Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens died a couple of days ago, in his sleep.
If you’ve ever had the slightest inclination to check out the Go-Betweens but maybe never quite got around to it – go on, do it now. Start with last year’s Ocean’s Apart – the best record ever made by a band almost three decades old – and work your way through the albums from there. You can’t go far wrong, whatever you choose.
You’ll find Grant’s songs alongside his bandmate Robert Forster’s. Alternating, taking turns, impressing each other, outdoing one another. Just like they did on stage at the Mercury Lounge (and countless other venues) last summer. Robert stole the show (as Robert was born to do) but Grant – Grant simply sang his songs and played his guitar and made every single person in that crowd feel glad to be there, glad to be alive. They played for two hours, but could have played for six – the quality of the songs wouldn’t have dropped even slightly.
I remember hearing Simon Bates play “Streets of Your Town” on Radio 1 in 1988. An extraordinary thing, at the time. Of course, it didn’t help. The single stalled just outside the Top 40, no matter how many times they re-released it. Couldn’t we make it a hit now, for Grant? It still sounds like summer, after all these years.