Australian rock is often referred to as OZ rock and can be used to describe pop and rock bands that are from Australia. Many do not realize that Australia has quite a diverse history and appreciation of rock genres that may have been influenced or originated in Britain, Ireland, the United States, and even Africa. In the fifties and sixties, rock and roll was taken up locally in Australia, and soon teenagers were catching up with the latest trends through television, records, and radio. The second wave of music in Australia hit in the late sixties, and many of the major acts included Max Meritt, Mike Rudd, Dragon, and Split Enz, all of these acts had a huge influence on Australian popular music.
The early third-wave hit in the mid-seventies, and commercial broadcasters, due to the rise in airplay, could promote the labels affectively, and new licensing was emerging in Australia. Pop radio was often broadcasted in AM, in mono, and it was soon after this that FM became the new standard in Australia to promote music in a way that was suitable to the listener. It seemed as though many popular performers could not be placed effectively in the Australian market, which mainly focused on a regimented 3-minute single rotation. After following what was happening in America, exciting and dynamic music was being created at a quick rate. Some of the major acts around this period in the seventies included Ariel, Billy Thorpe, Madder Lake, The 69’ers, and Wendy Saddington to name only a few.
The seventies also witnessed many massive rock festivals that had taken place in Australia, but in the early eighties electronic music came to the fore, and Australian acts included Essendon Airport, Single Gun Theory, and a large host of synthesizer related bands that incorporated dance beats and rhythm composers. Further into the eighties, there was a blossom of Australian acts that cut through the world as pioneers with their original, dynamic sound, some of those acts included Men at Work, Midnight Oil, INXS, Crowded House, The Church, and many others. The aforementioned acts reached a level of success that went far beyond their Australian roots, but there were of course many that never got past Australia because America had in it a relatively competitive market. Australian bands had to compete with everyone for airspace, touring, television, and the like.