I recall a bigger brighter world
A world of books
And silent times in thought
And then the railroad
The railroad takes him home
Through fields of cattle
Through fields of cane
I first learned about The Go-Betweens when I was in film school in the mid-90s. A fellow student introduced me to them and, as I think back on it, discovering The Go-Betweens during that time was entirely appropriate. That band wrote some of the most cinematic pop songs I’ve ever heard.
They were a band you could love: They had that classic, two-songwriter Lennon/McCartney dynamic in Grant McLennan and Robert Forster; Lindy Morrison, their drummer, is my all-time favorite female rock n’ roll drummer; and, like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, they managed to produce a phenomenal break-up record (16 Lovers Lane) when two relationships within the band dissolved.
I met Grant McLennan once, briefly, after a show in New York in support of his solo masterpiece, Horsebreaker Star. Those moments when you tell someone how much their art has inspired you never come off quite like you mean them to, so I just said hello and that I enjoyed the show.
Today a friend sent me the news Grant McLennan died on Saturday. He died in his sleep; he was 48. I imagine that in most of the world McLennan’s death will pass in the press without a blip. But for those that knew his music, he will be missed.