Our top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list digs deep into the music of an Australian rock and soul artist famed for his successful music career both a solo artist and a member of Cold Chisel. The 1956-born artist has a broad catalog of rock and soul classics, with his career spanning almost five decades. Before venturing into a solo career, Jimmy Barnes established himself as a force to reckon with in the pub rock scene as the lead vocalist of Cold Chisel. Jimmy Barnes’ solo career started a few months after the disbandment of Cold Chisel in 1984.
The band had just concluded the release of its ARIA double Platinum-certified fifth LP, Twentieth Century when its members disbanded. A few months later, Jimmy Barnes issued his debut solo studio album, Bodyswerve, through Mushroom Records. Bodyswerve marked the continuation of Jimmy Barnes’ sheer passion for music and blistering vocal performances. Jimmy Barnes’ journey of a successful solo career was just getting started, having him release eighteen more studio albums. Eleven of his nineteen solo studio albums have topped the Australian Albums Chart, making him one of the most successful Australian music icons.
Jimmy Barnes’ Album Releases over the Years
The release of Jimmy Barnes’ debut album, Bodyswerve was warmly received by rock fans thanks to his endearing vocals. “No Second Prize” marked the singer’s first single for the album. Other notable musical gems from the album include “Daylight” and “Promise Me You’ll Call.” The album also featured covers of hits by Janis Joplin and Sam Cooke by Jimmy Barnes. Bodyswerve went on to top the Australian Albums Chart, catapulting Jimmy Barnes to commercial success in Australia. The album was double Platinum certification by ARIA.
After a successful debut album, Jimmy Barnes returned in 1985 with his sophomore studio album, For the Working Class Man. This hard rock album features some of the best Jimmy Barnes songs of all time, including “Working Class Man,” “Ride the Night Away,” and “I’d Die to Be with You Tonight.” For the Working Class Man also topped the Australian Albums Chart, managing to rise to the second spot on the New Zealand Albums Chart. The album is Jimmy Barnes’ first LP to make it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number one hundred and nine. For the Working Class Man is Jimmy Barnes’ second best-selling album, receiving Platinum certification from ARIA seven times.
Freight Train Heart, issued in 198, marked Jimmy Barnes’ third studio album. Like the singer’s previous albums, Freight Train Heart saw Jimmy Barnes stick to hard rock sonic influences. The result was hard rock classics including “Driving Wheels,” Too Much Ain’t Enough Love,” “I’m Still on Your Side,” and “Waitin’ for the Heartache.” Freight Train Heart peaked atop the Australian Albums Chart, rising to position one hundred and four on the Billboard 200. The album was a commercial success, achieving Platinum certification by ARIA five times.
In 1990, Jimmy Barnes issued his fourth studio album, Two Fires. The album was a success, peaking atop both the Australian and New Zealand Albums Chart. Unfortunately, the album failed to make it to the Billboard 200. Despite its failure to rise into the Billboard 200, Two Fires was warmly received by Jimmy Barnes’ fans. In Australia, the album was Platinum-certified six times. Some of the most popular songs by Jimmy Barnes from the album include “Lay Down Your Guns,” “Little Darling,” “When Your Love is Gone,” and “Let’s Make it Last All Night.”
Jimmy Barnes went on to release his soul-oriented fifth studio album, Soul Deep, in 1991. The album marked his fifth consecutive number one solo LP on the Australian Albums Chart. “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby,” “I Gotcha,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” are some of the best Jimmy Barnes soul cover hits from the album. Soul Deep is Jimmy Barnes’ best-selling album, attaining Platinum certification by ARIA ten times.
Heat, issued in 1993, marked Jimmy Barnes’ sixth solo studio album. The album was not as successful as the previous releases by the singer. On the Australian Albums Chart, Heat managed to rise to the second spot. Heat’s commercial impact was fair, having the album achieve Platinum certification by ARIA. “Stone Cold,” “Right by Your Side,” “Sweat It Out,” and “Stand Up” are some of the musical gems featured on Heat.
