Clinton Walker is a writer Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called “our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture.” Born in Bendigo in 1957, he is an art school drop-out and recovering rock critic who is the author of nine books, who has also worked extensively in television and journalism. That much of his backlist including Inner City Sound, Highway to Hell, Buried Country, Golden Miles and History is Made at Night is still in print sometimes decades after first publication is a mark of his traction.
Walker established his colourful reputation in the 1980s when writing freelance for only top-shelf newspapers and magazines like RAM, Rolling Stone, Roadrunner, the Age, Stiletto, the Bulletin and Playboy, after his first book, Inner City Sound, had come out in 1981. For ABC-TV, he was the presenter of late night live music show Studio 22 and co-writer of the hit 2001 Oz-rockumentary series Long Way to the Top, and for SBS he wrote the film version of Buried Country (2000); he produced soundtrack CDs for all three programs, and for 2005’s expanded edition of Inner City Sound. Other album production credits include 2013’s celebrated Silver Roads.
Walker lives with his family in Sydney and in 2017 is completing two other new books, Deadly Woman Blues and Shadow Dancing, juggling a few projects for stage and screen, and working on a return to the visual art where he started out in the first place.
Most general histories of post-war Australian popular music tell the story of a sound, whether pub rock, the inner-city sound of indy rock, or whatever. This book uniquely tells the story of the songs and the songwriting, filling an egregious gap in the bibliography.
Drawing on the author’s forty years’ experience writing about Australian music and on many previously-unpublished interviews from his archive, it takes a roughly narrative shape, working along with the chronology as the tradition develops through time, and it concludes with the great coming of age of the early 70s just before the birth of Countdown (and not extending beyond that time because the post-Countdown era has been so well documented).
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