17 December 2009

Billy Thorpe’s Time on Earth

by Jason Walker

Allen & Unwin. Australian, Biographical, Adult Non-Fiction. Paperback rrp $35.00

Guest Reviewer – Ian Brown

For Australian music fans, this biography of Billy Thorpe is a very timely look at his life in view of his unexpected death at the age of 60 two years ago. Billy’s career spanned an amazing five decades and Billy Thorpe’s Time on Earth covers almost the entire history of Australian rock music.

The book documents his life and career from his early days as a ten-year-old singing and playing guitar at local school and church dances in Brisbane to his move to Sydney’s Kings Cross in the early sixties where he formed the initial Aztecs. It then progresses through to the late sixties in Melbourne and the second and most popular line-up of the Aztecs which featured Lobby Lloyd for a while, and was claimed to be the loudest band in the country.

Billy’s career continues to soar during the seventies and the famous Sunbury rock festivals. The biography discusses his controversial decision to live in the USA for 20 years and follows his return to Australia and involvement in the Long Way to the Top series of concerts.

This is an excellent book, not just for fans of Billy Thorpe, but for anyone with an interest in the history of Australian music. It gives insight into Thorpe’s private life and the role of the people who were involved in his career, which was a who’s who in the Australian music industry at the time.

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