Australia (Manic Street Preachers song)

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Australia (1996 single).jpg
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album Everything Must Go
Released 2 December 1996
Format CD, cassette
Genre Alternative rock, Britpop
Length 4:05 (album version)
3:42 (edit)
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore, Nicky Wire
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"Kevin Carter"
"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
"Kevin Carter"
"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"

"Australia" was released by Manic Street Preachers on 2 December 1996 through Epic and was the fourth and final single release from the Everything Must Go album of May that same year. The song peaked on number 7 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and it was the fourth consecutive top 10 hit for the band.


The sentiment of the song is that Australia is just about the furthest one can go to get away from their home in Wales and is a metaphor for Nicky Wire's desire to escape from the emotional turmoil caused by the disappearance of his close friend and co-lyricist, Richey Edwards.[2]

The music helps the lyrics convey the sense of freedom, featuring heavy guitar sound coupled with a raw emotion, and a crescendo bolstered by Sean Moore's drumming.[3]


On 14 December 1996, "Australia" reached number seven in the UK charts, giving the Manics their fourth consecutive top ten hit. It charted for 9 weeks in the UK charts. With this, all singles from Everything Must Go charted within the top 10 in the UK.[1] It also made an appearance as track number seven on Forever Delayed, the band's greatest hits album, released in November 2002, however like many other songs, the single was edited in order to fit on the album, it has 3:42, while the album version has 4:05.[4]

The first CD included "Velocity Girl", "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (all three being cover versions of songs originally performed by Primal Scream, Camper Van Beethoven and Frankie Valli, respectively) and the cassette featured a live recording of "A Design for Life". All 3 of the CD cover versions would later feature on the Lipstick Traces compilation album in 2003 (although "Take the Skinheads Bowling" was re-recorded).[5] The lack of original Manics material for the single's extra tracks was attributed to Nicky Wire having a case of writer's block as he approached writing material for the band's next album. He attributed this to the fact that it was the first time he had written a whole album without Richey's help.[6]


In October 2011, NME placed "Australia" at number 150 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[7]

The song was the theme tune to the Nickelodeon UK sitcom Renford Rejects and has also been used in adverts for the Australian Tourist Board.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore; except where indicated. All lyrics written by Nicky Wire; except where indicated.

CD one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Australia" (Radio edit)   3:41
2. "Velocity Girl" (orig. by Primal Scream) James Beattie, Robert Gillespie 1:41
3. "Take the Skinheads Bowling" (orig. by Camper Van Beethoven) Chris Molla, David Lowery, Greg Lisher, Victor Krummenacher 2:42
4. "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (orig. by Frankie Valli) Bob Crewe, Robert Gaudio 3:12
CD two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Australia" (Radio edit)   3:41
2. "Australia (Lionrock Remix)"   5:57
3. "Motorcycle Emptiness (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Remix)" Bradfield, Moore (music). Richey James, Wire (lyrics) 6:15
4. "Motorcycle Emptiness (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Soundtrack)" Bradfield, Moore (music). James, Wire (lyrics) 6:20
Cassette/7' jukebox vinyl
No. Title Length
1. "Australia" (Radio edit) 3:41
2. "A Design for Life (Live)"  


Chart (1996) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 7


  1. ^ a b c "Manic Street Preachers - Official Single Charts". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. 
  3. ^ "‘AUSTRALIA’". 
  4. ^ "Manic Street Preachers singles". 
  5. ^ "Manic Street Preachers albums". 
  6. ^ a b Price 1998.
  7. ^ "Best songs of the past 15 years". 

External links[edit]