Power and the Passion (song)

"Power and the Passion" is the second single from Midnight Oil's 1982 album 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (following "US Forces"). The song is one of the band's most famous, and it was performed on every Midnight Oil tour since the issue of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 as well as at the WaveAid concert.

"Power and the Passion"
Power and the Passion Midnight Oil Australian edition.jpg
Standard artwork (Australian 12-inch vinyl single pictured)
Single by Midnight Oil
from the album 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Format7 in vinyl
GenreNew wave, post-punk
Songwriter(s)James Moginie
Robert Hirst
Peter Garrett
Producer(s)Midnight Oil, Nick Launay
Midnight Oil singles chronology
"US Forces"
"Power and the Passion"
"Read About It"

In January 2018, as part of Triple M's "Ozzest 100", the 'most Australian' songs of all time, "Power and the Passion" was ranked number 29.[1]

Lyrics and compositionEdit

The lyrics mention former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam and his dismissal in 1975, as well as the Pine Gap spy base, which remain controversial issues in Australia to this day. The song also makes reference to the McDonald's Big Mac and paraphrases Emiliano Zapata with the line "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

The song includes a drum solo by Rob Hirst; it is the only studio recording by Midnight Oil to feature a drum solo.


In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named "Power and the Passion" as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.[2][3] It was the second Midnight Oil song in the list with "Beds Are Burning" declared third behind the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" and Daddy Cool's "Eagle Rock".[4]

It was performed by the band at the 2009 Sound Relief concert in Melbourne.

On 5 June 2012, the song was released as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band 3.

Music videoEdit

The video for "Power and the Passion" was filmed in 1982 amongst the "Woolloomooloo Mural Project" in Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Power and the Passion" - 4:45
  2. "Power and the Passion" (Dub Version) - 4:39


This track was placed on the band's collection 20,000 Watt R.S.L.

More recently, the title of the collection Flat Chat was derived from the lyrics of this song. However, this song was not featured on that collection.

It was then featured on the band's second "greatest hits" two-disc 36-track compilation album in 2012, Essential Oils (Midnight Oil album), fully remastered with the compilation also covering Midnight Oil's entire career, starting with their 1978 self-titled album, and includes tracks from all their studio albums and EPs.

US 12-inch versionEdit

The US 12-inch single release features a little-known specially remixed version, mixed by Francois Kevorkian and Dominic Malta at RPM Sound Studios specifically for the North American market.[5] This special version, which runs for 6:40, did not appear on the 12-inch single as released elsewhere in the world, including in Australia, whose 12-inch single featured the standard album version which runs for 5:38. The remix features echo effects added to Peter Garrett's vocals and a continuation or reprise of Rob Hirst's drum solo after the nominal ending of the song.[6]

Live versionsEdit

Surprisingly, the song was not featured on the Scream in Blue live album. Live versions were not available legally until 2004, when the Best of Both Worlds CD/two-DVD set; both DVDs (also the CD, even though it was merely a soundtrack of one of the DVDs) included a different live version; one (the Oils on the Water CD/DVD) was from early 1985 (on tour for Red Sails in the Sunset) and the other (the Saturday Night at the Capitol DVD) was from 1982 (on tour from 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).

The song's drum solo was often performed significantly faster.




  1. ^ "Here Are The Songs That Made Triple M's 'Ozzest 100'". Musicfeeds. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ "APRA/AMCOS 2001 Top 30 Songs". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  3. ^ Kruger, Debbie (2001-05-02). "The songs that resonate through the years" (PDF). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  4. ^ "The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs". Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). 2001-05-28. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  5. ^ "Midnight Oil - Power And The Passion (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  6. ^ "Midnight Oil - Power And The Passion - Special Version". Blogspot. Retrieved 2010-10-09.