Jimmy Barnes was born April, 28 1956 in Glasgow, Scotland. His original name was ‘James Dixon Swan’ and his father was a featherweight boxing champion in Glasgow. In 1961/62 his family moved to Australia. After playing in a school band ( ‘Orange’) he replaced Bon Scott (who joined AC/DC) as lead vocalist in the band Fraternity.
Then, aged 16 and a half, he joined Cold Chisel in 1973. First they played the pubs of Adelaide, then they played the pubs of Australia and finally they got a record contract in 1976. Now, Cold Chisel are Australian history. One of the best bands Australia ever had. They split up in 1983 because they thought they weren´t playing good music anymore and they didn´t want to rip their fans off with another album. Can you imagine the Rolling Stones splitting up on the peak of their success and telling their fans “Sorry, folks, we´re to bad for you” ??? And I´d say they were playing damn good! Anyway, Jimmy started his solo career and his first album ‘Bodyswerve’, produced by Mark Opitz, was published in 1984. It included the hit singles ‘No Second Price’ and ‘Daylight’ and went straight to number one of the Australian album chart. In 1985 Jimmy recorded a few new songs and recut some of the tracks from ‘Bodyswerve’ for his American debut ‘For The Working Class Man’.
The title track was used for Ron Howard´s movie ‘Gung Ho’, the album was mixed for American audience and recorded with American musicians. It sold very good in Australia (several times platinum, one of the biggest selling albums down under). In America it didn´t sell at all. In 1987 Jimmy recorded ‘Freight Train Heart’ and Australia loved it. America, well, maybe the managers of Jimmy´s American record lable were right. If you want to be a rockstar in America, you have to demolish the furniture of every motel you vistit, you have to fuck every groupie you see and you´ve got to beat up a journatist once in a while. And last but not least you´ve got to be nice to Mister Important and tell him that you´ve waited you´re whole life to meet him. What Jimmy did was absolutly wrong. He toured with his family, didn´t break anything in his motel rooms and told Mister Important that he doesn´t know him and that there was no reason for him to changethis fact.
Jimmy left his wild years behind when he left Chisel and married Jane Mahoney (he says she saved his life). He became a responsible family man and in his life was no place for such rockstar nonsense.
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