The Best Australian Bands, Ranked

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Who are the best Australian bands? The best bands from Australia you'll find on this list come from a variety of different musical genres, including rock, pop, metal, electronic, jam, punk, and acoustic. Sometimes known as "Oz Rock," rock n' roll has prevailed in Australia for the past 50 years.  

Three distinct types of rock made their way to the outback between 1955 - 1975. The first wave in the '50s was influenced by both American and British music. Most of the tunes in this era were fairly clean-cut acts, and often appeared on Bandstand. However, the Beatles swooped in shortly after and changed everything. With them came other pop acts, such as The BeeGees and The Easybeats. The third wave occurred in the early '70s, and influenced a new style of rock called "pub rock." The most famous pub rock band to come out of this decade was of course, AC/DC.  

Music lovers who are looking for new music to listen to can use this list of talented Australian musicians to discover some great new bands and artists. Vote up the best Australian bands based on the quality of their music rather than just their popularity or fame.

Most divisive: Savage Garden
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  • AC/DC
    6,502 votes

    A powerhouse in the rock world, this legendary band from Sydney is known for their high-energy performances, distinctive heavy sound, and unforgettable tunes. With an impressive career spanning nearly five decades, they've sold over 200 million records worldwide, solidifying their position as one of the best Australian bands of all time. Their uncanny ability to combine hard-hitting riffs with catchy melodies and in-your-face lyrics has garnered them a massive following and influence, not only in rock but pop culture as a whole.

    AC/DC are an Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014. Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band, they are also considered pioneers of heavy metal and are sometimes classified as such, though they have always dubbed their music as simply "rock and roll". AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975; Malcolm and Angus were the only original members left in the band.
  • INXS
    5,472 votes

    Hailing from Sydney, this iconic band exploded onto the scene in the late '70s, captivating audiences around the world with their unique blend of rock, pop, and New Wave. They consistently pushed boundaries and experimented with their sound, earning them respect within the industry, as well as multiple chart-topping hits and record sales exceeding 70 million worldwide. Known for their dynamic stage presence and unparalleled musicality, they remain a significant influence and staple in Australian music history.

    INXS (pronounced "in excess") were an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. The band's founding members were bassist Garry Gary Beers, main composer and keyboardist Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, guitarist Tim Farriss, lead singer and main lyricist Michael Hutchence, and guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly. For twenty years, INXS was fronted by Hutchence, whose magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band. Initially known for their new wave/pop style, the band later developed a harder pub rock style that included funk and dance elements.In 1984, INXS scored their first number-one hit in Australia with "Original Sin". The band would later achieve international success in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s with the hit albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick, and X, as well as the singles "What You Need", "Need You Tonight" (the band's first and only number-one single in the United States), "Devil Inside", "Never Tear Us Apart", "Suicide Blonde" and "New Sensation".Following Hutchence's death from suicide in November 1997, INXS made appearances with several guest singers and toured and recorded with Jon Stevens as lead singer beginning in 2002. In 2005, members of INXS participated in Rock Star: INXS, a reality television series that culminated in the selection of Canadian J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Gribbin replaced Fortune as lead singer in 2011. During a November 11, 2012 concert, INXS stated that the performance would be their last, though they did not announce a permanent band retirement. INXS won six Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards, including three for "Best Group" in 1987, 1989 and 1992; the band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001. INXS has sold an estimated 60 million records worldwide.
  • Midnight Oil
    4,736 votes

    Renowned for their potent mix of rock, punk, and new wave, this politically charged band from Sydney became an essential part of Australia's cultural fabric in the '80s and '90s. Their powerful messages of social justice, indigenous rights, and environmentalism resonated with fans across the globe, showcasing the depth of their songwriting and the strength of their convictions. With a relentless work ethic, they produced an illustrious career that included numerous chart successes and a lasting impact on generations of musicians to come.

    Midnight Oil (known informally as "The Oils") are an Australian rock band composed of Peter Garrett (vocals, harmonica), Rob Hirst (drums), Jim Moginie (guitar, keyboard), Martin Rotsey (guitar) and Bones Hillman (bass guitar). The group was formed in Sydney in 1972 by Hirst, Moginie and original bassist Andrew James as Farm: they enlisted Garrett the following year, changed their name in 1976, and hired Rotsey a year later. Peter Gifford served as bass player from 1980–1987. Midnight Oil issued their self-titled debut album in 1978, and gained a cult following in their homeland despite a lack of mainstream media acceptance. The band achieved greater popularity throughout in Australasia with the release of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (1982) – which spawned the singles "Power and the Passion" and "US Forces" – and also began to attract an audience in the United States. They achieved their first Australian number one album in 1984 with Red Sails in the Sunset, and topped their native country's singles chart for six weeks with the EP Species Deceases (1985). The group garnered worldwide attention with 1987 album Diesel and Dust. Its singles "The Dead Heart" and "Beds Are Burning" illuminated the plight of indigenous Australians, with the latter charting at number one in multiple countries. Midnight Oil had continued global success with Blue Sky Mining (1990) and Earth and Sun and Moon (1993) – each buoyed by an international hit single in "Blue Sky Mine" and "Truganini", respectively – and remained a formidable album chart presence in Australia until their 2002 disbandment. The group held concerts sporadically during the remainder of the 2000s, and announced a full-scale reformation in 2016. The band's music often broaches political subjects, and they have lent their support to multiple left-wing causes. They have won eleven Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards, and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006. Midnight Oil's legacy has grown since the late 1970s, with the outfit being cited as an influence, and their songs covered, by numerous popular artists. Aside from their studio output, the group are celebrated for their energetic live performances, which showcase the frenetic dancing of Garrett. Guardian writer Andrew Street described Midnight Oil as "one of Australia's most beloved bands".
  • Crowded House
    3,607 votes

    Formed in Melbourne in the mid-'80s, this powerhouse band created a lasting legacy in the world of alternative rock with their evocative lyrics, intricate harmonies, and infectious melodies. Their masterful blending of pop, rock, and folk elements led to numerous chart successes and a devoted fanbase, both in Australia and internationally. Known for their emotive live performances, they remain a beloved and influential group in the annals of Australian music.

