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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Cold Chisel - 1982 Circus Animals
Cold Chisel - 1982 Circus Animals

ARTIST: Cold Chisel
ALBUM: Circus Animals
LABEL: WEA Australia
SERIAL: 600113
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1987, WEA Australia, 600113-2


LINEUP: Jimmy Barnes - vocals * Ian Moss - guitar, vocals * Phil Small - bass * Steve Prestwich - drums * Don Walker - keyboards, organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 You Got Nothing I Want * 02 Bow River * 03 Forever Now * 04 Taipan * 05 Houndog * 06 Wild Colonial Boy * 07 No Good For You * 08 Numbers Fall * 09 When The War Is Over * 10 Letter To Alan


Along with the likes of AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, few bands embodied the blue collar Australian rock ethic of Cold Chisel in the late 70's and early 80's, with the bands massive success never translating on an international stage for the most part. The band formed as far back as 1973 but didn't release their self-titled debut until 1978, finding almost instant acclaim after years of toil. Obviously the focal point of the band was Barnes, whose wild man antics gave the band somewhat of an edge. Up until 'Circus Animals' the band had risen to become of the most popular bands in the country, with their hard rock finding favor with the masses. Unfortunately the United States didn't concur and a short tour in 1981 was a disaster, with the overseas label also dismissing the bands chances there. That experience would manifest itself on 'Circus Animals' an album which went on to become the bands most successful and one which was hard to escape in the early 80's if you lived down under.

The Songs
Opening the album with the ferocious 'You Got Nothing I Want' showed the band at their heaviest and this is supposedly their riposte to the U.S. record industry who cast them aside. Who can forget the video for this song with Barnes wearing a beat up Rugby League jersey and looking like an archetypical Aussie geezer? Legendary stuff! Moss takes lead vocals for 'Bow River' which is another good example of the bands bar room boogie style, uniquely Australian. 'Forever Now' was the albums biggest hit, a song heard millions of times over the years no doubt, with more of an AOR flavour opposed to the more gruff tunes. This is truly a timeless classic that showed the bands versatility. Barnes is at his most distinctive on 'Houndog', a rocker which takes several tangents, sometimes reflective but mostly heavy. 'Wild Colonial Boy' is a rebellious anthem and became well known as a result, with Barnes showing his Aussie pride. 'No Good For You' is on the more radio friendly side and I could imagine this one on a Michael Stanley Band album for example. AOR followers will be familiar with the Prestwich penned 'When the War Is Over', which Moss takes vocals for. This superb ballad would be covered by John Farnham twice (including L.R.B) and Uriah Heep, along with numerous other Australian artists who have no place being mentioned here. 'Letter To Alan' sees the band back to their hard rock best, the song an ode to a deceased roadie of the band. This is a showcase for the considerable skills of Moss especially.

In Summary
Despite the album shifting huge quantities the band itself was on the verge of dissolving and after 1984's 'Twentieth Century' the band folded after their then final tour. They reformed in 1998 after years of speculation and the resulting album 'The Last Wave Of Summer' was a decent comeback. It wasn't until 2012 that the band recorded again, although I've yet to hear 'No Plans'. Sadly Prestwich died in 2011 from a brain tumor. For those who haven't familiarized themselves with Cold Chisel then this is as good a place to start as any, but honestly you can't go wrong with any of their albums. The music is as honest and raw as it's ever gotten, in true Australian style.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 15 2013 15:23:54
YouTube Video:
#2 | gdazegod on April 15 2013 15:24:20
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#3 | gdazegod on April 15 2013 15:28:23
YouTube Video:
#4 | gdazegod on April 15 2013 15:38:23
'Forever Now' is like one of the national anthems of Australia.. lol!
#5 | fenton on June 28 2014 15:01:23
You can get yourself into trouble in Australia attempting Barnesy at a pub karoake if you're not quite up to muster. I saw a guy get glassed at the Victory hotel one afternoon after a botched performance of Khe Sanh
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