Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil

Subject: Pete's contribution to Yothu Yindi's 'Treaty'
From: koala.sprint@gmail.com
Date: 10/08/2014, 3:58 am
To: Oils Powderworks

Hi all

I always wondered about the famous Yothu Yindi song, Treaty, which was written by a group of people from Yothu Yindi and also Paul Kelly and Peter Garrett. It always intrigued me as to my knowledge, Peter never wrote anything outside of Midnight Oil. I'm just finishing Paul Kelly's book 'How to Make Gravy' and he has a chapter solely on 'Treaty'. 
He was invited by Dr.Yunipingu the Yothu Yindi singer to come up and write a song about the government's supposed treaty with the aboriginal people in the Northern Territory‎. He spent 2 weeks with them and didn't get much work done on the treaty song, but helped them out with much of their second album, tribal voice. He came up with the "Treaty now, Treaty yeah" chorus just as a riff over some chords and thought they fill in proper words later on. Months later he got a call saying that Yothi Yindi were in town and wanted to record Treaty. They loved his chorus and didn't want to change it. Dr.Yunipungu wanted to get Peter Garretts thoughts on the song and went to visit him at the Oils office. They sat over tea and listened to the track which Peter loved. He suggested adding a bridge featuring counterpoint backing vocals saying 'Promises, Priceless land!' 
That was his contribution and he got a songwriting credit and Yothu Yindi got to say that the song was co-written by Paul Kelly and Peter Garrett. Very clever. I'm sure it sold many times more because of it and got them known the world over. 

If there's any Paul Kelly fans out there, ‎I'd thoroughly recommend this book. It's a massive tome where he's taken 100 of his songs and written stories around each one. I had his back catalogue and his 8 disc live boxset with the 100 songs from the book, close by listening to each song with each chapter. It's a wonderful, if not long, way to read a book.