Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Powderfinger are a successful Australian rock band. The band formed in 1990 in Brisbane, with the present lineup of Bernard Fanning (Vocals, Guitar), John Collins (Bass Guitar), Ian Haug (Guitar, Backup Vocals), Darren Middleton (Guitar, Backup Vocals) and Jon Coghill (Drums, Percussion) settling in 1992.
Formation and rise to prominence
They initially performed mainly covers of other artists, gradually developing their own material. After one independent EP, they were signed to Polydor and in 1994 released their first album, Parables for Wooden Ears, which charted modestly, and began to give the band a national profile.
Two more EP's followed until their second album, Double Allergic in 1996, which was a big success, going "double platinum" (which implies selling over 70,000 copies in Australia), with two singles, "Pick You Up" and "DAF" receiving much radio airplay. Their subsequent albums, 1998's Internationalist, and 2000's Odyssey Number 5 were more successful still, both reaching #1, with Internationalist selling over 330,000 copies, most in Australia but also in the UK and Europe, and #5 "over 5 times platinum (350,000 copies) domestically.
Both albums featured much melodic rock, with lead singer's soulful voice often compared to the band's declared inspiration, Neil Young (in fact, Powderfinger is named after one of Young's songs). Many of their singles featured instantly memorable choruses.
Local success and recognition
During this period they were a highly successful live act, but probably not rated as highly for this as several other Australian rock bands of the period such as You Am I, with a more laid back onstage presence.
2003's Vulture Street (named after a prominent Brisbane street) headed off in a slightly more aggressive direction, though still with their trademark ballads. It debuted at #1 and has sold over 350,000 copies to date.
Powderfinger have won most of the Australian pop music industry's awards, including ARIA awards for their albums and singles. The singles "These Days" and "My Happiness" were voted #1 in the Triple J Hottest 100 poll in 1999 and 2000 respectively. They are so far the only group to have topped the poll twice. In 2003 they gained five tracks in the top 100, and three in the top ten. Most notably, in 2003 they won an ARIA for Best Band of 2003.
Powderfinger have had some international success in the UK and Europe, but like many successful Australian acts have not captured the imagination of the United States.
In 2004, they have released 2 albums, a live album called These Days - Live In Concert, and also a best of album, Fingerprints: Best Of 1994 - 2000. Both of these reached #2 in the charts.
Recently, Bernard was a guest vocalist on part two of supergroup The Wrights' cover of Stevie Wright 's (lead singer of The Easybeats) "Evie" (now a trilogy). The first part was first performed at the 2004 ARIA awards. The supergroup features members of many other Australian rock bands.
- Parables for Wooden Ears (Polydor 522570-2, 18 July 1994)
- Double Allergic (Polydor 533153-2, 2 September 1996)
- Internationalist (Polydor 559201-2, 7 September 1998)
- Odyssey Number Five (Grudge/Universal 549092-2, 4 September 2000)
- Vulture Street (Grudge/Universal 038353-2, 2003)
- These Days - Live In Concert
- "Powderfinger" (Blue EP) (MDS FINGER1, 1st April 1993) — Take a Light/Sacrifice (Blackjack)/Freedom/If I Tried/Save Your Skin/Lighten My Load/It's No Crime
- "Transfusion" (Polydor 859727-2, 1993) — Reap What You Sow/Change the Tide/Blind To Reason/Mama Harry/Rise Up
- "Mr Kneebone" (Polydor 579679-2, 24th July 1995) — Swollen Tongue/Stitches/Drongo/My Urn/I'm Splittin' Terry
- "Passenger" (Grudge/Universal 563939-2, 9th August 1999) — Passenger (Album Version)/These Days/Passenger (Live)/Pick You Up (Live)/Maxwells' Great Mistake/That Ol' Track
- Powderfinger - Lyrics Analysis of Neil Young song
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