Patti Smith has added the Midnight Oil classic ‘Beds Are Burning’ to her current European tour.
Smith has performed the song eight times on this tour in Rome, Venice, Zurich, Dublin, London, Manchester and Brighton as well as at the Heartland Festival in Denmark.
Patti set the Oils classic up with a poem about Australia’s toxic destruction of the environment.
“From the centre of the world,
down deep in the earth,
down were the swirl of dreams are made,
long before the beginning of time,
the gods formed a great rock that grows through the desert,
and this rock was ruby in the sun,
red as blood when the sun smiled upon it,
and from its essence man created Dreamtime,
and they slept in its shadows,
but they did not walk upon it,
but then the settlers came and the tourists and those who did not believe,
and they tramped upon it,
and some fell to their death pulling the red skin of the red rock down into the desert,
creating the dust of sorry all the way to the sea,
and beneath the sea, so many leagues beneath the sea,
Great Barrier Reef, red as blood, red as a ruby,
until man infused it with his toxics, with oil, with his plastic,
and choked the life out of it,
until that great red reef bleached white like the bones of saints in the sun
Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’ was the opening song on the 1987 ‘Diesel and Dust’ album. The song was written by Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie. It is a protest song about giving land back to the Pinupi, the last people to come in from the Gibson Desert.
It reached No. 1 in New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, No. 3 in the Netherlands, No. 5 in France, No. 6 in the United Kingdom and Australia, No. 11 in Ireland and No. 17 in the United States and Sweden.