I recall reading some years ago an account of the Mushroom 40th anniversary concert, held at the MCG and a description of Paul Kelly’s set stuck in my mind.
Paul had launched into the opening of Leaps and Bounds with
“I’m high on a hill, looking over the bridge
To the MCG”
when the crowd of around 60,0000 roared back the next lines
“And way up on high, the clock on the silo
Says 11 degrees.”
As I say, it stuck in my mind for two reasons. Firstly, it is such a beautiful evocation of a time and a place (a freezing Melbourne winter day near Punt Road) and secondly, I can’t imagine a crowd in any other Australian city doing anything similar.
I might be wrong, but I can’t think of any other Australian city being so commemorated in song than Melbourne. Certainly other Australian bands have been closely associated with their home towns; The Triffids (Perth), The Whitlams (Sydney), The Go-Betweens (Brisbane) but Melbourne seems to have a special place in the hearts of its songwriters.
A few quick examples; Sykhooks (“Balwyn Calling”, “Lygon Street Limbo”), The Sports (“What did the detectives say” with its reference to the then Russell Street police headquarters), Weddings, Parties Anything (“Party in Fitzroy”), The Zimmermen (“Don’t go to Sydney”), The Warner Brothers (“Stuck down in Melbourne again”), Underground Lovers (“Rushall Station”) and too many Paul Kelly songs to mention.
For others, see here.
I’ve often wondered why a flat, cold city at the arse-end of anywhere seems to inspire such devotion in music.
My answer – buggered if I know.