Robert Forster: Brennen lernen

Robert Forster

Robert Forster © Stephen Booth

Robert Forster (b. 1957 in Brisbane) is the “golden boy” of international Indie Pop. Together with Grant McLennan (b. 1958 in Rockhampton, d. 2006) and Belinda “Lindy” Morrison (b. 1951 in Queensland) he was the creative core of the band The Go-Betweens, which they formed in 1977. McLennan describes the three band members in his song ‘Riddle In The Rain’ as “A reluctant bitter feminist / A boy with thin wrists / A tall man with a gift”. Contemporaries of the boy wonders of Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Scritti Politti, XTC and The Smiths, The Go-Betweens went in the Eighties and Nineties on the search for the Holy Grail of the music world – the perfect pop song. They never had a big top ten hit, but what they did create was a string of immortal compositions. Two almost perfect albums were released in the Eighties, Before Hollywood (1983) and 16 Lovers Lane (1988). At the time, Forster played the role of the dandyish front man (sometimes in a dress, sometimes in a poncho), at once living and sending up the pop star dream. His musical contemporary Nick Cave has called him “the truest and strangest poet of his generation”. The band’s fame is still legendary. Every other band approaching the top of the Pitchfork Scale either cites The Go-Betweens as an influence or sounds like them. After McLennan’s death, Forster has continued his solo career, most recently releasing his celebrated album Songs to Play. His memoir, Grant & I, is reckoned alongside Mark E. Smith’s Renegade and Morrissey’s Autobiography, to be one of the major books written about music in the past few years.


Grant & I: Inside and Outside the Go-Betweens, Omnibus Press 2017

The Go-Betweens discography (selection):
Send Me A Lullaby, 1981
Before Hollywood, 1983
Spring Hill Fair, 1984
Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express, 1986
Tallulah, 1987
16 Lovers Lane, 1988
The Friends of Rachel Worth, 2000
Bright Yellow Bright Orange, 2003
Oceans Apart, 2005
That Striped Sunlight Sound, 2006

Robert Forster discography:
Danger in the Past, 1989
Calling From a Country Phone, 1993
I Had a New York Girlfriend, 1995
Warm Nights, 1996
The Evangelist, 2008
Songs to Play, 2015