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"Flame Trees" is a song by Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel from their 1984 album Twentieth Century. It is one of their best known songs, and was written by drummer Steve Prestwich and organist Don Walker.


According to the band's official website, Walker's inspiration for the song was a combination of his memories of Graftonmarker where he had lived as a youth, and of his romantic dreams. The video of the song (directed by Kimble Rendall) however was filmed in Oberon, New South Walesmarker. The reference to flame trees instead of the jacarandas for which Grafton is famous due to its annual Jacaranda Festival, is partly because of a contemporary television miniseries, the BBC's The Flame Trees of Thika, starring Hayley Mills, "an old flame of the lyricist's dreams". The wording of the source article indicates that he had in the past fantasized about romance with Ms Mills, but not that there was actual romantic involvement between the two. (The source article contains some typos: instead of Thika, it calls the work The Flame Trees of Thaw, and the "author" given as Tony Creswell is named the more-probable Toby Creswell in another part of the site. )

It seems likely that the romance of the song is an amalgam of Walker's past romance and dreams, associated with this archetypal Australian country town. "It's a song of lost love, of mortality and what's left behind," according to Creswell, and, "Appropriately, the band's last hit."

However, Grafton is well-known for its many specimens of the Australian native rainforest tree Brachychiton acerifolius [247155] (also known as the Illawarra Flame Tree or Kurrajong), which along with the more pervasive, introduced poincianas and the town's famous (also introduced) jacarandas, set its streets ablaze every spring.

Recording credits

Jimmy Barnes - lead vocals

Cover versions

  • In the 2005 Australian film Little Fish, the song is sung by The Sacred Heart School Choir from Cabramattamarker. The children in the choir appear in the film performing the song during a pivotal scene, and their version is repeated during the closing credits. This version was released as a single in 2006.

  • The song also was featured in a documentary on the "Choir of Hard Knocks", a Melbourne choir comprising a group of homeless people. Jimmy Barnes recorded an acoustic version of the track on his 1993 album Flesh and Wood.

  • The song was also covered by The Killjoys in 1994 on a compilation CD titled Earth Music, which featured many prominent artists covering well known songs.

Track listing

  1. "Flame Trees" - 4:23


External links

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