    Crowded House are a rock band, formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1985. Its founding members were New Zealander Neil Finn (vocalist, guitarist, primary songwriter) and Australians Paul Hester (drums) and Nick Seymour (bass). Later band members included Neil Finn's brother, Tim Finn, and Americans Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod.Originally active from 1985 to 1996, Crowded House had consistent commercial and critical success in Australia and New Zealand and international chart success in two phases, beginning with a self-titled debut album that reached number twelve on the US Album Chart in 1987 and provided the Top Ten hits "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong". Further international success came in the UK, Europe and South Africa with their third and fourth albums (Woodface and Together Alone) and the compilation album Recurring Dream, which included the hits "Fall at Your Feet", "Weather with You", "Distant Sun", "Locked Out", "Instinct" and "Not the Girl You Think You Are". Neil and Tim Finn were each awarded an OBE in June 1993 for their contributions to the music of New Zealand.In June 1996, Crowded House announced that it would disband. The band played several farewell concerts that year, including the "Farewell to the World" concerts in Melbourne and Sydney. On 26 March 2005, Hester died by suicide, aged 46. In 2006, the group re-formed with drummer Matt Sherrod and released two further albums (in 2007 and 2010), each of which reached number one on Australia's album chart.As of July 2010, Crowded House had sold 10 million albums. In November 2016, the band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
  • Powderfinger
    2,509 votes

    With origins in Brisbane, this alternative rock band captured audiences' hearts across Australia and beyond throughout the '90s and 2000s with their introspective lyrics, anthemic choruses, and dramatic guitar-driven soundscapes. Their numerous accolades, including multiple ARIA awards and millions of records sold, attest to their widespread impact and appeal. As one of Australia's most successful and respected rock bands, their legacy remains an essential piece of the nation's musical tapestry.

    Powderfinger were an Australian rock band formed in Brisbane in 1989. From 1992 until their break-up in 2010 the line-up consisted of vocalist Bernard Fanning, guitarists Darren Middleton and Ian Haug, bass guitarist John Collins, and drummer Jon Coghill. The group's third studio album Internationalist peaked at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart in September 1998. They followed with four more number-one studio albums in a row: Odyssey Number Five (September 2000), Vulture Street (July 2003), Dream Days at the Hotel Existence (June 2007), and Golden Rule (November 2009). Their Top Ten hit singles are "My Happiness" (2000), "(Baby I've Got You) On My Mind" (2003), and "Lost and Running" (2007). Powderfinger earned a total of eighteen ARIA Awards, making them the second-most awarded band behind Silverchair. Ten Powderfinger albums and DVDs certified multiple-platinum, with Odyssey Number Five – their most successful album – achieving eightfold platinum certification for shipment of over 560,000 units. After the release of their first DVD, These Days: Live in Concert (September 2004), and the compilation album Fingerprints: The Best of Powderfinger, 1994–2000 (November 2004), the group announced a hiatus in 2005. The June 2007 announcement of a two-month-long nationwide tour with Silverchair, Across the Great Divide tour, followed the release of Dream Days at the Hotel Existence. Powderfinger were also involved in various philanthropic causes. In 2005, they performed at a WaveAid concert in Sydney, to help raise funds for areas affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Another performance at the Sydney Opera House in October 2007 raised funds for breast cancer victims and their families. One aim of their Across the Great Divide Tour was to promote the efforts of Reconciliation Australia, and awareness of the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. In April 2010 Powderfinger announced that they would be breaking up after their Sunsets Farewell Tour, declaring it would be their last ever as they had musically said everything they wanted to say. On 13 November 2010, they played their last concert, signifying their disbandment. In November the following year, rock music journalist Dino Scatena and Powderfinger published a biography, Footprints: the inside story of Australia's best loved band.
  • The Angels
    2,676 votes

    Heralding from Adelaide, this hard-rocking band commanded attention with their pounding rhythms, razor-sharp guitar riffs, and distinctive vocals during the '70s and '80s. As pioneers of the Australian pub rock scene, they played a significant role in shaping the nation's musical landscape and paved the way for future generations of local musicians. With a career spanning four decades and 13 studio albums, their enduring influence and popularity among rock enthusiasts are undeniable.

    The Angels are an Australian rock band that formed in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1974. The band later relocated to Sydney and enjoyed huge local success, clocking up hit singles across four decades, including "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", "Take a Long Line", "Marseilles", "Shadow Boxer", "No Secrets", "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place", "Let The Night Roll On", and "Dogs Are Talking". The Angels were cited by Guns N' Roses and a number of Seattle grunge bands, including Pearl Jam and Nirvana, as having influenced their music. In the international market, to avoid legal problems with the Casablanca Records' act Angel, their records were released under the names Angel City and later The Angels from Angel City. Lead singer Doc Neeson who fronted the band from 1974-1999 left pre-Millenium due to spinal injuries sustained in a car accident. After spending most of the 2000s apart, in April 2008, the original 1970s line-up of The Angels reformed for a series of tours. In January 2013 it was announced that lead singer Doc Neeson had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and would undergo immediate treatment. Neeson died aged 67.