It’s that time of the year again, folks. January is almost upon us, and that means one thing for lovers of Australian music; triple j’s Hottest 100. Following a few years of controversy, the station have finally decided to change the date of the annual poll from January 26th to January 27th (at least in 2018), but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a day in which music lovers from all around the world unite to share in a mutual love of good tunes.
While in recent years and months we’ve looked at many Hottest 100 aspects, such as some of the best band campaigns for your votes, bands who have never made a countdown, and some of the strangest Hottest 100 facts, but today we’re taking a stroll down memory lane and having a look at some of the memorable moments of the countdown. Some might be a little serious, others a little less so, but all in all, it encompasses exactly what the Hottest 100 is about; having fun, and listening to great music.
Mumford & Sons Give Birth To A New Tradition
The 2009 Hottest 100 countdown is famous for a little bit of controversy, namely in the form of the triple j’s webstore managing to give away the results in the days leading up to the countdown. When January 26th, 2009 rolled around, folks were pretty certain they were going to hear Mumford & Sons’ ‘Little Lion Man’ reach #1 as the leaked information had foretold.
As we know, that’s exactly what happened, but triple j decided to sweeten the deal and condone for their mistakes by surprising listeners with an impromptu on-air performance by the band, who were in the country at the time. After a live performance of ‘Little Lion Man’, triple j played the studio version of the track, thereby giving birth the current tradition of playing the winning song twice on countdown day.
Triple J Get Some Prime Ministers In On The Action
While politicians are forever trying their best to relate to a younger demographic, music seems to be one avenue they can never really have any influence in. However, on two seperate occasions, triple j managed to get music lovers from all over the world to listen to the words of our politicians.
In 1997, as Australia was getting their second #1 by way of The Whitlams’ ‘No Aphrodisiac’, their eponym, ex-prime minister Gough Whitlam surprised the group by announcing on air that they were the winners of the countdown. Whitlam would later do the same thing later that year when he presented The Whitlams with their ‘best group’ ARIA. 15 years later, in 2012, when Flight Facilities’ ‘Clair De Lune’ managed to reach #17 in the countdown, it was announced by our then-prime minister Julia Gillard as her favourite song for the year.
Augie March Cause One Big Upset
Aussie alternative music in 2006 was dominated almost entirely by Eskimo Joe and the Hilltop Hoods. While Eskimo Joe’s ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ was blaring out of everyone’s speakers in 2006, and Hilltop Hoods’ ‘The Hard Road’ was the soundtrack to every club in Adelaide, there was one dark horse that no one really expected to top a Hottest 100 countdown.
Despite having fared very well on radio, but not reaching the same chart heights as the Eskimo Joe and Hilltop Hoods tracks, Augie March’s ‘One Crowded Hour’ managed to beat the odds and dominate the countdown. In addition to presenters on the day referring to Augie March’s win as a huge upset, there was even an instance of an Aussie uni student trying to make sense of the perceived travesty and work out whether Augie March only won because their name meant they appeared at the top of the voting list.
Triple J Breakfast Hosts Have A History Of Trolling The Poll
Despite there now being a ‘Taylor Swift clause’ in the countdown since 2015 which states ‘don’t troll the poll’, it came about 13 years too late for a couple of hosts. We spoke once before about how former breakfast hosts Adam Spencer & Wil Anderson tried to get a fake song into the countdown, but it’s often forgotten that they had a habit of on-air practical jokes, especially during the countdown.
During the 2001 countdown, the duo decided to play their own song as the #1 track, a then-topical parody of Outkast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’, entitled ‘Sorry Matt Hayden’. The following year (which actually featured The Vines’ cover of the song making the countdown), the duo decided not to play Queens Of The Stone Age’s ‘No One Knows’ as the winning song, but rather Nelly’s absolute banger ‘Hot In Herre’. After playing most of the song, they broke the CD on air, and played the correct song.
A Brisbane Band Rig Their Way Into A Countdown
Back in 1994, the most common way to vote for a track in the countdown was to do it by phone voting. Back then, each song was given a pin number of sorts, once you rang up the vote line, you gave that number out, and your vote was counted. Sure, it’s archaic now, but that’s how it used to be done. Of course, you couldn’t rig the countdown by creating different email address and voting multiple times, could you? Well, sort of.
