Beds Are Burning

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"Beds Are Burning"
Single by Midnight Oil
from the album Diesel and Dust
Released 1987
Recorded 1987
Genre
Length 4:18
Label Columbia
Producer(s)
Midnight Oil singles chronology
"The Dead Heart"
(1986)
"Beds Are Burning"
(1987)
"Put Down That Weapon"
(1987)
Music sample

"Beds Are Burning" is a 1987 song by Australian rock band Midnight Oil, the first track from their album Diesel and Dust. This song was the second from the album to be released as a single, and is among the band's best-known songs outside Australia.

It reached No. 1 in the New Zealand and South African charts, No. 2 in Canada, No. 3 in the Netherlands, No. 5 in France, No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 11 in Ireland, and No. 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in Sweden.

It is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

It was named number 95 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s and number 97 by the Triple J Hottest 100 Of All Time in 2009.

In May 2001, Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the Best Australian Songs of all time, as decided by a 100 strong industry panel. "Beds Are Burning" was declared third behind the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" and Daddy Cool's "Eagle Rock".[1]

Meaning[edit]

"Beds Are Burning" is a protest song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert. These 'last contact' people began moving from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950s and 1960s to the Papunya settlement. In 1981, they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore community, which is nestled in the picturesque Kintore Ranges, surrounded by Mulga and Spinifex country. It is a community with a population of about 400. Kintore and the town of Yuendumu are mentioned by name in the lyrics, as are vehicles produced by the Holden company.[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Always on My Mind" by Pet Shop Boys
Canadian RPM number-one single
4 June 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"One More Try" by George Michael
Preceded by
"The Game of Love" by Tex Pistol
"Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
New Zealand number-one single
25 October 1987 – 1 November 1987 (2 weeks)
22 November 1987 – 29 November 1987 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
"Faith" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car" by Billy Ocean
South African number-one single
28 May 1988 – 25 June 1988 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Should Be So Lucky" by Kylie Minogue

Performances[edit]

Midnight Oil performed the song in front of a world audience of millions at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Then Prime Minister John Howard had triggered controversy that year with his refusal to embrace symbolic reconciliation and apologise to Indigenous Australians and members of the Stolen Generations. But he had also claimed that the reconciliation-themed "Beds Are Burning" was his favorite Midnight Oil song. The band played it dressed in black, with the word "Sorry" printed conspicuously all over their clothes, as a popular apology to indigenous people and to highlight the issue to Howard, who was in the audience as the ranking Olympic host.

Other appearances[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs at the Wayback Machine (archived 8 March 2008). Australasian Performing Rights Association. 28 May 2001. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  2. ^ "Beds Are Burning". Midnight-oil.info. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ultratop.be – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30 : 14 mei 1988" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dance/Urban – Volume 48, No. 20, September 03 1988". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8655." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Lescharts.com – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Beds Are Burning". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  13. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (M)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Archive Chart: 1989-05-13" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  16. ^ a b c d "Midnight Oil – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  17. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JUNE 25, 1988 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 October 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  18. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "TOP – 1988" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "De Single Top 100 over 1988" (PDF) (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1988" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1988". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning". Music Canada. 
  26. ^ "French single certifications – Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select MIDNIGHT OIL and click OK
  27. ^ "Les Singles en Argent" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  28. ^ MySpace[dead link]
  29. ^ Mogus, Jason (1 October 2009). 'Beds are Burning' brings celebrities together in support of TckTckTck and climate justice at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 October 2009). Tcktcktck.org. Retrieved 3 May 2014.

External links[edit]