Go-Betweens thread

Surprised there was no thread for the greatest band IMO - (well my feeble search skills could not find one anyway)

Celebrate this great band and their music!

They came to mind today on the anniversary of Grant’s passing, and this touching tribute from Rob on his Facebook -

"Greetings on May 6.

Grant McLennan passed away fifteen years ago today. It’s a fair stretch of time now or feels like that this morning as I take coffee and think on him.

He still shapes me. He’s still in my head. Not so much in the day to day stuff, bit a deeper connection that runs through my thinking and artistic decisions. I can’t shake him and don’t want too. You can’t lose 31 years of friendship, especially when half of it is spent working together in music, the other half spent laughing, planning, coping with lives lived around music.

I met him at 18, he was 17. That seems impossibly young now, and just the right age to meet someone of importance. What dawned on me then, and has stayed with me right up to this minute, is that we complimented each other. And both of us were up for adventure, no set plans, ready to push the boat far out from shore. You don’t encounter many people like that, and we were lucky to be in teenage time when you’re up for acting out every crazy impulse. From that meeting, we talked wildly for two and a half years - the first phase of The Go-Betweens in place before we played a note.

From then on I can trace our time together in many ways, the best is by songs. Sitting, writing ‘Your Turn, My Turn’ together in Spring Hill. Him playing me the bones of ‘Cattle And Cane’ in Ladbroke Grove. Hearing his guitar lines on ‘Spring Rain’. Him playing me the cascading opening chords of ‘Love Goes On’ in sunny Sydney. Me playing him ‘Darlinghurst Nights’ in New Farm, his head bowed listening. And so many moments more.

So if you have the time and inclination to celebrate Grant today, that would be wonderful. Light a candle - he loved that light. Pour yourself a good glass of red wine, or be bold and make that spirit concoction you’ve always dared yourself to mix. He’d like that. Any tiny extravagance will do .Read a poem - the sadder the better. Buy a book in a bookshop if you can, he had walls of them and treated them as the most precious thing he had. Iced Champagne, Oysters. Open a window, play Dylan’s ‘I Want You’, anything by The Monkees or from the first four Orange Juice singles, and if you look out you’ll see him there. Ghostly in the air, a twisted-lipped smile on his lips in silent appreciation.

Fond Regards



There aren’t many bands I can think of where such a profound, singular, true reflection of being a human came from a pair of writers rather than just one. Husker Du maybe. Consistently overlooked. Who has been longer and more consistently overlooked?


They deserve lots of love. They obviously do have many adoring fans but I feel like they were a secret kept from me, I don’t recall seeing anything about them in the music press when I was growing up (about 10 years after the split), never heard them on the radio, had no friends into them, didn’t even see their albums in shops. I was born a generation late to see them at their peak but bands of the same era, The Smiths, Pixies, R.E.M, The Cure formed the bedrock of my taste and the Go Betweens are as good as any of them. For me Amanda joining is when everything stepped up, she really enriched their sound, Liberty Belle - Tallulah - 16 Lovers Lane is a perfect run of albums.

Feels right to post a Grant song and this is a special performance, there’s some really sweet, earnest words at the end with the host

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Timely to share this episode of Classic Australian Albums for 16 Lovers Lane

Watch it all - but the bit that gets me, especially today, is from about the 23mins Mark. Rob is talking about the writing of Clouds. That is then followed by Grant doing a version of it - gets me right in the feels every time

Miss you Grant!


Yeah great band. We should check the local record shop for an album actually (we have their stuff on CD).

The Goon Sax is also worth a listen.

Saw Robert Forster live in London in about 2016 and he was really great, lots of good stage patter.


They’re one of the most underrated and unfortunately perhaps unheard of bands I know. I’ve asked Australians that I’ve worked with over the years if they’ve heard of them and maybe only 20% have.

I saw The Go-Betweens about four times when they reformed. Always great.

Rachel Worth was a brilliant album to comeback on. 16 Lovers Lane is always my go to album by them and don’t think I could ever get bored of listening to Clouds.

Don’t know if the time @1101010 saw Robert Forster was at The Bush Hall but I went to his gig there around that time and got an album signed, said a quick hello and a handshake at the merchandise desk.
He asked me my name, thanked me for coming and what I thought of his set.

Cheesy to say but they guy is a proper gentleman and made a brilliant band even better for me.

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One of my all time favourite bands and one I go back to again and again. I’ve always thought the dynamic must have been interesting. They were Robert’s band from the start and he only persuaded Grant to join because he liked him and thought he was cool. At the time Grant apparently had little or no interest in music, he couldn’t play an instrument, didn’t sing and had never written a song, but he learnt enough bass to get along and he gave it a go.

Grant wrote a couple of so-so songs for the first album but then, according to legend, picked up Nick Cave’s guitar after Cave had passed out on heroin and wrote one of the perfect songs ever written, literally one of the first four or five songs he’d ever written. How must that have felt for Forster?

Also, a word for Lindy Morrison, whose drumming on Cattle and Cane (and elsewhere) is seriously underrated.


I bought the box sets when they came out (which are wonderful) and received one of grants books!

Was quite interested to read Tracy thorns book on Lindy but I read a review and apparently it gives Robert a bit of a kicking over romanticising his relationship with Grant so I may just skip that and leave the memories as they are


I’m sure Tracey’s thoughts on Robert are heavily influenced by Lindy. Lindy was not remotely impressed by the manner in which Robert and Grant ended the band.

My favourite Grant song is ‘Apology Accepted’, although, i’m not to keen on the studio version. Here is an excellent live version:

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Oh lucky you, I bought the yellow one, didn’t get a book though, must have been too slow. Did Grant write anything in the cover?

I’m interested in Tracy’s book. It seems the main reason for the split, besides 16 Lane not being the success they needed, was because Robert and Grant didn’t want to be in a band with Lindy any more. I like Lindy a great deal and this is probably going to be the closest we get to her point of view in print so I’d like to read it.

Right Here is worth a watch if anyone’s not seen it, it’s quite beautiful at times

Yeah Bush Hall so the same gig I’d imagine!

That whole live album is brilliant!

I even like the version of Cut It Out on there

Yeah, i really enjoyed ‘Right Here’. The clip of John Willsteed starting to cry at the thought of just being involved with the recording of a song as beautiful as ‘Dive For Your Memory’ is lovely.

I know that Lindy and Grant didn’t get on at all.

Don’t you love it when one of your favourite bands covers another one of your favourite bands?

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No, the bookmark is signed. There’s some random squiggles and highlights on some of the pages in the book, but who knows who put them there!

That was surprising, the impression I had of him was that Wilsteed was never particularly bothered about being in the band in the first place, didn’t particularly care for the music, it was just something to do. Obviously wrong.

With apologies to The Bad Seeds, Australia’s greatest band.

‘Bachelor Kisses’ still floors me every time.

Here’s a wonderfully fragile and imperfect version from “the lads” <3


Full show for those who want it: The Go-Betweens - The Acoustic Stories (August 7, 2005) - YouTube


16 Lovers Lane is a masterpiece. Ai-Ai-Ai’d dive for your mem’mry