Framed gold record, Midnight Oil 'Diesel and Dust', paper / wood / plastic, Columbia Records, United States of America, 1988
Midnight Oil released their first album, self-titled, in 1978. The band, and the album, were raw and energetic, and they became a popular pub band, particularly on the Sydney circuit. Their second album, 'Head Injuries', was released in 1979. It was their third album, 1981's 'Place Without a Postcard', recorded in London with Rolling Stones producer Glyn Johns, that saw the band receive some mainstream interest in Australia with the songs 'Armistice Day' and 'Don't Wanna Be The One'. The following year Midnight Oil released '10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1' which earned them national success with the songs 'Power and the Passion', and 'US Forces'.
The band's lyrics were unashamedly political, and focussed on left-wing concerns such as nuclear disarmament, the environment and Australian Indigenous issues. After the release of 'Red Sails in the Sunset' and the EP 'Species Deceases' Peter Garrett, the band's singer, ran for the Australian Nuclear Disarmament Party. The band also toured Australia's remote outback with Indigenous group The Warumpi Band. The impact this tour had on the band resulted in the album this gold record was awarded for: 'Diesel and Dust'. The song 'Beds are Burning' off this album is the band's best known song internationally.
The band released eight subsequent records after 'Diesel and Dust'. Singer Peter Garrett has gone on to become the Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts in the Rudd Labor Government. Debate continues over Garrett's possible loss of credibility as an advocate for environmental and Indigenous issues since his political career has grown.
The first gold record awards were presented by American record companies to their artists to acknowledge sales of 1,000,000 records. Various measurements have been used at different times around the world for album and single awards. Some were based on the value of retail sales and others on units sold. The Recording Industry Association of America established a standard for an official gold record in 1958. This was based on wholesale shipments to retail outlets, rather than actual retail sales. Australia follows a similar system. In Australia ARIA awards gold records for 35 000 sales and platinum records for 70 000 sales.
This gold record was produced for Columbia Records, United States of America, 1988.
The artwork for the album cover and booklet of 'Diesel and Dust' was taken by Australian landscape photographer Ken Duncan.
The donor of this object worked for Columbia Records as a College Marketing Representative in Seattle, Washington, United States of America; though he also covered the states of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. The donor was a student of the University of Washington at the time. The main aspect of his job was to promote the company's artists to college students via college radio stations. The donor actively promoted Midnight Oil's material, and was successful in getting the band's album played on heavy rotation on college radio stations in his area. His efforts were recognised and the company presented him with this personalised gold record.
The donor gifted the award to the Powerhouse Museum to use for research and display linked to popular culture and music in the 1980s.