Perth Indie Band Rabbits Wedding Climb Up Aus Charts After 37 Years

24 May 2024 | 4:17 pm | Mary Varvaris

"To re-release a song 37 years later and to have it chart and to get such a wonderful reception is really great fun."

Rabbits Wedding

Rabbits Wedding (Source: Supplied)

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How often does a song re-enter the charts 37 years after its original release, let alone land at #2?

That’s what happened to Perth indie rock band Rabbits Wedding, whose 1987 song Coming Like Summer has become an unexpected hit.

Coming Like Summer was declared Australian Song of the Year by triple j DJ George Wayne when it was originally released. It was only distributed as a vinyl single on Waterfront Records—never pressed on CD or streaming platforms—until Rabbits Wedding proclaimed they’d “entered the 21st century” by putting the song on Spotify earlier this month.

However, the reason for its recent success has less to do with streaming and more to do with where the band started: vinyl and radio.

Craig Kamber, the founder of Zen Arcade and a music industry professional involved in music rights management, artist development, and music publishing, sought out forgotten Australian indie rock songs for the compilation album Time Capsule—Australian Sounds. 1985-1994. Volume, which was released as part of Record Store Day (Saturday, 20 April).

Thanks to renewed interest in the songs on the album, Rabbits Wedding’s Coming Like Summer landed at #2 on the Australian AMRAP Chart 37 years after its release.

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Breaking news from the world of pop charts... Coming Like Summer is Number Two WITH A BULLET(!) on this week's AMRAP...

Posted by Rabbits Wedding on Sunday, May 19, 2024

You can listen to Coming Like Summer below.

Singer Paul Watling tells The Music it’s “fantastic” to hear that their song is appealing to a new generation.

“We’ve been incredibly lax about making our music available since it was first released on vinyl in the 80s,” he admits, “It has never been on CD, it has never been on iTunes, and it’s never been on streaming.

“So, to re-release a song 37 years later and to have it chart and to get such a wonderful reception is really great fun. I love that it is a nostalgic blast for some people to hear it again. But I also love that for younger people it is apparently a great new song in the marketplace of music. People tell me that their teenage children have added the song to their own playlists. It’s fantastic that the track appeals to them because we were teenagers when we wrote it all those decades ago.”

Watling adds, “It’s so great hearing what people think about it. Every response has been lovely except for one guy from Canberra who messaged and said, ‘No thanks, music too loud and repetitive. Get real’. Hilariously curt! Although, I found out later that guy is a fan of musicals, and Mary Poppins is his favourite production. So, he’s probably not the right demographic. Cheers to everyone else.”

Matthew Hall, the bassist in Rabbits Wedding, reflected on the differences between releasing music back in the ‘80s to today.

“When Coming Like Summer was first released, it was a time when JJJ was only a Sydney radio station and didn't have the national reach it did in the 90s,” Hall began. “It was before Nirvana's success opened the door to a wider audience for alternative music and before the Internet.

“Bands and independent labels relied on record stores, community and college radio stations, and live venues to find an audience. We were truly fighting a culture war against a commercial music industry that is difficult for many people today to recognise or understand. 

“The Coming Like Summer comeback has happened in a time when the Internet and digital media is the main channel for artists to find an audience. The one constant though has been community radio stations which continue to support artists not considered part of the ‘mainstream,’ whatever that means, whether it is 1988, 1997, 2006, 2015, or 2024.”

Philip Rawlinson, the drummer in the band, added: “I’m pleasantly surprised and thankful that Coming Like Summer is being played on the radio again after all these years. I was also thrilled that it was included on the Time Capsule - Australian Sounds vinyl compilation of 80’s/90’s Australian bands.”

Time Capsule - Australian Sounds contains 25 songs by Australian acts you may or may not remember, including the likes of Magic Dirt, Hard-Ons and Died Pretty alongside Tumbleweed, Falling Joys, The Killjoys, and many more. You can check out the tracklist here.