Malcolm Turnbull and Malcolm Young
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could not remember the name of any AC/DC songs following the death of guitarist Malcolm Young. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images and Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was left red-faced after he was unable to name a single song by AC/DC, one of the country's biggest rock bands ever. An attempt by his office to make things better didn't go much better either, and resulted in some rather blunt suggestions.

The gaff came shortly after the news of guitarist and band co-founder Malcolm Young's passing aged 64 on Saturday (18 November) following a three-year battle with dementia.

Appearing on Triple M Brisbane radio, Turnbull appeared clueless about AC/DC – but did not admit it, instead going along with the conversation. "Errrr.... well tell me, what's your favourite AC/DC song?" the prime minister asked the hosts, initially avoiding the question.

The team initially helped him out, citing Long Way To The Top, Highway To Hell, Back In Black, but quickly saw that he was barely recognising the song titles and slipped in Barbie Girl too.

Still with no ideas of AC/DC songs, Turnbull instead told the hosts that his favourite song from "that era" was "The Mentals' If You Leave Me Can I Come Too" (the band's name was actually Mental As Anything), released in 1981. "I'm very romantic," he explained.

No doubt trying to save the situation, the prime minister's office put out a call on Twitter. "Alright, alright. The PM needs a refresh on his Aussie music so we're making him a playlist," they said, adding that it would start with AC/DC and Daryl Braithwaite.

Here are some of the less friendly suggestions they received:

  • Why Don't You Shut Up by Hard-Ons
  • The Biggest Disappointment by Slim Dusty
  • Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) by AC/DC
  • Give Me Just A Little More Time by Kylie Minogue
  • Let's Get To Work by Hi-5
  • Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce
  • I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff by Regurgitator

The prime minister's office tried to play it cool in response, even saying "awwww, aren't you kind" to someone who suggested several brutal songs in one go and "yeah, nah" to Why Don't You All Get F**ked by Skyhooks.

Others reacted by suggesting the team should just get back to work and worry about more important things. "WTF? Worst PM is the history of this nation and you're worried about his friking playlist?" said one Twitter user, @_MissyMoo. While Michael Myres said: "Suggestions? Get back to work...and stop cancelling sitting days..."