Sunday, October 20, 2013

'80s Music Down Under: World Domination via Elle Macpherson

"The supermodels, Willy? That's all they are. Bottled promise." -- Beautiful Girls

Was there any better or cooler place to be in the 1980s than Australia? OK, so I’ve never been to Australia, not in person, but I know for certain it was the coolest place on the planet in the Big Decade.

The reason Australia took over rock and pop music in the ‘80s is simple: Elle Macpherson.

Elle Macpherson turned 18 in 1982 and was well on her way to becoming a supermodel. By that point -- possibly earlier -- she had already inspired every single male with a lick of musical talent to seek deep into their souls and eardrums for the best music they could generate, solely in the hopes of winning her love.

She was all seven muses of inspiration folded into one body -- Time magazine dubbed her “The Body,” which when you consider the rise of supermodel celebrities in the mid- to late ‘80s, to name give one of them such a moniker would be offensive were it not so well-deserved.

By the time her beauty had been imported into America, she’d already revolutionized music Down Under.

Macpherson also killed Olivia Newton-John's career. ONJ made musical magic from the lemon that was Xanadu and was bound for another decade of success when "Physical" hit Number 1 in 1981. That song -- laugh if you wish -- was the biggest-selling single of the entire decade, yet she never cracked the Top 20 again. All because Elle Macpherson turned 18. In the context of The Greater Good, this is a sacrifice we all must live with.

By 1988, I owned albums by, or had taped friends’ albums by, the following Australians: INXS (link to post on KICK), Rick Springfield (links), Men At Work, Icehouse, Midnight Oil, The Church, and Hoodoo Gurus. (Somehow I didn’t catch even a mild AC/DC fever until almost a decade later.)

The three most stunning and start-to-finish Elle Macpherson-inspired albums from the ‘80s:
  • Living In Oz - Rick Springfield
  • Kick - INXS
  • Magnum Cum Louder - Hoodoo Gurus
A sampling of additional favorite Macpherson Era songs from Australia:
  • What’s My Scene - Hoodoo Gurus
  • The Dead Heart - Midnight Oil
  • Don’t Change - INXS
  • Baby Can Dance - Hoodoo Gurus
  • Under the Milky Way - The Church
  • Sometimes - Midnight Oil
  • Be Good Johnny - Men At Work
  • Crazy - Icehouse
  • Forgotten Years - Midnight Oil
  • World Start Turning - Rick Springfield
  • Heartbreak Kid - Icehouse
The reason I might never make it to Australia, to see that place with my own eyes, is that it’s always been a fictional, too-good-to-be-true country of brilliant criminal minds in beautiful supermodel bodies, where Elle Macpherson is worshipped and obeyed and feared in much the same way Kim Jong Il is treated in North Korea. She bore a decade of pop music supremacy on her cocoa butter-soft shoulders and then faded quietly into the outback.

Then Natalie Imbruglia tried taking up the flag, and Australia hasn't had five great bands since. Jet and Silverchair and a few others have shone promise from time to time, but nothing has come close to the Macpherson Era.

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