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Cold Chisel - Cheap Wine (Rockpalast 1982)

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Cheap Wine on Wikipedia
"Cheap Wine"
Cheap wine.jpg
Single by Cold Chisel
from the album East
A-sideCheap Wine
B-sideRising Sun
Released9 May 1980
Format7" vinyl
RecordedMarch–April 1980, Paradise Studios, Sydney
GenrePub rock, Pop[1]
Writer(s)Don Walker
Producer(s)Mark Opitz
Cold Chisel singles chronology

"Cheap Wine" was a 1980 single from Australian rock band Cold Chisel. The second single from the album East, the single was released in May, a month before the album.[2] It reached number 8 on the Australian charts, the band's first top-ten single, and would eventually remain the band's second highest chart performance.[3] It has been described as, "one of Don's finest commercial songs."[4]


  • 1 Details
  • 2 Reception
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links


The song first appeared in live sets in April 1980, and was recorded in one or two takes with no demo. Author Walker said, "It's about someone who's on the skids, but still having a great time. I can relate to that - in the seven years Cold Chisel have been together, we've only had enough money to eat the last two and a half. If you get into that lifestyle and start to enjoy it, you tend to stay that way even when the money comes in."[5]

Producer Opitz said, ""Cheap Wine" was obviously written as a single, something to follow "Choirgirl". If you listen to it, it has many of the same structural elements - where the chorus falls, where the bridge falls, where the backing vocals come in. And that was no accident." Moss said that he may initially have thought the song was too commercial, but the chord progressions were enough to stop it from being too poppy.[6]

Composer Don Walker said the song was, "a cobbled together song. The two verses were from two different ideas and the chorus came in quite late, and a middle bit from somewhere else. From memory, this was bolted together on the day, in the frenzy of writing and the euphoria of the first few days at Paradise Studios recording East."[6]

A promotional video was shot for the song, featuring Barnes walking around an apartment, getting dressed, and miming to the song. Shot by Peter Cox,[7] it shows footage of a cockfight in one scene. It was filmed at Roger Langford's apartment in Elizabeth Bay on 10 and 11 April, where the cover for East had been shot.[8]

The B-side was Barnes' first solo song-writing credit, "Rising Sun". A rockabilly song,[9] it was inspired by Barnes' then-girlfriend, Jane, travelling to Japan.[10]


The single was picked up by a number of commercial radio stations when released.[4]

Reviewed in RAM at the time of release, it was described as, "another excellent song from Mr Walker, a stunning vocal performance from Jimmy Barnes." The reviewer does note that, "this track may not please some of the die hard head-bashers, but will certainly broaden their appeal via the airwaves."[11]

Rolling Stone Australia called "Cheap Wine", "a wonderful song with a soulful verse and a boogie chorus which sounds momentarily like early Faces."[12]


  1. ^ Bernard Zuel. "Cold Chisel review: 'Last stand', 30 years after the last one, still brings the house down". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. 
  2. ^ Donnie Sutherland (27 April 1980). "Sound World". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  3. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book. p. 72. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  4. ^ a b Michael Lawrence (2012). Cold Chisel: Wild Colonial Boys. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne Books. p. 129. ISBN 9781877096174. 
  5. ^ Michael Lawrence (2012). Cold Chisel: Wild Colonial Boys. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne Books. p. 320. ISBN 9781877096174. 
  6. ^ a b Mark Opitz; Luke Wallis; Jeff Jensen (2012). Sophisto-Punk. North Sydney: Ebury Press. p. 89. ISBN 9781742757933. 
  7. ^ "Peter Cox". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Cold Chisel - Vision, DVD liner notes
  9. ^ Karl Quinn (20 April 2012). "Cold Chisel: live review". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Petrolheads". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Singles". RAM. Sydney, NSW: Soundtracts Publishing Pty Ltd (13 June 1980): pgs 21. 
  12. ^ Ed St. John (June 1980). "Cold Chisel's Superb East". Rolling Stone Australia. North Sydney, NSW: Silvertongues Pty Ltd. 

External links

  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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