An Ode To ‘Rage’ On Its 30th Birthday

Rage is now the longest (still-) running music TV show in the world.


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On April 17 this year rage, the iconic Australian music TV show, turns 30. The anniversary marks the series, which has aired on ABC TV for the past 30 years, as the longest still-running music television series in the world.

rage is, of course, an incredibly important part of all our most formative years. The series is designed to run all-night through Friday and Saturday nights, finishing in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings. It quickly became a haven for the music-obsessed (or the drunk/stoned late-nighters), as the series often dedicated whole Saturday night episodes to a featured artist’s entire back catalogue. A relic of the infamous advent of the music video, rage has always allowed us access to brilliant artists (new and old) and their weird and wonderful video clips.

After 1989, the series introduced the now-classic rage drawcard: the specials and guest-programmed episodes. The first guest programmer was ABC stalwart Andrew Denton, but I remember sneaking home from a night out, drunk and giggling, kebabs in-hand, to watch the Deputy Prime Minister-programmed rage with my (clearly very nerdy) crush back in 2013.

We knew that Albo’s rage playlist was more important than downing gin and tonics at the clubz. And we were right:

There’s nothing I associate more with TV Australiana than those sexy “raaaaaaggeeeeeeeee” shrieks — which were reportedly designed to keep viewers from snoozing in the early hours. As a chronic insomniac, rage has often been a comfort to me (in the times before internet TV was really “a thing”) when I struggled to sleep in the early hours. I would tiptoe down the stairs at home, quietly close the doors in the living room, and put on rage until I felt drowsy enough to return to bed.

The early hours of rage programming is how I discovered David Bowie, Prince, The Smiths, Radiohead and The Triffids — and other artists who were not generally on the radar of a 14-year-old Death Cab For Cutie diehard.

As April 17 marks the 30-year anniversary of the program, this long weekend is your perfect opportunity to binge on rage, with special programming over the weekend to celebrate the occasion. The ABC has also released some choice lists from famous artists of their “perfect” five-song playlists, which you can access on ABC from Saturday, April 15 or listen to now on Spotify.

Optimum Long Weekend Status: Achieved.