Best of Baker: Music

Glenn A. Baker

Few names in Australian music command so much respect as that of Glenn A Baker. Writer, Broadcaster, Manager, Promoter, Composer, Producer – his list of contributions to the industry is endless. Baker was the Australian Editor of international music bible, Billboard, for over two decades and was crowned BBC Rock Brain of the Universe three times over in the 80s. More than 35 years after his love affair with the Australian music industry began, Baker’s writings have appeared in hundreds of magazines and newspapers and his opinions and insight on anything music related continue to be highly sought after by the media and the music industry, regularly appearing on a wide array radio and TV program and as a veteran Qantas in-flight presenter.

Now, Baker’s finest writings from his illustrious career as a music aficionado and commentator have been gathered together in The Best of Glenn A Baker: Music. Published simultaneously with Best Of Baker: Travel – and most likely making history in the process – this is Glenn’s own ‘Greatest Hits’ collection – drawn from features which have appeared over the past 32 years in leading magazines and newspapers (both in Australia and around the world), as album, CD and DVD liner notes, and as libretto texts in the programmes of major stage productions.

Canvassing decades of the global rock industry, Baker gives us a backstage pass to David Bowie’s 2003 Reality World tour and an African date on the Rolling Stones’ 1995 Voodoo Lounge jaunt, takes us inside the Beatles sessions at Abbey Road and tracks the origins of songs as diverse as A Whiter Shade of Pale and A Pub With No Beer. His wide sweep within these covers hurls us into an orbit with Ray Charles, the Who, Monkees, Easybeats, Billy Thorpe, AC/DC, Joe Cocker, Abba, Carole King, Phil Spector, Cold Chisel, Madonna, Kasey Chambers, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Hutchence and the Finns, among many, many others. We go to Moscow with John Farnham and Peter Gabriel, East Timor with Yothu Yindi, New York with the Wiggles, and even to the movies with Michael Jackson on his wedding day!

A truly unique character, Baker’s face, voice and hat are well known to anyone who knows their music ... or wants to. His essays are full of insight and information, a welcome good-humoured irreverence and a lifelong commitment to the sounds that move us - showcasing a rare knack for being able to place popular music and its practitioners into perspective for even casual consumers and observers. As REM guitarist Peter Buck puts it: “Always trenchant and well researched, Glenn’s writing is frequently more entertaining than the music he writes about.”

First published Australia 1 August 2010.

Includes chapter ABBA and Australia.

Best of Baker: Music

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