About Robert Forster


Robert Derwent Garth Forster is an Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and music critic. In December 1977 he co-founded an indie rock group, The Go-Betweens, with fellow musician, Grant McLennan. In 1980 Lindy Morrison joined the group on drums and backing vocals and by 1981 Forster and Morrison were also lovers. In 1988, "Streets of Your Town", co-written by McLennan and Forster, became the band's biggest chart hit in both Australia and the United Kingdom. The follow-up single, "Was There Anything I Could Do?", was a No. 16 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the United States. In December 1989, after recording six albums, The Go-Betweens disbanded. Forster and Morrison had separated as a couple earlier and Forster began his solo music career from 1990.


Forster's solo studio albums are Danger in the Past , Calling from a Country Phone , I Had a New York Girlfriend , Warm Nights , The Evangelist and Songs To Play . Allmusic's Stewart Mason described him, as having "a knack for crafty pop songs along with the brooding ballads he contributed to the Go-Betweens' albums, and his solo career has shown a healthy mix of the two styles". From 2000 to 2006, The Go-Betweens reformed and issued three more studio albums before Grant McLennan died on 6 May 2006, of a heart attack. In May 2001 "Cattle and Cane", from The Go-Between's Before Hollywood was selected by Australasian Performing Right Association as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. In 2008, 16 Lovers Lane was highlighted on Special Broadcasting Service TV's The Great Australian Albums series as a classic example of 1980s rock music. Forster began writing as a music critic in 2005 for national current affairs magazine The Monthly and a columnist for its sister publication The Saturday Paper in 2014. For his debut solo album, Danger in the Past, Forster was backed on vocals by Karin Bäumler of German pop group, Baby You Know. In the early 1990s Forster and Bäumler were married, the couple have two children.


Robert Derwent Garth Forster was born on 29 June 1957 and grew up in Brisbane. His father was a fitter and turner and his mother taught physical education.:77 He attended Brisbane Grammar School in Spring Hill where he started to learn guitar and wrote poetry.:78–9 In 1975 he formed The Mosquitoes with Stephen Hollingsworth and the following year he was in The Godots with Malcolm Kelly. In 1976 Forster met Grant McLennan in drama classes in his second year at the University of Queensland, they were both fans of Bob Dylan and the New York music scene.:79–80 Forster enjoyed music by Mott the Hoople, Patti Smith, Ry Cooder and The Velvet Underground. In December 1977 the pair co-founded an indie rock group, The Go-Betweens, with Forster on guitar and McLennan on bass guitar, and both as singer-songwriters. Later Forster also provided keyboards and McLennan took up guitar.


In May 1978 Forster's first recorded work was the group's debut single, "Lee Remick", which appeared in September. It was a paean to the Hollywood actress of the same name. Forster later recalled "I didn't have a girlfriend or any sort of romantic side to my life ... I wanted to write a love song. But who was I in love with? No-one. I had to find someone and I found Lee Remick". He also wrote the B-side, "Karen", as an ode to the university's library staff, "here was kindness in the library, then you walk out of the library into the harsh real world". Forster then wrote their second single, "People Say". According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, both singles were "sparsely produced, poorly played yet passionately performed folksy, post-punk pop songs. They were sunny, catchy and hopelessly romantic, earning the band immediate local and international acclaim".


In November 1979 The Go-Betweens relocated to London, they re-released their early material and followed with another single, "I Need Two Heads", also written by Forster. It peaked at No. 6 on the United Kingdom Independent Charts. The group remained in UK for almost a year but ran out of money and needed a drummer, so they returned to Brisbane. By November 1980 Lindy Morrison had joined the group on drums and backing vocals. By 1981 Forster and Morrison were also lovers, she later remembered "Robert never took part in any group discussions ... He would not stay in the house if there were other people present ... he and I would have cups of tea on the verandah and debate the place of politics in art".


As a member of The Go-Betweens he contributed to all their studio albums, Send Me a Lullaby , Before Hollywood , Spring Hill Fair , Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express , Tallulah and 16 Lovers Lane . Forster and McLennan wrote most of the tracks for the band's albums and alternated lead vocal duties. By December 1989 the group disbanded; Forster and Morrison had separated as a couple earlier and Forster began his solo music career from 1990. Back in 1982, The Go-Betweens' Forster, McLennan and Morrison had recorded, "After the Fireworks", as a collaboration with The Birthday Party's Nick Cave on vocals, Mick Harvey on piano and Rowland S. Howard on guitar. It was released that year as a single under the band name, Tuff Monks, on Au Go Go Records.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Robert Forster", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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