As triple j celebrate the 30th anniversary of their iconic Hottest 100 poll, some music fans are wondering if another all-time poll could be on the way.

Whether you realise it or not, March 5th is a rather important day in the history of Australian music. Yes, on that humble Sunday 30 years ago, triple j gave the world their now-iconic Hottest 100 countdown.

The brainchild of triple j intern Lawrie Zion, the idea of a musical poll had been first floated in November of 1988. After Zion presented the idea to station manager Andy Nehl, who had overseen Brisbane’s 4ZZZ where a similar poll was in place, the green light was given.

Over the next few months, listeners were asked to write in what their favourite songs were. triple j were adamant that they didn’t want people to name what they believed to be the “best” song, rather, they waned personal preference to triumph.

As Lawrie Zion recalled in 2005, votes came into the station in all manner of creative ways, including letters, paintings, and sculptures. “I even got one entry from a guy in prison, in Sydney,” Zion recalled, “and it was 10 rolled up joints with the names of his favourite songs on each joint.

Then, on Sunday, March 5th, 1989, Australian musical history was made when triple j counted down their inaugural ‘Hot 100’, later to be renamed the Hottest 100 so as not to conflict with a Darwin radio station.

Opening the first-ever poll was Aussie music royalty Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, whose iconic track ‘The Mercy Seat’ managed to usher in a new era of musical history.

As the poll went on though, it ended up being a bit of a one-sided affair, with 42 English tracks in the mix, as Australia and America fought a close battle with 26 and 24 tunes, respectively.

Ultimately, the poll was taken out by Joy Division’ ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, while Hunters & Collectors’ ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ and The The’s ‘Uncertain Smile’ followed closely behind.

The next year, the feat was repeated, with the Hottest 100 of 1990 seeing the exact same gold and silver medallists, with only The Smiths mixing things up at #3.

By 1991, it was clear that things were looking all-too similar, with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ topping the poll, and relegating Joy Division to #2.

After taking a break in 1992, the poll returned in 1993, this time with a new focus on songs released during the previous year. Interestingly, if the 1991 countdown had gone by modern rules, Nirvana likely would have become the first (and only, to date) act to take out the top two spots.

While the annual Hottest 100 countdowns had a rather modest start, it has since grown to become the largest music poll in the world, attracting millions of listeners globally each year.

Since the all-time format was dropped in the early ’90s, triple j haven’t abandoned the idea completely, holding countdowns of a similar variety in 1998 and 1999.

Meanwhile, other polls have also taken place, including a Hottest 100 Australian Albums poll in 2011, and 20th anniversary celebration of the annual countdown in 2013, which saw votes limited to songs released since 1993.

However with today marking the 30th anniversary of the classic poll, we reckon it might be high time for another Hottest 100 of all-time.

In recent years, the annual countdowns have been supplemented over on triple j’s sister station Double J with a look back at the countdowns of 20 years ago.

Following the 1998 Hottest 100 being rebroadcast in January, a seperate poll was held to allow listeners to right the wrongs of the past, giving them the chance to see if The Offspring’s ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’ really deserved that #1 spot. (Spoiler alert: it did, apparently.)

Check out The Offspring’s ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’:

YouTube VideoPlay

Now, 30 years on, should triple j hold another retrospective musical poll? Or should the honour maybe be given over to Double J?

After all, the station’s question of “What song do you think would win if we voted now?” does indeed make it sound as though another countdown could potentially be on the way.

With Double J focusing more on the music that listeners associate with the ‘classic’ triple j sound, now might just be a perfect opportunity for them to hold another look back at musical history. As we celebrate 30 years of the countdown, and ten years since the last all-time poll, the timing is perfect.

However, such a decision is bound to attract controversy from whichever side of the musical spectrum you find yourself on.

Undoubtedly, fans of triple j’s older sound might worry that the station’s current fanbase would flood the poll with contemporary songs if it were held on its traditional home, while younger fans may worry their taste wont be accurately represented if the countdown was held on Double J.

It definitely looks as though it could be a contentious topic amongst music fans, but we can’t deny that makes for a perfect time to look back at the music of the past.

After all, it might also finally give a chance to all of those classic songs that were overlooked by the annual Hottest 100 countdowns back in the day.

