Australia may be on the other side of the globe, but its culture and history bear many similarities to the US and the Anglo-Western world. Like the US, Australia is a former British colony.
Additionally, like Britain and the US, Australia has a vibrant pop culture scene represented by a myriad of actors, musicians, and performers whose movies, music, and performances have far-reaching and timeless impacts.
Many Australian artists’ fame has reached a global scale, and in this article, we’re going to explore the influence, background, and works of 11 of the greatest and most famous male Australian singers. Let’s get started.
1. John Farnham
First on our list, John Farnham may have spent the first decade of his life in England, but his loyalty and pride as an Australian have garnered him Australia’s highest honors.
His stunning and prolific career spans 70 years, beginning as a pop cover singer in the ’60s.
He also wrote and debuted countless hit albums and singles during the ’80s and ’90s, touring with world-famous acts like Stevie Nicks and Lionel Richie.
During those decades, he released Whispering Jack, Age Of Reason, Chain Reaction, and Then Again—all chart-topping.
Australians know him as the King of Pop, and his popularity continues to increase year after year. His fame as a musician and performer is limited to Australia, a fact that Farnham engineered and is proud of.
2. Bon Scott
Born Ronald Belford Scott in Scotland, Bon Scott is the lead singer and front man for the legendary ’70s rock band AC/DC.
He moved to Australia as a child and began his musical career as a singer and drummer of the band The Spektors.
He joined AC/DC in 1974, growing a local following throughout Australia with their edgy pre-metal hard rock sounds. AC/DC became a global rock sensation with the release of Highway To Hell in 1979.
Sadly, Scott died a year after his band reached stardom, epitomizing the stereotype of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. The band persevered, releasing their most famous album Back In Black, which they dedicated to Scott.
3. Cody Simpson
Cody Robert Simpson, known as Cody Simpson, is not only a singer and songwriter but also a professional swimmer.
He was born in the Australian Gold Coast, and at 25 years of age, he has already released four studio albums as a soloist.
His music career began on YouTube in 2009, when he uploaded both cover and original songs. He enjoyed writing poetry and giving a melody to his poems.
A producer discovered and contacted him, and in 2010, he was already signing with Atlantic Records. That year, he debuted with the single “iYiYi,” and he released his first album, Paradise, in 2013.
Simpson also put out two EPs with the band Cody And The Tide, which was formed in 2017 but disbanded in 2019.
He has participated in musicals and even acted on TV. Simpson’s latest record, Cody Simpson, showcases hiss songwriting and guitar playing skills.
4. The Bee Gees
Rock-and-roll band The Bee Gees were a hit during the ’50s and ’60s whose international popularity is on par with Elvis and The Beatles.
The group is a trio consisting of British-born, Australian-raised brothers Maurice, Barry, and Robin Gibb.
The brothers started as a pop rock and soft rock band but achieved international success during the disco era of the ’70s when they recorded the soundtrack for the hit movie Saturday Night Fever. That album when on to win five Grammys.
Since then, they have released over 20 albums and sold over 120 million copies worldwide.
5. Michael Hutchence
Born Michael Kelland John Hutchence, Michael Hutchence is the singer, songwriter, and founder of the world-famous rock band INXS.
He began writing poetry in high school, where he also met his closest friends and band members, Tim and Andrew Fariss.
INXS started as the garage band formerly called The Fariss Brothers. Hutchence and Fariss were the primary songwriters of all the band’s greatest hits that topped the charts and won awards in Australia, the UK, and the US.
Hutchence’s good looks and incredible stage presence made live performances an electric and exciting experience and also helped launch a successful acting career.
Sadly, Hutchence died too young after taking his own life while on tour at age 37.
Though Belgian-born, Wouter Andre de Backer is an Australian-raised singer, songwriter, and multi-disciplinary musician. He is better known as Gotye, a nickname donned by his mother as the phonetic pronunciation of his first name.
Gotye grew up with an intense fascination with music, learning multiple instruments and forming garage bands with high school friends.
Upon graduating college in 2001, he began recording music. He achieved international success with his album Making Mirrors and, most notably, with his hit song “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
He has won 3 Grammys for the Best Pop Song, Best Alternative Album, and Record of the Year.
7. Nick Cave
Our next singer, Nick Cave, is the jack-of-all-artistic-trades and a true globetrotter. He is a singer, songwriter, literary author, poet, screenwriter, and actor.
Born Nicholas Edward Cave, our singer grew up in the countryside of Victoria before heading to Melbourne to study music, where he started his first post-punk band.
He moved to London and started the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, writing songs that can only be described as fantastical blues ballads, drawing inspiration from the deep south and the Old Testament.
He moved to Brazil, where he launched a solo career that garnered worldwide acclaim with songs like “Into My Arms” and “Where The Wild Roses Grow.”
8. Darren Hayes
The lead singer and songwriter of the famed ’90s pop duo Savage Garden, Darren Hayes, was born in Brisbane. He dreamed of becoming a pop artist from a young age, citing Michael Jackson, U2, Prince, and Marvin Gaye as his musical heroes.
He got his break when he auditioned for a lead vocalist position in a band called Red Edge that would eventually become Savage Garden. The band’s first album, released in 1995, was a commercial success, with three chart-topping singles.
The song “Truly Madly Deeply” topped the charts in both the US and Australia, garnering countless ARIA awards. Hayes has since recorded various successful solo albums.
9. Rick Springfield
Born Richard Lewis Springthorpe, Rick Springfield is a Grammy-winning pop singer and musician with various chart-topping hits in his successful solo career during the ’70s and ’80s.
He started playing music as an adolescent, learning the guitar at age 13, and forming various bands during the ’60s.
Springfield’s biggest hit as a solo artist was the Grammy-winning, #1 hit “Jessie’s Girl,“ which was released in 1981 on the chart-topping album Working Class Dog.
He had various other chart-toppers and also went on to have a successful acting career in movies and musicals.
10. Jimmy Barnes
Born as James Dixon Swan, Jimmy Barnes is an ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and beloved singer and songwriter. Though his birthplace is Scotland, he grew up in Australia since he was five, and when he was older, he began playing music with his brother, a prominent artist known as Swanee.
In 1974, Barnes joined a hard-rock band called Orange, which changed its name to Cold Chisel. The band was wildly successful in Australia, releasing five albums before separating in 1983.
He began writing and releasing his own music during the ’80s, which proved to be far more popular than his career with Cold Chisel. Barnes continues to release albums and perform to this day.
11. Guy Theodore Sebastian
The US’s hit show American Idol has an Australian counterpart that’s just as popular, and the last singer of this list, Guy Theodore Sebastian, is a former Australian Idol champion. He is one of the few winners that went on to have a successful music career.
In addition to releasing ten chart-topping albums, of which three reached #1—Just As I Am, Armageddon, and T.R.U.T.H.—he also collaborated with famed American artists like John Mayer and Brian McKnight.
His collaboration with Lupe Fiasco on the song “Battle Scars” earned him a spot on the US and European charts.
Summing Up Our List Of Australian Male Vocalists
Australia’s bounty doesn’t only include epic beaches and cute marsupials.
Its vibrant arts and music scene has bestowed world-famous musicians and singers that you’ve probably heard on the radio or are a regular feature on your playlists and album collections.
But this list is far from complete. Who did we miss off? Let us know, and we’ll add them in!