an opinion editorial written exclusively for ANZMEX 

9 December 2021
By Chris Sladen

Energy matters – Top of The (Energy) Pops

I have put together my Top 40 picks for this year’s festive season energy rock & pop music charts. If you are organising a festive party, here are some great foot-tapping sing-along classic records that you might put on the play list to get that energy party started.

My favourites this year are ranked 1 thru 40 showing both the year recorded and the performers. I have taken the opportunity to write a few cryptic sleeve notes to accompany my compilation energy chart:

No. 1. Apocalypse Now. 1979, by Carmine Coppola. Arguably the best movie soundtrack ever, the movie portrays sweeping social changes, ideological struggles and turmoil; a salient reminder of how the future of hydrocarbons faces inevitable and massive change over the next 20 years.

No. 2. Under Pressure. 1981, by David Bowie & Queen. Never has the challenge of climate change been greater or clearer; we are an industry under so much pressure…

No. 3. Change the world. 1996, by Eric Clapton. Self-explanatory title though the energy transition is not as simple to do as it may sound.

No. 4. Uranium Fever. 1955, by Elton Britt. For those that like prospecting, this is country music fusion for a nuclear powered future.

No. 5. Only so much oil in the Ground. 1975 by Tower of Power. Not really a problem if you believe in peak demand (like I do) rather than peak supply.

No. 6. Gas Panic! 2000, by Oasis. Popular tune with a theme played every day in Europe at the moment, and earlier this year in Texas.

No. 7. Blowin’ in the Wind. 1962, Bob Dylan. A timeless refrain less focussed on windmills and more upon freedom.

No. 8. Here comes the sun. 1969 by The Beatles. A warm sing-a-long solar tune from Abbey Road.

No. 9. Coal miner’s boogie. 1967, by George Davis aka The Singing Miner. Fading in popularity though this genre is still a favourite in some countries.

No. 10. Wind of Change. 1990, by the Scorpions. An energy shift that started onshore but is now deployed far out beyond the horizon.

No. 11. Lithium. 1992, by Nirvana. Easy listening elevator music at Tesla, apparently.

No. 12. On the road again. 1990 by Willie Nelson. Was written on a sick bag whilst on an airplane. Yes really!

No. 13. Bringin’ Home the Oil. 1969, by Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. An upbeat Irish sea-shanty used as part of a Gulf Oil commercial on TV that features oil tankers.

No. 14. You Can’t Always Get What You Want. 1969 by the Rolling Stones. Sung by many oil company executives after failing to win anything in the latest exploration bid round…

No. 15. The Crude Oil Blues. 1974 by Jerry Read. A cracking track for those who follow country supply and demand data.

No. 16. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 2006 by Jack Johnson. The 3Rs, an overlapping medley sing-a-long where there is always room for improvement.

No. 17. Not shutting down. 2020 by Gip Bwok. A song for all renewable energy enthusiasts; do check out the lyrics of this one.

No. 18. Save the World. 1981 by George Harrison. The title says it all; rain forest destruction was a big issue 40 years ago; it still is today.

No. 19. Down at the Reservoir. 1998 by The Bluetones. A geologists favourite subsurface gig.

No. 20. Electric Avenue. 1982 by Eddie Grant. For those who run riot on electrifying everything.

No. 21. It’s the end of the world as we know it. 1987 by REM. Yes, but we do have a new normal that some might consider a studio remix.

No. 22. Diesel and Dust. 1987 by Midnight Oil. An Australian concept album featuring environmental issues and products of petroleum origins.

No. 23. Rolling in the deep. 2010 by Adele. For those wanting to breakout into a new offshore petroleum province.

No. 24. Hide tide Low tide. 2016 by Billy Ocean. Easy listening for all renewables enthusiasts, play on repeat twice per day.

No. 25. Trees. 1978 by Rush. The more we have, the better; ideally another 1 trillion are needed but there is not enough land available for the size of carbon sink needed.

No. 26. Start me up. 1981 by Rolling Stones. Addictive petrolhead pedal-to-the-metal beat; automatic or manual as you prefer when you turn the ignition key.

No. 27. Traffic Jam. 1977 by James Taylor. From a time when it was cool to be running around on fossil fuel. A well-known number in Mexico City, Moscow & Mumbai where the song’s title is repeated every day.

No. 28. You Can Do Anything. 1999 by Carole King. Anthem for diversity and inclusion. In need of extended play across the entire energy sector.

No. 29. Together in Electric Dreams. 1984 by Phil Oakley. Close your eyes to see the positives and negatives…

No. 30. Gasoline. 2008 by Sheryl Crow. Haunting lyrics in which petrol becomes free!!

No. 31. Too much sunshine. 2002 by Midnight Oil. Known to create problems unless you have some battery storage.

No. 32. Hot Water. 1984 by Level 42. The song played at the start of all meetings of the national Union of Geothermal Workers.

No. 33. Good Vibrations. 1966 by The Beach Boys. The jug hustlers jingle, sung every day by those out doing seismic surveys. Nowadays a digital recording of shear noise.

No. 34. Are Friends Electric? 1979 by Tubeway Army. Festive after-party chill music?

No. 35. The Tide is High. 2002 by Atomic Kitten. Not every renewables person’s favourite cover version; atomic groupies might instead prefer World Nuclear Energy Day each December 2nd.

No. 36. Eternal Flame. 1988, The Bangles. Originally a name given to the burning oil & gas seeps in the Middle East, nowadays a reminder of the seemingly never-ending gas flaring, such as in the US Permian Basin.

No. 37. Respect. 1967, Aretha Franklin. Despite this classic anthem for diversity & equality, the energy industry still seems to struggle with this topic just a little bit every day.

No. 38. The Times They Are-a-changin. 1964 by Bob Dylan. Spot on, Bob; we have to do better than we have in the past.

No. 39. Despite Repeated Warnings. 2018 by Paul McCartney. A lament to the lack of global leadership on climate change.

No. 40. Time. 1973 by Pink Floyd. A classic track from the Dark Side of the Moon album about how time can slip by but we don’t realise until it is too late. Seems an appropriate theme to close out this year’s compilation album. Let’s all make sure we make up for lost time in 2022!!

Thanks should go to all the performers and composers mentioned above and others involved for creating such great music. If you have suggestions to add, or improve my Top 40 selections, do please send to me. Season’s greetings to all my readers.


About the author:

Chris Sladen runs an advisory service offering insights to inform, shape a decision, policy & regulation, and guide the next steps for energy ventures, acquisitions & divestments, energy transition and climate strategies. Chris has a unique global experience having worked in over 40 countries. This is underpinned by extensive knowledge of petroleum systems and where best to find oil and gas, notably in the Gulf of Mexico & nearby areas, Europe and NE & SE Asia, as well as the development of midstream, downstream & renewables investments in many emerging economies. Chris has extensive experience acquired on the Boards of companies, subsidiaries, business chambers & organisations. Chris has a career of over 40 years in the energy sector, living in Mexico (2001-2018), Russia, Vietnam, Mongolia, China & UK. His contributions to the energy and education sectors have been recognised by the UK Government with both an MBE and CBE, and also the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican Government – the first foreigner in the energy sector to achieve this award. Chris has published extensively over five decades. Chris’ articles for Energy Matters reflect his experience and enthusiasm and are not paid for in any way.

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