Über Midnight Oil
In the U.S., Midnight Oil were just this weird Australian band who had a seven-foot-tall singer with no hair and very awkward dance moves, a couple of modern-rock hits in the pre-Nirvana late '80s, and some apparently important political opinions. Down Under, though, they'd been around since 1971; they'd been calling themselves Midnight Oil since law student Peter Garrett joined a few years later (before that, in Sydney, they were the Farm); and they'd been scoring hits since 1981. Eventually, two songs off 1987's Diesel and Dust broke the band in the Northern Hemisphere: "The Dead Heart" and "Beds Are Burning," the latter of which must be the only Top 20 U.S. single ever to bemoan the treatment of Aboriginal Australians. Blue Sky Mining, released in 1990, had only slightly less international commercial success, but before long the band was slipping. In Australia, they'd managed five straight No. 1 albums between 1984 and 1993, but in the 21st century, they've put out only one new album -- at least partly because Garrett is too busy. A Labor Party member, he has been in the House of Representatives since 2004 and became the Minister for Environmental Protection in early 2010.