Beds are Burning Midnight Oil



” Beds are Burning ” is by Midnight Oil, the Australian rock band, called Farm initially but changed their name to Midnight Oil after drawing the name out of a hat. The song was written by Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Peter Garrett.
Production for the single was by Midnight Oil and Warne Livesey. Warne is an award-winning British producer, mixer, songwriter and musician. He has worked with artists including Sinéad O’Connor, Deacon Blue, Paul Young and Julian Cope.
” Beds are Burning ” was released in 1987 by Columbia and taken as the group’s second single from their sixth album, Diesel and Dust.
The single is written as a protest song about giving lands back to the native Australian Pintupi. The Pintupi are Aboriginal Australian’s whose homeland is situated in the area west of Lake MacDonald and Lake Mackay in Western Australia.
Known as the ” Last contact ” people, they began to move from the Gibson Desert into settlements and missions. The Gibson Desert is the fifth largest desert in Australia with an area covering some 60,000 miles.
Named by explorer Ernest Giles after one of his exploration party, Alfred Gibson, became lost and was thought to have died in the desert during their expedition in 1874.
In the 1950s and 60s, the Pintupi were forced to move into the Papunya settlement. In the early eighties, they moved back to their own country and set up the Kintore community.
In the lyrics Midnight Oil mentions the community and the town of Yuendumu, they also mention vehicles made by the Holden company. The Holden company was founded in 1856 as a manufacturer of saddlery. In 1908 they started making vehicles before being taken over by the US car giant General Motors ( GM ) in 1931.
The accompanying video was filmed in three locations, Mundi Mundi, Broken Hill and Redfern in Australia. The video was directed by Andrew de Groot. Mundi Mundi is a sheep settlement. Broken Hill is an isolated mining city in the far west of the outback. The ” BH ” used in BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, is a reference to this mining city.
Redfern is an inner-city suburb of Sydney. It lies about three kilometres south of the business district of Sydney and is part of the local government area of the City. All three are situated in New South Wales, Australia.
” Beds are Burning ” was a commercial success for Midnight Oil, along with chart success it is one of the best-known songs outside of Australia.
In the United States the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 and reached a peak of number seventeen, it spent a total of twenty-two weeks on the chart there.
During the song’s second chart run in the United Kingdom ( in 1988 it peaked at number forty-eight ) on the 25th of March 1989, it peaked at number six. It spent three weeks in the Top Ten and a total of thirteen weeks on the UK chart.
” Beds are Burning ” reached Number One in New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, however in Midnight Oil’s native Australia the song only managed to make number six.

BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 17

UK Highest Chart Position: 6

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 6, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 2, Canada Dance/Urban (RPM) 20, Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1, France (SNEP) 5, Ireland (IRMA) 11, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 3, Netherlands (Single Top 100) 3, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 1, South Africa (Springbok Radio) 1, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 17

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