17 September 2010

"The Music Goes Round my Head"

Melbourne researcher, writer and musician David Johnston has just just published his book The Music Goes Round My Head, a history and commentary about Australian pop music 1964-1969.

Those dates pretty much coincide with my teenage years, so I guess I'm part of the core target audience, those who will easily spot the Easybeats reference in the title. David is also a friend of my site, PopArchives.com.au, and he has given me some nice leads from time to time.

(It was David who finally solved the mystery of The Bowery Boys' original song Just A Poor Boy, long misattributed to Graham Gouldman. I speculated about its writer credits for years; David just went ahead and contacted Kevin Godley, who checked with Gouldman. No more mystery: the story is here.)

Accustomed to having my research - even my words - circulated online without credit, I am full of admiration for David's scholarly approach. His work is properly footnoted, he sources his quotes, and he has cited me and my site in several places, something I find refreshing in this era of cut-and-paste.

So, having declared my slight connection with the author, I can go ahead and recommend this work, which covers just about every artist, famous or obscure, that you'll want to look up in the comprehensive index. (Blimey, even Horsham's Sonamatics get a guernsey!)

It's not all dry facts, as David has managed to get eyewitness accounts from many participants themselves. Quoting Garry Spry, David calls these first-hand sources "the horse's mouth", by contrast with the "the horse's arse". (I am mentioned amongst the latter, but I am in some distinguished company!)

David's commentary is also enriched by his own knowledge of music, a pay-off from his years as a musician. As a non-musician, I often struggle to find the right words to conjure up a song, but he doesn't seem to have this problem. We have both written about The Black Diamonds' See The Way
, for example, but David's insights go beyond those of a mere fan like myself.

David has published The Music Goes Round My Head independently, in a limited edition of 1000, with half the proceeds going to Support Act, the charitable foundation for Australian musicians.

I hope, though, that it will eventually attract mainstream distribution, as it will become an indispensable source for this era in Australian pop music. If that happens, no redesign will be needed, as this is a professionally presented work, generously illustrated on every page.

In the meantime, you can order through RoundMyHead.com, 394 pages, $40:00 + handling. Highly recommended, obviously.

Listen to Red Symons and David Johnston chatting about "The Music Goes Round My Head" on 774 ABC Melbourne this week: link.


Rob Young said...

I have only read the first few chapters and I can already say, ditto to your recommendation. It is an excellent piece of research.

Lyn Nuttall said...

Rob, have you browsed my main website? www.poparchives.com.au

Rob Young said...

Yes I have, I probably have a lot of comments. :-)

I need to spend more time there.

Wilthomer said...

Looks like I need to track this down! What I know about the 60's Aussie scene I can fit in a paper cup, so this looks like the book for me!

Lyn Nuttall said...

Tell you what, there's a bunch of stuff in that book that I never knew about!