Jimmy Barnes went on to release another LP the same year under the title, Flesh and Wood. Flesh and Wood saw Jimmy collaborate with other artists including Joe Cocker, Deborah Conway, Diesel, The Badloves, Don Walker, Ross Wilson, Archie Roach, and Tommy Emmanuel. This three times Platinum-certified album also managed to rise to the second spot on the Australian Albums Chart. “Still Got a Long Way to Go,” “The Weight,” and “You Can Make Love Without a Soul” are some of the reputable hits by Jimmy Barnes from Flesh and Wood.
Psyclone, issued in 1995, is Jimmy’s eighth solo studio album. Like his previous two LPs, Psyclone managed to rise to the second spot on the Australian Albums Chart. “Change of Heart,” “Every Beat,” and “Come Undone” are the most popular songs by Jimmy Barnes from the album. Despite Psyclone not being one of the best-selling albums by Jimmy Barnes, it still managed Platinum certification by ARIA.
After a lengthy yet successful relationship with Mushroom Records, Love and Fear would eventually mark Jimmy Barnes’ final album with the label. The album remains Jimmy’s poorest performing issue through the label, settling for the twenty-second spot on the Australian Albums Chart. Love and Fear also failed to appeal to most of the singer’s fans, only managing a Gold certification in Australia. “Thankful for the Rain” and “Love and Hate” are the only charting singles by Jimmy Barnes from the album.
Inspired by the success of his fifth LP, Soul Deep, Jimmy Barnes issued another soul-oriented LP in 2000 under the title Soul Deeper… Songs from the Deep South. In this album, Jimmy Barnes shows his love for soul music, covering notable soul hits including “Chains of Fools” by Aretha Franklin, “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees, and “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett. The album debuted and peaked at the third spot on the Australian Albums Chart. Soul Deeper… Songs from the Deep South was certified Platinum once by ARIA. The album was Jimmy Barnes’ first release under Liberation Music.
Double Happiness, issued in 2005, marked Jimmy Barnes’ eleventh studio album. This rock album features duets performed by Jimmy Barnes and various artists including his daughter Mahalia Barnes, Roachford, Dallas Crane, John Swan, The Living End, Diesel, and David Campbell among others. “Sit on My Knee,” “Bird on the Wire,” and “Gonna Take Some Time” are some of the best Jimmy Barnes songs from Double Happiness. This Platinum-certified album managed to top the Australian Albums Chart.
In November 2007, Jimmy Barnes released his twelfth studio album, Out in the Blue. The album brings the best of Jimmy’s rock music with a touch of country influences. Out in the Blue went on to peak at the third spot on the Australian Albums Chart. The album managed to sell approximately seventy thousand copies in Australia, resulting in a Platinum certification by ARIA. “Blue Hotel,” I Can’t Tell You Why,” and “Better Off Alone” are the most popular songs from the album.
The Rhythm and the Blues, issued in 2009, is Jimmy Barnes’ thirteenth studio album. The album is home to some of the most alluring soul-influenced hits by the singer. Jimmy Barnes went on to cover hits by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Ike & Tina Turner, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley for this album. Once again, Jimmy achieved success with this soul-influenced album, which topped the Australian Albums Chart. The album was also Platinum-certified by ARIA.
Jimmy Barnes has since released six more albums including Rage and Ruin in 2010, 30:30 Hindsight in 2014, Soul Searchin’ in 2016, Och Aye the G’nu with The Wiggles in 2017, My Criminal Record in 2019, and Flesh and Blood in 2021. The singer also released several live and compilation albums, some of which were a commercial success too.
Jimmy Barnes’ Other Musical Pursuits and Legacy
Other than a successful solo career, Jimmy Barnes has been a significant member of the pub rock band Cold Chisel. Throughout his music career, Jimmy Barnes has released music with other reputable artists including Tina Turner, John Farnham, INXS, David Campbell, Kirin J. Callinan, Stevie Wright, Glenn Hughes, Olivia Newton-John, and The Hoochie Coochie Men. Jimmy Barnes is a proud holder of sixty-eight platinum accolades, with forty-eight of them credited to his solo career. The singer remains one of the best-selling artists in Australia to date. Here we present the ten best Jimmy Barnes songs of all time sampled from the singer’s huge catalog of albums.
