A short tribute, Mail on Sunday. May 14 2006


Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens died suddenly last weekend, at home in Brisbane, aged only 48. He was a charming man and a singer-songwriter of great character who specialised in vivid, soulful guitar pop. He and his partner Robert Forster were as close as Australia got to Lennon and McCartney; I can hear him adding, 'which wasn't all that close', but he could hardly complain because his name carried echoes of both of them. They had some of that Beatles blend of sweet and sour, wistful and edgy, simple and sophisticated, and they made a very fine partnership in their own right.

Grant grew up on a farm and wrote about it in songs like Cattle And Cane, but he rose above the machismo of the outback to pioneer a form of Australian masculinity that was gentle, open and urbane. He was on top form last year on what turns out to have been the final Go-Betweens album, Oceans Apart, especially on the radiant love song Finding You. At the Shepherds Bush Empire last May, he gave an indelible performance, singing his heart out with his head on one side. He is the greatest loss to songwriting since Kirsty MacColl.