Check out Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’:

YouTube VideoPlay

triple j’s Hot 100 of 1989

#1. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Joy Division
#2. ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ – Hunters & Collectors
#3. ‘Uncertain Smile’ – The The
#4. ‘That’s Entertainment’ – The Jam
#5. ‘Blue Monday’ – New Order
#6. ‘Holiday In Cambodia’ – Dead Kennedys
#7. ‘How Soon Is Now?’ – The Smiths
#8. ‘Talking To A Stranger’ – Hunters & Collectors
#9. ‘Birthday’ – The Sugarcubes
#10. ‘A Forest’ – The Cure

#11. ‘Cattle And Cane’ – The Go-Betweens
#12. ‘Shivers’ – The Boys Next Door
#13. ‘This Charming Man’ – The Smiths
#14. ‘Rock Lobster’ – The B-52’s
#15. ‘Song To The Siren’ – This Mortal Coil
#16. ‘Alison’ – Elvis Costello
#17. ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’ – Sex Pistols
#18. ‘London Calling’ – The Clash
#19. ‘Primary’ – The Cure
#20. ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards’ – Billy Bragg

#21. ‘Respect’ – Aretha Franklin
#22. ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ – R.E.M.
#23. ‘Aloha Steve And Danno’ – Radio Birdman
#24. ‘Kiss (feat. Tom Jones)’ – Art Of Noise
#25. ‘Average Inadequacy’ – Machinations
#26. ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ – The Only Ones
#27. ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ – The Smiths
#28. ‘Know Your Product’ – The Saints
#29. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – The Cure
#30. ‘Stairway To Heaven’ – Led Zeppelin

#31. ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon
#32. ‘Psycho Killer’ – Talking Heads
#33. ‘Wish You Were Here’ – Pink Floyd
#34. ‘Kiss’ – Prince & The Revolution
#35. ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ – The Cult
#36. ‘Love Song’ – Simple Minds
#37. ‘Sign O’ The Times’ – Prince
#38. ‘Greetings To The New Brunette’ – Billy Bragg
#39. ‘Heroes’ – David Bowie
#40. ‘L.A. Woman’ – The Doors

#41. ‘Troy’ – Sinéad O’Connor
#42. ‘The Unguarded Moment’ – The Church
#43. ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Kate Bush
#44. ‘Smash It Up (Part 2)’ – The Damned
#45. ‘The One I Love’ – R.E.M.
#46. ‘Blister In The Sun’ – Violent Femmes
#47. ‘Lust For Life’ – Iggy Pop
#48. ‘Orinoco Flow’ – Enya
#49. ‘All Along The Watchtower’ – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
#50. ‘The End’ – The Doors

#51. ‘(I’m) Stranded’ – The Saints
#52. ‘Teardrops’ – Womack And Womack
#53. ‘God Save The Queen’ – Sex Pistols
#54. ‘The Cutter’ – Echo & The Bunnymen
#55. ‘Marquee Moon’ – Televison
#56. ‘Alone With You’ – Sunnyboys
#57. ‘Wedding Cake Island’ – Midnight Oil
#58. ‘I Want You’ – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
#59. ‘Moments In Love’ – Art Of Noise
#60. ‘Forbidden Colours’ – Ryuichi Sakamoto & David Sylvian

#61. ‘Buffalo Stance’ – Neneh Cherry
#62. ‘Sexual Healing’ – Marvin Gaye
#63. ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ – The Rolling Stones
#64. ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ – The Smiths
#65. ‘Pretty Vacant’ – Sex Pistols
#66. ‘Close To Me’ – The Cure
#67. ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ – New Order
#68. ‘Wide Open Road’ – The Triffids
#69. ‘A Day In The Life’ – The Beatles
#70. ‘Deanna’ – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

#71. ‘Pump It Up’ – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
#72. ‘Bachelor Kisses’ – The Go-Betweens
#73. ‘Watching The Detectives’ – Elvis Costello
#74. ‘Duel’ – Propaganda
#75. ‘Going Underground’ – The Jam
#76. ‘Layla’ – Derek And The Dominos
#77. ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ – Lou Reed
#78. ‘Ghost Ships’ – The Saints
#79. ‘My Island Home’ – Warumpi Band
#80. ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ – Cocteau Twins

#81. ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ – XTC
#82. ‘Golden Brown’ – The Stranglers
#83. ‘Betty’s Worry Or The Slab’ – Hunters & Collectors
#84. ‘Burning Down The House’ – Talking Heads
#85. ‘The Message’ – Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five
#86. ‘Riders On The Storm’ – The Doors
#87. ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’ – The Jam
#88. ‘Power And The Passion’ – Midnight Oil
#89. ‘Bye Bye Pride’ – The Go-Betweens
#90. ‘Eagle Rock’ – Daddy Cool

#91. ‘Suspicious Minds’ – Elvis Presley
#92. ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ – Aretha Franklin
#93. ‘Slave Girl’ – The Lime Spiders
#94. ‘Heart Of Glass’ – Blondie
#95. ‘Khe Sanh’ – Cold Chisel
#96. ‘O Superman (For Massenet)’ – Laurie Anderson
#97. ‘Say Goodbye’ – Hunters & Collectors
#98. ‘Man Overboard’ – Do-Ré-Mi
#99. ‘The Cicada (That Ate Five Dock)’ – Outline
#100. ‘The Mercy Seat’ – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

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