Australiana released on iTunes

January 22, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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To celebrate the 30th anniversary since its release, Universal Music is proud to announce the first ever single digital release of “Australiana” by Austen Tayshus on iTunes.

The record cover

The record cover

Performed by Austen Tayshus (aka Sandy Gutman) and written by Billy Birmingham (The 12th Man), “Australiana” was an Aria #1 Single in 1983 for eight weeks.

At the time, “Australiana” broke all kinds of records for an Australian single – first spoken word record to get to #1 on the charts, the first spoken word recording to receive a high rotation airplay on FM radio and highest grossing Australian single ever.

Described by Rock Historian, Glenn A. Baker, as “a bunch of outrageous puns, some fair, some foul, but all very funny”, “Australiana” is the fictitious tale of an Aussie backyard BBQ and is told through a monologue series of ridiculous plays-on-words,  which are sourced from Australian place names, products, flora, fauna and iconography etc.

The Australia Day weekend would seem an appropriate time to make this classic piece of Australian recording history available to a whole new audience of people on iTunes for the very first time. With very little airplay or media exposure since it’s original  release in 1983, “Australiana” is a record that many younger Australians have never heard or been given a chance to hear. And that just will not do. I mean really, how much can a koala bear?!!

Austen Tayshus

Austen Tayshus

“Australiana” was Austen Tayshus and Billy Birmingham’s only ever recording collaboration and launched the careers of both men in 1983. Tayshus went on to  pursue stand-up comedy, writing and acting, while Birmingham’s enduring success as The 12th Man over the past 30 years has just seen him deliver his 8th consecutive ARIA Top 3 album with the release of “Willy Nilly – The 12th Man’s Biggest Hits” in December 2013. The album has now gone Platinum, selling over 70,000 copies.

For those who loved it back in 1983 and for those who have never heard of it, the legendary story of  “Australiana” will be made available, for the first time ever, as a single download on iTunes,  this Australia Day weekend. To not take immediate steps to pre-order your download could be considered by some people as….un-Australian….a?!!

Austen Tayush’s alter ego Sandy Gutman told J-Wire: “‘Australiana’ was the recording that took me from the anonymity of The Comedy Store in Sydney in the early 1980’s and gave me a thirty year career on stages all around the world.

It remains in 2014 the biggest selling Australian single ever. I am certain it’s appeal will cross the generations and until now it has only been available on vinyl and CD. Having it on iTunes means that not only will it be accessible to all future generations of Aussie residents,but also to all expatriates throughout the planet.

Australia is a great country which has become a haven for immigrants escaping tyranny all over the world.

My late father was a holocaust survivor who built himself a new life in Sydney in the 1950’s.Freedom in a true democracy far away from the horrors of Nazi dominated Europe. The ‘Refos’ have helped to transform Australia into a uniquely multicultural destination for so many fleeing their own horrors.

The more people we open the doors to the better. We will all eventually learn to tolerate the ‘other’ which can only help Mankind to move forward.”


The full track “Australiana” is available for media on PLAYMPE.

Available to preorder now on iTunes:

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