“It was a real honour and an absolute pleasure to be part of this recording.”
Australian music legends Adalita (Magic Dirt), Mick Harvey (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey) and Andrew Duffield (Models) have joined forces for a good cause, covering the Michael Hutchence classic Rooms For The Memory to raise funds for the song’s composer, Ollie Olsen.
While Olsen wrote the song in 1978, it wasn’t until Hutchence sang the song for Whirlywirld – for the 1987 Australian cult film Dogs In Space (directed by Richard Lowenstein) – that Rooms For The Memory broke into the ARIA Top 10 Singles Chart. Olsen and Hutchence later formed the electronic duo Max Q in 1989.
The reworked version of the Aussie classic was recorded in tribute to Olsen, who in 2020 was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (a form of Parkinson’s).
Since the diagnosis came to light, the Australian music industry has rallied around the composer to help raise funds for his ongoing medical expenses, launching a GoFundMe campaign which has raised over $20,000. Olsen’s condition continues to deteriorate as there is currently no known cure for MSA.
Jane Gazzo, the executive producer of the 2023 version of Rooms For The Memory, said in a statement, "Rooms For The Memory was well overdue for a rebirth. It’s just a hauntingly brilliant and beautifully written song and when myself and a few of Ollie’s friends heard he was not well, we felt we needed to do something to help.
“Remarkably all the musicians, including Adalita and Mick Harvey – two of the country’s finest artists – were completely up to donating their time and had belief in the project. I think this is a stunning rework and I really hope the music industry and public get behind it and give it the new lease of life we know it deserves.”
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You can check out the music video below.
An extended version of Rooms For The Memory 2023 is coming to vinyl and CD, and will be available digitally on Friday, 14 July through DRW records. The release features Olsen's Win/Lose (a Dogs In Space original), and a reworked version by Eskimo Joe frontman Kav Temperley.
Upon hearing the new version of Rooms For The Memory, Olsen remarked that he was moved to tears by the tribute. Adalita added, “It was a real honour and an absolute pleasure to be part of this recording.”