See, Brisbane band Pale once remarked to a local street press magazine that they cheated their way into the countdown by getting friends and family to vote for them. However, as it turns out, the band just had some diehard fans. After a lot of airplay and a Live At the Wireless appearance, the group’s big single ‘Lemon Sparked’ was given a voting pin number, and was eligible for the countdown. The group’s countless friends, family, and fans managed to vote for the song so often that the track got to #62 that year, just beating out Blur’s ‘Parklife’.
The Cat Empire Ring In Aussie Dominance
The Hottest 100 these days is a predominantly Australian affair, with Aussies making up more than half of the countdown each year. In fact, after L D R U’s ‘Next To You’ appeared in the 2016 countdown, it marked the 1,000th Aussie song to have made the countdown. But things weren’t always like that, though, Australia were once the underdog.
For the first 6 years, the countdowns were dominated by the USA, with Australia finally getting the better of them and overtaking them in yearly countdowns in 1999. For a few years though, Australia was trailing the USA in total songs, that is, until 2005. With the totals tied at 459 at the end of 2005, each country needed one song to get ahead. As the 2005 countdown started, The Cat Empire’s ‘Party Started’ was the first song played at #100. That song got Australia in front of the USA, and they’ve been streets ahead ever since.
Silverchair Just Miss Out In 2007
We’ve covered how Augie March caused a bit of an upset in the 2006 countdown, but there was almost another, just one year later. 2007 was the year of Silverchair, the legendary Aussie rockers had released their most successful single ‘Straight Lines’, and they were riding on the success of what would be their final album, Young Modern. One would think this would play right into Hottest 100 success, right? Well…
2007 also saw Muse’s ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ receive a massive boost of popularity thanks to the video game Guitar Hero. ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ was released in 2006, but the track’s appearance on the then-phenomenal video game gave it levels of unprecedented popularity at the time. When countdown time came around, the track managed to win the countdown by the closest margin yet, 13 votes, ultimately depriving Silverchair of their last grasp at Hottest 100 glory.
The Chaser’s Chris Taylor Goes Streaking
Back in 2004 The Chaser’s profile was blowing up, with its show CNNN becoming a cult-hit on television, and some of its members, including Chris Taylor, being a drive-time host on triple j. During the lead-up to the 2004 countdown, Chris Taylor decided to up the ante a bit, making a satirical bet that if the theme song to Mediawatch made it into the countdown, he would go streaking around the grounds of the Sydney Big Day Out festival.
As the #7 song for the countdown was revealed, it was said that the Mediawatch theme had made the countdown, meaning Taylor would have to stay true to his bet. Following his streak, announcers revealed they had been joking, and since the track was released prior to 2004, was ineligible for the countdown. In an odd twist though, 6 years later saw Pendulum’s remix of the ABC News theme reached #11 in the 2010 countdown, however there was no streaking bet placed that year.
Dave Grohl Dominates The 2002 Countdown
Let’s face it, Dave Grohl is undoubtedly one of the most successful musicians in the Hottest 100. Having appeared a total of 32 times in the history of the countdown through appearances with Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures and Nirvana, who have won every ‘All-Time’ countdown since 1991 with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
In 2002 though, Dave Grohl was in fine form though. Foo Fighters released One By One, Nirvana resurfaced with the track ‘You Know You’re Right’, and Grohl was roped in to be the drummer for Queens Of The Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf. All told, Grohl managed to feature on a total of 10 songs, including QOTSA’s ‘No One Knows’, at #1. Grohl set such a record that the only artists to even get close to beating this record have been Jack White in 2003, and Wolfmother in 2005, and their total was a comparatively low 6 entries.
Pauline Hanson Does & Doesn’t Make The Countdown
We’ve talked at length about Pauline Hanson’s encounter with the Hottest 100 before, but with the controversial politician back in the news in recent years, we think this deserves a recap. In 1997, satirical musician Pauline Pantsdown decided to release a track entitled ‘Back Door Man’. The track was built on audio grabs of Hanson and edited in a way that was deemed ‘defamatory’ by a court. After only 11 days of airplay, it was banned from the station, but still voted into the Hottest 100. Meaning that when it reached #5, it wasn’t allowed to be played.
Not one to be held back, Pantsdown (whose real name is Simon Hunt, by the way) released a new track which criticised Hanson’s dislike of the previous release, fittingly titled ‘I Don’t Like It’. Made using the same process as the one before it, it wasn’t as successful, but it didn’t feature enough questionable material to be banned again. Either way, the track was responsible for bringing Pauline Hanson into the 1998 countdown, reaching #58.