in 1980 with “Back In Black” with Scott’s replacement Brian Johnson, after which they followed with five more top spins.