From the ringside tour – Sydney. BRQ
“Flame Trees” is from the 1984 album Twentieth Century. It is one of Cold Chisel’s best known songs, and was written by drummer Steve Prestwich and organist Don Walker. It reached number 26 on the Australian charts, orignally but also resurfaced in August 2011 due to download sales (peaking at #54 on the ARIA chart)
According to the band’s official website, Walker’s inspiration for the lyrics was a combination of his memories of Grafton where he had lived as a youth, and of his romantic dreams. The music had already been written, on a bass, by Prestwich. He said, “When I heard Don’s lyrics, I told him, ‘Mate, I don’t know if they’re right for the music.’ I’ve grown used to them now.”
The reference to flame trees instead of the jacarandas for which Grafton is famous, due to its annual Jacaranda Festival, is partly because of a contemporary television miniseries, the BBC’s The Flame Trees of Thika, starring Hayley Mills, “an old flame of the lyricist’s dreams”. However, Grafton is well known for its many specimens of the Australian native rainforest tree Brachychiton acerifolius (also known as the Illawarra Flame Tree or Kurrajong), which along with the more pervasive, introduced poincianas and the town’s famous (also introduced) jacarandas, set its streets ablaze every spring.
The video of the song (directed by Kimble Rendall) was filmed in Oberon, New South Wales. It portrays a young man returning to his home town, meeting old friends, and remembering a past lover. The members of Cold Chisel have bit parts, except for Barnes, who only appears courtesy of some footage from The Last Stand. Barnes said, “The band was arguing so much that Flame Trees and the making of the clip, well, they never even told me, that’s why I wasn’t in it – the band weren’t even talking to me at that point.”
Edited Extracts from Wikipedia®