National Film and Sound Archive adds Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham to Sounds of Australia registry

How does Australia sound?

According to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry, it's John Farnham belting out You'rethe Voice and Olivia Newton-John's singing You'retheOne that I Want with John Travolta.

Olivia-Newton John and John Travolta's You're the One That I Want has been added to National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. Picture: Paramount

Olivia-Newton John and John Travolta's You're the One That I Want has been added to National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. Picture: Paramount

The two pop songs were added to the registry on Thursday, with the archive deeming them to have helped shape Australia's culture.

Joining the popular songs were eight other recordings including Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden, The Man from Snowy River by Leonard Teale, Up there, Cazaly by The Two-Man Band and invaluable recordings made by Aboriginal communities of Central Australia in 1901-1902.

"What Sounds of Australia lets us do is share the really significant items in the archive's collection and highlight some of the forgotten stories as well," curator Thorsten Kaeding said.

"Particularly with the earlier recordings - some of those forgotten stories of Australia's recorded sound history back into the mainstream."

Established in 2007, the collection of 145 recordings consist of popular songs, advertising jingles, famous speeches, radio broadcasts, or any other sound recordings - all of which are Australian and at least 10 years old.

When it comes to the inclusion of songs such as You're the One that I Want - from the American movie Grease - Mr Kaeding said it came down to the representation of Australians' work internationally.

John Farnham's You're the Voice has been added to National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. Picture: Kitty Hill

John Farnham's You're the Voice has been added to National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. Picture: Kitty Hill

"The Olivia Newton-John addition is a good case in point because she is an Australian performer, but the song was also written by an Australian - John Farrer - and the production company that made the movie was owned by an Australian - Robert Stigwood," he said.

"There are lots of intersections there with Australia and Australian talent, and that's why we've included it in this one, but it's also why we preserve all of that content here at the archive as well."

The selection process for songs that represent the development of Australian culture is no easy process, and it's one that starts with the Australian public.

Nominations for inclusions are open to anyone on the National Film and Sound Archive's website. Every year the nominations are sifted through and whittled down to 30-40 suggestions for an expert panel to decide on the top 10.

"There are so many fantastic ones that every year we get this response from people saying 'What do you mean that's not already on it?" Mr Kaeding said.

"You can see that with the earliest recording that we've got on there goes back to 1896 and one of the fantastic things about Sounds of Australia is that you're able to trace how the culture changes."

For the Sounds of Australia's full list or to make a nomination for next year go to nfsa.gov.au.

The 2019 additions to Sounds of Australia

  1. Cylinder Recordings from Central Australia, Spencer and Gillen, and Aboriginal communities- 1901-1902
  2. Twilight of the Gods / Die Gotterdammerung - Florence Austral - 1928
  3. I'm the Sheik of Scrubby Creek, Chad Morgan - 1952
  4. Prestophone mastertape, Olive and Eva - 1955
  5. The Man From Snowy River, Leonard Teale - 1956
  6. You're The One That I Want, Olivia Newton John and John Travolta (John Farrer, composer) - 1978
  7. Up There, Cazaly, The Two-Man Band - 1979
  8. You're the Voice, John Farnham - 1986
  9. Truly Madly Deeply, Savage Garden - 1997
  10. Wild Swans, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Elena Kats-Chernin, composer) - 2004
This story Sounds of Australia songs for 2019 revealed first appeared on The Canberra Times.