Jimmy Barnes is one of Australia’s best-loved and most enduring performers. The former lead singer of Cold Chisel has an extensive list of hit songs, both from his days with the band and his subsequent solo work.
Bursting onto the scene in the early 1970s, Barnes’ rugged style and penchant for songs that were uniquely Australian made Cold Chisel incredibly successful for many years. Following his departure from the band, Jimmy Barnes released many albums that exhibited his ability to sing different genres and musical style. One such album was Flesh and Wood, a completely acoustic album that featured duets with many iconic musicians including Joe Cocker, Diesel, the Badloves and Deborah Conway.
To celebrate the recent announcement of Jimmy Barnes’ Flesh and Wood acoustic tour, we decided to make it the focus of our Five of the Best blog. Narrowing down four decades of hits was never going to be easy – it was hard enough to choose just five tracks from one of Jimmy Barnes’ albums – so we have decided to stick with songs he has performed as part of Flesh and Wood tours. We hope you enjoy the list, click here to purchase tickets for Jimmy Barnes’ Flesh and Wood tour at Sydney’s State Theatre, Melbourne’s Palais Theatre and Crown Theatre Perth.
5 Stone Cold
Jimmy Barnes originally released Stone Cold on his 1993 album, Heat, but re-recorded it as an acoustic duet with Don Walker, an Australian musician and songwriter who worked with Barnes and wrote many hits for Cold Chisel. Stone Cold is an emotive ballad, which sounds perfect when performed acoustically. It was a top 5 hit on the Australian singles chart after its release in 1993 and is still a great Jimmy Barnes hit years later.
4 The Weight
Australian rock group The Badloves teamed up with Jimmy Barnes for a cover of The Band’s 1968 hit, The Weight. The original version of the song was hugely successful and it seems anyone who is anyone in the music industry has had a crack at covering The Weight. Notable impersonators include Elton John, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, John Denver, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks and Grateful Dead. But there is something special about the acoustic cover that pairs Jimmy Barnes and The Badloves; the song is beautifully harmonised and the differences between Barnes’ raspy voice and the softer sounds of The Badloves, make the version unique and inviting.
3 Let It Go
Deborah Conway is recognised as one of Australia’s best singer songwriters and her sublime voice has made her a huge success. Conway was teamed with Jimmy Barnes for an acoustic debut of Let It Go on the Flesh and Wood album. The song is a highly emotional ballad and the combination of Barnes’ rough voice with the powerful tone of Conway’s makes it an amazing song. Check it out below.
2 Flame Trees
Flame Trees is one of Cold Chisel’s most successful and popular songs. It was original released on the band’s 1984 album, Twentieth Century, and was also included on Jimmy Barnes’ Flesh and Wood album almost a decade later. The song was co-written by Cold Chisel drummer Steve Prestwich and Don Walker, who featured in number 5 on this list. Most people know the song well, but hearing it stripped back and performed acoustically by Jimmy Barnes will likely be a new experience for people – and it’s one you don’t want to miss. Have a listen below.
1 Khe Sanh
Khe Sanh was not included on the original Flesh and Wood album, but it does feature on Jimmy Barnes’ DVD of the same name so we think it fits into our list perfectly. The song was originally released in 1978 and quickly became a massive hit for Cold Chisel. It is regarded as a quintessential Aussie pub rock song and would no doubt rate very highly on most people’s lists of top Australian songs. The acoustic version adds a new element to Khe Sanh that you may not have previously noticed. Stripping back the music makes the lyrics the hero, which adds a very different element to a song most people know and love. We love this song and we are particularly fond of this version, which is why it is number 1 on our list of Jimmy Barnes’ best Flesh and Wood songs. Enjoy!
Flesh and Wood Tour Details
July 10 – Crown Theatre Perth
July 17 – State Theatre (Sydney)
July 18 – Palais Theatre (Melbourne)
General public tickets are on sale from 9am (local time) on Friday April 24. Click here to purchase tickets now.