Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:13 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:13 | SYDNEY

Australian music diplomacy: Hard rock power


Sam Roggeveen


30 March 2009 13:13

A Euro-American controversy erupted last week when former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek described President Obama's stimulus package as 'the road to hell'. The affair has now been revealed as having Australian origins. Quoth Topolanek:

"AC/DC played here (in Prague) last week. And their cult song 'Highway to Hell' might have led me in that very improvised speech to use the phrase 'road to hell'," Topolanek was quoted by daily Lidovy Noviny as saying on Friday.

This is not the first time AC/DC has become involved in diplomatic intrigue — in 1989 the US military played 'Highway to Hell'  (among many others) at high volume to force Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega out of hiding from the papal embassy in Panama City.

Acca Dacca fans will no doubt wear this latest anecdote as a badge of honour for their band. But for Australians who take pride in our pub rock traditions, it is perhaps uncomfortable to be reminded that AC/DC is a bit of an exception, and that our biggest international successes have been pop musicians: Olivia Newton-John, The Little River Band, Air Supply, Kylie Minogue, Savage Garden.

If that bothers you, think of the trans-Atlantic war of words we might have been spared had Mirek Topolanek instead been listening to Reminiscing or Lost in Love. Ride of the Valkyries they aint.