# 10 – I’d Die to Be with You Tonight
Ushering us to the top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list is the jaunty hit “I’d Die to Be with You Tonight.” The song was issued as the lead single of the singer’s sophomore studio album, For the Working Class Man. In this song, Jimmy Barnes is joined by the American singer-songwriter Kim Carnes on the harmony vocals. “I’d Die to Be with You Tonight” was penned by Chas Sandford who also teamed up with Gary Gersh for its production. Initially, Gary Gersh had penned the song in the hope of releasing it on a solo album.
Jimmy Barnes revealed that Gary even declined to offer the song to Eagles founding member Don Henley. Eventually, Gary allowed Jimmy Barnes to record the song for his sophomore album. Gary Gersh would later become an iconic music industry executive, managing reputable rock stars including Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Soundgarden. “I’d Die to Be with You Tonight” went on to become Jimmy Barnes’ first solo single to make it to the top ten on the Australian Singles Chart. The song peaked at number seven on the chart.
# 9 – Lover Lover
In September 1996, Jimmy Barnes released the single “Lover Lover,” a song that would later become one of his most sought-after hits. Amazingly, the song lyrics were penned by Jimmy Barnes’ wife Jane. The song’s charming lyrics and the remarkable vocal delivery by Jimmy Barnes are the key drivers of its success in the mainstream. “Lover Lover” went on to peak at number six on the Australian Singles Chart. The song was featured on Jimmy’s first greatest hits album, Barnes Hit Anthology. Barnes Hit Analogy was nominated for the ARIA Awards Highest Selling Album accolade in 1997. However, the album lost to Recurring Dream by the Australian rock band Crowded House.
“Lover Lover” later guided Jimmy Barnes towards a nomination for the Best Male Artist accolade in the eleventh ARIA Awards Ceremony. However, Jimmy lost the award to Paul Kelly with the four-track EP How to Make Gravy. Other artists who had been nominated for the award include Tex Perkins (Far Be It From Me), Dave Graney (The Devil Drives), and Mark Seymour (“Last Ditch Cabaret”).
# 8 – When Your Love is Gone
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list is the ravishing hit “When Your Love is Gone.” The song is among the top hits by Jimmy Barnes featured on the album, Two Fires. “When Your Love is Gone” strikes a balance between the rock soul and pop sonic influences. The song is among Jimmy Barnes’ concert staples, with his fans showing a huge love for the song.
This emotive hit was a success both in the mainstream and commercially. “When Your Love is Gone” was Gold-certified by ARIA, becoming the second best-selling hit from Two Fires. The song also managed to rise to the seventh spot on the Australian Singles Chart. “When Your Love is Gone” settled for the seventeenth spot on the New Zealand Singles Chart.
# 7 – No Second Prize
“No Second Prize” is the definition of a great start to a musician’s solo career. Released as his debut single, “No Second Prize” guided Jimmy Barnes’ solo music career into mainstream success, peaking at the twelfth spot on the Australian Singles Chart. The song was penned by Jimmy Barnes and originally demoed by his first musical home, Cold Chisel. However, “No Second Prize” was never recorded the song despite its relatability with the band.
Jimmy Barnes was inspired to write this tribute song in 1980 following the death of Cold Chisel roadies Billy Rowe and Alan Dallow as a result of a truck accident. “No Second Prize” saw Jimmy Barnes win the 1984 Countdown Music Awards accolade for the Best Male Performance in a Video. Other songs that had been nominated for the award include “Short Memory” by Peter Garrett, “Phantom Shuffle” by Austen Tayshus, “Burn for You” by Michael Hutchence, and “Gymnasium” by Stephen Cummings.
# 6 – Lay Down Your Guns
Number six on our top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list is the intoxicating hit “Lay Down Your Guns.” The song was issued as the lead track to Two Fires, Jimmy’s fourth LP. “Lay Down Your Guns” gives us the best of Jimmy Barnes’ amalgam of rock and pop sonic influences. The song was a success both in the mainstream and commercially. On the Australian Singles Chart, the song managed to rise to the fourth spot. “Lay Down Your Guns” is Jimmy Barnes’ first song to achieve Platinum certification.
# 5 – Too Much Ain’t Enough Love
If love is measurable, somebody ought to know that “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love” for Jimmy Barnes. “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love” is a romantic rock song that finds the singer expressing his craving for more of his partner’s love. His incredible rock voice served as the gateway towards the success of this lead single from the album, Freight Train Heart. The song was irresistibly great that it became Jimmy Barnes’ first hit to top the Australian Singles Chart.
