Monday, 8 May 2006

Grant McLennan 1958-2006

I was shocked this morning to hear of the death of Go-Betweens’ singer Grant McLennan at the age of only 48.

I posted only a few weeks ago about The Go-Betweens and how good a songwriting team McLennan and Robert Forster were. I saw them play twice, the first time in May 1999 a decade after The Go-Betweens had broken up. They played as a duo doing Go-Betweens songs and stuff from their solo careers. It was an outstanding show and I remember us patting Robert Forster on the back as they made their way through the crowd to go back for another encore. That tour led to them deciding to reform the band.

The last time I saw them play was only a year ago at the Renfrew Ferry. They treated the show as a homecoming, as they had been based in Glasgow briefly at the beginning of their career when they were signed with Postcard Records.

They both casually chatted with the crowd like old pals, as they ran through their back catalogue. I remember McLennan dedicating The Devil’s Eye to Edwyn Collins, who at the time was seriously ill.

I think The Go-Betweens were unique in being one of the few bands who actually got better after reforming. Their last few albums produced some of their finest work.

Their recent DVD That Striped Sunlight Sound gives a real insight into their song writing abilities as they discuss their career and play songs on two acoustic guitars. It highlights the competitive rivalry that he enjoyed with Forster. A rivalry that made them both better songwriters and contributed to what a great band The Go-Betweens were.

His tragic death brings to an end one of the finest song writing duos of the last 25 years.

This links to a tribute to him on the Lo-Max Records website, where they also print the lyrics to one of his best songs, Cattle and Cane.

There’s a number of tributes on the Go-Betweens messageboard including several from Glasgow including Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake & Gerry Love, BMX Bandits' Duglas T Stewart and former footballer Pat Nevin. This links to a photoset of a show they did at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh last year. There are also tributes on the TFC messageboard.

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