Robert Cianflone, Getty Images Aussie pub rock band Cold Chisel are to mount…
- Posted on Jan 18th 2011 2:30PM by Stephen Dowling
Craig Golding, Getty Images
Already seven-odd years old and a million miles away from the enigmatic, experimental indie being made by the Flying Nun bands I'd later become obsessed with, Cold Chisel's 1982 pop anthem was a simple lovelorn singalong, to be belted out among the beers and the barbecues under big southern skies, a song I vaguely recalled from the pop charts half-a-decade back. Reintroduced, I suddenly loved it. I still do.
Chisel's drummer Steve Prestwich -- who tragically died after an operation on a brain tumour on the weekend, aged 56 -- wrote this slick, shuffling pop song, still a radio-friendly playlist staple from Darwin to Dunedin, Perth to Paraparaumu. My collection of Aussie pub rock albums might have long ago gone to the big cassette deck in the sky, but this song's a blue-jeaned time machine -- I hear that guitar intro, and I'm transported 22 years back in time, to the other side of the world.
Sung with a just a hint of sadness by a singer not often known for his subtlety, Chisel's sandpaper-voiced frontman Jimmy Barnes, there's a ghostly quality to the backing vocals in that bright uplifting chorus that still gives me goosebumps. A raucous outfit noted for Barnes' heroic alcohol intake as much as chief songwriter Don Walker's literate, observational lyrics, this was one of a few times Prestwich penned a track, and one of the few Chisel songs with such simple sentiment, a tale of heartbreak and lost love by the light of an airport bar.
Prestwich's passing has been paid tribute by a plethora of Australian music writers gauging his place in Aussie rock history, but this one's purely personal. Without that blast of Aussie rock on a wet weekend in 1989, I might never have stumbled into music journalism, and the many adventures over the last 20 years. For that, and 'Forever Now,' I'd like to thank him.