Ask someone from outside Australia to name an Australian rock band, and the most likely answer would be "AC/DC". However, within Australia, there is one band that is at least as revered as "Akka-Dakka". That band is Cold Chisel.
Cold Chisel were formed in the 70s, during Australia's pub rock boom, which also produced the aforementioned AC/DC, among others. They were fronted by a young man called Jimmy Barnes, with pianist Don Walker writing the bulk of their songs. Even without huge amounts of support from radio or TV in their early days, the band garnered a large following via the pub circuit. In fact, it would be fair to describe them as the definitive Aussie pub rock band. However, despite their popularity in Australia, international success eluded them.
Cold Chisel broke up in 1983, but frontman Jimmy Barnes went on to a solo career, becoming even bigger than he was as a member of Cold Chisel. The band regrouped in 1998 for the album The Last Wave of Summer and a national tour, and still occasionally comes together again.
Cold Chisel contains examples of the following tropes:
- Album Title Drop: "Houndog" for Circus Animals. (See also Title Track, below.)
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Home and Broken-Hearted" has elements of this - it concerns a man getting dumped on Christmas Eve.What a low down time of the year to pack your luggage and leave...
- Careful with That Axe: Jimmy Barnes became a star on the internet thanks to this trope.
- Cover Version: The band frequently performed Knockin' On Heaven's Door as part of their live set.
- Epic Rocking: most live performances of Bow River.
- Genre Roulette: a limited example on Twentieth Century which featured twelve songs that were in the classic Chisel sound - and a reggae number penned by Barnes ("No Sense").
- Hot-Blooded: Jimmy Barnes
- Intercourse with You: "Hold Me Tight"
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Letter to Alan", "You Got Nothing I Want" and "Saturday Night".
- Metal Scream: It's probably the most famous thing about Jimmy Barnes after 2017.
- Mondegreen: The line in Khe Sanh is "The last plane out of Sydney's almost gone", not "The last train". (How are you supposed to take a train from Sydney to Hong Kong anyway?)
- "Cheap Wine and a three-legged goat"
- Non-Appearing Title: "Letter to Alan"
- Not Staying for Breakfast: "Juliet" and "Forever Now"
- Sentimental Drunk: Barnes drank a lot while on stage, and would usually reach this state somewhere in the second half of the show.
- Shout Out: the cover of East was a recreation of Jacques-Louis David's 1793 painting The Death of Marat.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Guitarist Ian Moss does lead vocals on a few songs, usually one or two each album, and sometimes split vocal duties with Barnes, as on "Saturday Night" and "When The War Is Over". He also filled in whenever Jimmy Barnes quit the band. His "Bow River" was a staple of the band's live set. They sound pretty similar, with Moss having a slightly lower register and a more narrow range.
- Take That!: "You Got Nothing I Want" is an angry rejection of American music labels that wouldn't accept the band as they were.
- That's All, Folks!: The band's final single, "Saturday Night", was released in early 1984, three months after its first breakup. In the words of composer Don Walker: "The band I'd been in for ten years was breaking up. I think it's just a 'kissing all that goodbye and moving on into the unknown' song."
- Title Track: exactly half of their studio albums - Breakfast at Sweethearts, Twentieth Century and The Last Wave of Summer.