“Too Much Ain’t Enough Love” was a success in the US where it peaked at number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart. The song also made it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number ninety-one. On the backing vocals to this hit, we have the singers Wendy Matthews and Venetta Fields. While Wendy Matthews went on to lead a successful solo career, Venetta Fields is best known for singing backing vocals for Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Ike & Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, John Farnham, and The Rolling Stones. Jimmy Barnes took on the lead vocals of the song’s 2012 remix by Joe Bonamassa, featured on the LP, Driving Towards the Daylight.
#4 – When Something is Wrong with My Baby ft. John Farnham
Jimmy Barnes was more than a rock star having him give us a taste of his soul-influenced sound. “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” takes you to Jimmy Barnes’ soul world, leaving you craving for more of his soul vibes. The song is among the musical gems featured on his best-selling album, Soul Deep. Like all the songs on the album, “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” is a cover hit, initially released in 1967 by Sam & Dave. This classic soul ballad is a lyrical gem by the legendary soul icon Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
Jimmy Barnes’ duet with John Farnham is simply magical! Fantastic is an understatement when describing the vocals of Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham on this hit. You can’t help but love Diesel’s guitar solo on this hit too! “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” peaked at number three on the Australian Singles Chart. The song was Platinum-certified in Australia. “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” was nominated for the ARIA Awards Singles of the Year and Highest Selling Single accolades in 1992. However, it lost to “Read My Lips” by Melissa Tkautz and Filthy Lucre remix of “Treaty” by Yothu Yindi, respectively.
# 3 – Driving Wheels
The third pick on our top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list is the phenomenal ballad “Driving Wheels.” “Driving Wheels” was penned by Jimmy Barnes, David Roberts, and Jonathan Cain, who also worked with the rock groups The Babys and Bad English and of course Journey. Jonathan Cain teams up with Mike Stone in the production of this rock ballad. The song was issued as the second single to Jimmy Barnes’ third LP, Freight Train Heart.
“Driving Wheels” was a success on the charts, peaking at the twelfth spot on the Australian Singles Chart. The song went on to reach the nineteenth spot on the New Zealand Singles Chart. “Driving Wheels” features some mind-blowing guitar riffs that make the song’s melody quite enchanting.
# 2 – Stone Cold
“Stone Cold” is one of the most successful blues rock hits ever released by Jimmy Barnes. The song was penned by Don Walker, who penned many songs for the rock band Cold Chisel. “Stone Cold” marked the first time Jimmy Barnes collaborated with his former Cold Chisel band members. The song is the most sought-after hit on Jimmy Barnes’ sixth studio album, Heat.
“Stone Cold” finds Jimmy Barnes singing about he returns home a little intoxicated with drugs/alcohol admitting to being ‘stone cold’ in love with her. The song managed to rise to the fourth spot on the Australian Singles Chart. “Stone Cold” also proved to be a commercial success, achieving a Platinum certification by ARIA. The song was nominated for the Single of the Year accolade at the 1994 ARIA Awards Ceremony. However, Jimmy lost the award to “The Honeymoon Is Over” by the indie rock band The Cruel Sea.
# 1 – Working Class Man
Number one on our top 10 Jimmy Barnes songs list is the exquisite hit “Working Class Man.” The song is yet another hit penned for Jimmy by Jonathan Cain, who also handled its production. “Working Class Man” is featured on Jimmy Barnes’ sophomore studio album For the Working Class Man. The singer revealed that this hard rock ballad was penned about his audience who toil hard to earn a living.
“Working Class Man” settled for the fifth spot on the Australian Singles Chart, rising to position twenty-two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The song is also Jimmy Barnes’ highest-charting solo single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number seventy-four. “Working Class Man” bagged the Best Male Performance in a Video accolade in the 1985 Countdown Music Awards Ceremony. The song has been covered by reputable artists including Shannon Noll, John Schumann, Lacy J. Dalton, and Adam Brand & the Outlaws.
Featured Photo: Jason Benz Bennee / Shutterstock
Top 10 Jimmy Barnes Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.