Beds Are Burning

Beds Are Burning

Infobox Single
Name = Beds Are Burning

Artist = Midnight Oil
from Album = Diesel and Dust
Genre = Rock
Length = 4:18
Label = Columbia Records
Released = 1987
Producer = Midnight Oil
Last single = "The Dead Heart" (1986)
This single = "Beds Are Burning" (1987)
Next single = "Put Down That Weapon" (1987)

"Beds Are Burning" is a 1987 hit single by Australian rock band Midnight Oil, the first track from their album "Diesel and Dust". This song was not the first song from the album to be released as a single; the first to be released was "The Dead Heart."

It reached #1 in the South African charts, #3 in the Netherlands Top 40, #5 in the France Top 50, #6 in the UK charts, #11 in Ireland, #17 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and in Sweden.

It is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

In May 2001, Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the Best Australian Songs of all time, as decided by a 100 strong industry panel, "Beds Are Burning" was declared third behind the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" and Daddy Cool's "Eagle Rock". [cite web |url= |title=The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs |publisher=APRA |date=2001-05-28 |accessdate=2008-05-08]


"Beds Are Burning" is a political song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert. These 'last contact' people began moving from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950s and 1960's to the Papunya settlement. In 1981 they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore community which is nestled in the picturesque Kintore Ranges, surrounded by Mulga and Spinifex country. It is now a thriving little community with a population of about 400.

Midnight Oil performed the song in front of a world audience of billions (including Prime Minister John Howard who has claimed this is his favorite Midnight Oil song) at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The whole band were dressed in black, with the words "sorry" printed conspicuously on their clothes. This was a reference to the Prime Minister's refusal to apologize, on behalf of Australia, to the Aboriginal Australians for the way they have been treated over the last 200 years.

Cover versions

In 2004, the German Eurodance group Novaspace covered this song. In 2006, Pearl Jam covered the song as a tag to their hit song "Daughter" during the Australian leg of their tour, in the same year a french band called "Black Bomb A" released their version of it in the album "One Sound Bite to React". In 2008, The Nightwatchman covered the song with Justin Sane and Chris #2 of Anti-Flag at the Sydney & Perth Big Day Out festival, and additionally Billy Bragg at the Adelaide Big Day Out festival in Australia. Also, Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde recently covered the song.


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