The Best Songs To Come Out Of 35 Years Of ‘Neighbours’
From 'Torn' to 'Born To Try'.
It’s a little known fact that for a certain period in the early 2000s, Neighbours stars had it written into their contract that they had to release at least one single.
That actually isn’t a fact at all, it’s bullshit, but it very much seemed like it. For as long as its been gracing our screens, Neighbours has been supplying a steady stream of pop artists to the mainstream, from the gilded (Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia) to the rusted (sorry, Stephanie McIntosh).
We’ve taken a walk down Ramsay Street to find the best songs to emerge from careers born on Neighbours.
Holly Valance — ‘Kiss Kiss’
Last year, a heap of people lost their minds upon finding out that Holly Valance’s beloved track was a cover. Valance’s reworking of Tarkan’s hit ‘Şımarık’ went bananas following its release in 2002.
Many expected a glittering career to follow, but it was not to be — her second and final album was released in 2003, and she’s been bouncing around UK TV in the years since, with stints on Strictly Come Dancing and Shopaholic Showdown.
Kylie Minogue – ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’
Recently, we named ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ as one of the most important songs in the Australian pop music canon. It is also, arguably, our Kylie’s best ever song.
A pulsating cut of turn of the century disco-pop, with a chorus that indelibly impresses upon your brain, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ is, simply, a masterpiece. To think that we were first introduced to Kylie when she was rocking splendid ’80s hair on Ramsay Street as Charlene Robinson.
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan — ‘Especially For You’
Speaking of, Charlene and Scott’s 1987 wedding is one of the most memorable moments in Australian television history. The two actors at the centre of it — Kylie and Jason Donovan — dated for around three years before splitting when Minogue began dating INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.
But for a moment, they were Australia’s golden couple, and ‘Especially For You’ encapsulates all the glorious ’80s cheese and cringe they represented. A time capsule of a song.
Stephanie McIntosh – ‘Mistake’
It’s a pity that Stephanie McIntosh’s (AKA Sky Mangel’s) music career was so short lived, because ‘Mistake’ is a perfect slice of mid-2000s pop rock.
The album it was born from, 2006’s Tightrope, was actually pretty successful: it hit #4 on the ARIA charts and went gold. Also, no one seems to remember there was a very short lived reality show about McIntosh — The Steph Show — which followed her through the recording process of the album.
After a brief stint in the UK trying to break into the market, McIntosh left music behind — given performances like this, it’s not hard to see why. She’s now reprised her role as Mangel on Neighbours.
Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Torn’
Every year, without fail, a new section of the population is alerted to the fact that Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ is a cover. It seems impossible there are people that still don’t know this, but it happens all the goddamn time.
Imbruglia — who played Beth Brennan on the show in the early ’90s — kicked off her music career a few years after leaving the show, releasing ‘Torn’ in 1997. A pop masterpiece, and one of Australia’s most beloved songs.
Delta Goodrem — ‘Born To Try’
Neighbours tragics will remember the scene vividly: Delta Goodrem — AKA Nina Tucker — sitting alone at a piano in a café, diligently and quietly working through the chorus of ‘Born To Try’.
Unlike the majority of Neighbours singing careers, Goodrem’s talents were woven into the show (she was cast in Neighbours after signing to a major label) and a big chunk of her plotline was her mustering up the courage to sing publicly.
Goodrem has gone on to be one of our most successful — and enigmatic — popstars, and no one can deny the power of those first few singles.
Sam Clark — ‘Send Me A Sign’
Sam Clark’s music career was almost dead on arrival, with little fanfare surrounding the release of his debut Take Me Home in 2010. Evidently, no one in Australia did.
Both his lead single ‘Broken’, and ‘Send Me A Sign’, failed to make any impact on the ARIA charts. He released an EP in 2011, My Own Way, which didn’t make a splash.
Regardless, ‘Send Me A Sign’ was actually…pretty okay. Like McIntosh’s ‘Mistake’, it was a by-the-numbers pop rock track that sits happily in the ear. Bonus points for this lovely shot of a train departure board in the video, which carries extreme Kelly Rowland in ‘Dilemma’ energy.
Rogue Traders — ‘Voodoo Child’
Rogue Traders remain one of the most curious blips in Australian music history. An electro-pop-rock band that wrote songs that sounded like they were pulled together in the bathroom five minutes before recording, they somehow wound up as one of Australia’s most successful acts of the time.
Their 2005 album Here Come The Drums was certified platinum four times over (their followup, Better In The Dark, was also certified platinum), and spawned four top 20 hits on the ARIA charts. They raked in a stack of ARIA nominations, and hit #3 on the UK charts with ‘Voodoo Child’.
Worth nothing, of course, that Rogue Traders had been bouncing around before Natalie Bassingthwaighte — AKA Izzy Hoyland, AKA Nat Bass — joined them, but it was with her they achieved real success.
Stefan Dennis — ‘Don’t It Make You Feel Good’
It’s stretching the definition of ‘good’ to include Stefan Dennis’ crime against humanity, also known as ‘Don’t It Make You Feel Good’, in this list, but one can’t deny the sheer horrifying power of the song.
Sure, the film clip looks like a deleted sequence from a slasher film, and you might never recover from the close-ups of Dennis’ face, but that crunchy riff and thumping ’80s bassline are just too good.