Richard Clapton as one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters, paved the way for subsequent generations of songwriters to write about the experience of being Australian.
He grew up in Sydney in the1960s before hopping a plane for London, and then later to Germany, where he wrote a first album, Prussian Blue (1973) which was one of the first major Australian “singer-songwriter” albums.
One of the most popular songs from Prussian Blue was I Wanna Be A Survivor. I doubt he imagined then, how true that message would turn out to be. His songs are still omni present on the radio to this day; his records charting the political landscape of the nation and the turbulent lives of two generations.
Like Americans Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen, Richard Clapton developed a sound based on melodic rock while his lyrics were poetic musings on his state of mind or the state of the nation.
By 1975, when he released his highly acclaimed, No.1 hit Girls On The Avenue, Clapton had set the themes he was to explore for the coming decades. Over the following years there were a string of hits including the perennial favourites: Capricorn Dancer, Deep Water, I Am An Island, and many more.
Richard mastered that most difficult of show business acts – the high wire that requires the balance of radio-friendly tunes and candid, from-the-heart, lyrics.
He was a mentor to the younger artists like Jimmy Barnes, INXS and Cold Chisel and in 1981 INXS had him produce their second album, Underneath the Colours, they remain firm friends to this day.
Since his first album in 1973,Richard has shown no signs of slowing down. He has released over 20 albums which have cumulatively sold over one million copies. He is the only rock artist to have received an Australia Council arts grant which enabled him to travel around the world writing new songs based on his experiences.
In 1999 he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and in2014, his first memoir “The Best Years of Our Lives” was published by Allen and Unwin. The book connected with people of all generations because it was not only a story of Clapton’s journey, but it also documented the story of the lives of thousands of fans who had travelled the same road. Young people –fascinated by how it was “back in the day” also became a new generation of fans. The book continues to flourish, resonating with so many people in so many ways.
Ina career that now spans over 40 years Richard hasn’t passed through life in a luxurious rock star bubble. He has battled and succeeded at every step of the way and come through it intact as one of the world’s most cherished singer/songwriters with his legions of fans. He is a survivor, with a tale to tell.