Since the listener poll went from all-time favourite songs to favourite song of the year in 1993 – that is, a full generational 26 years ago for the hard-of-counting – there had been male singers, male producer/DJs, all-male-bands, mostly male-with-a-female-member bands, male hip hop crews, and lead male-with-backing/co-vocalist female acts, atop the poll.

But no woman on her own could crack the boys-boys-boys mentality of a listenership whose inherent conservatism – as reflected in the multitude of straight-line rock bands, soft-singing sad boys, virtually no freaks or noise merchants, and a horror at the thought of Beyonce, or, heaven forbid, Taylor Swift getting a spot – saw them stubbornly refuse entreaties and enticements that virtually became begging from triple j staff.

Final Form from Sampa The Great, came in at 89 during the Hottest 100 countdown.

Final Form from Sampa The Great, came in at 89 during the Hottest 100 countdown.

The network’s spokespeople were reduced each year to pointing to its high female-content playlists, highlight the many women through the full 100 and glorying in the nearly-there such as Amy Shark at number 2 in 2017. It was a little embarrassing.

And when one of the best songs of last year, Final Form, from Sampa The Great – originally from Zambia, Botswana and Sydney, and now in Melbourne – couldn’t get higher than 89 during Saturday’s countdown, it was looking like another grim result.


But look now.

Not just a woman at the top – with a moody, groove-rich and excellent bit of pop to boot – but another four in the top 10: Mallrat (Brisbane’s Grace Shaw); the international hit of 2019, Tones And I (Toni Watson, from the Mornington Peninsula); G Flip (Melbourne’s Georgia Flipo), and Thelma Plum (from Brisbane).

Not just women, but local; not just triple j-popular, but nation-wide sellers. Pop a few more fizzy bottles, Tasmanian, for Eric.

Having broken down this barrier, the next challenge will be national honours for a virulently anti-feminist defender of the hitherto under-represented demographic of white, middle-aged male – and convicted paedophile.

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