Tributes flood in for Go-Betweens star

Grant McLennan's death leads to outpouring of emotion

Tributes have been flooding in for The Go-Betweens‘ singer Grant McLennan, who died suddenly on Saturday (May 6) aged 48.

The star passed away in his sleep at his Brisbane home after complaining of feeling ill while preparing for a house party.

Now the messageboard on the band’s website go-betweens.net has been filled with messages from fans and contemporaries.

Edwyn Collins and his wife Grace wrote: “Sending our love and prayers for strength to Grant‘s family, to dear Robert and all The Go-Betweens family. Thinking of you all tonight.”

Teenage Fanclub frontman Norman Blake said: “It’s terrible news. I am absolutely shocked. Grant was a wonderful person. Fantastic songwriter. Some of you may know that we were friendly with The Go-Betweens, having played a number of shows with them over the years.

“They were fantastic. Great music, lovely people. On the last night of the last tour that we did with them, only last year, Grant prepared us the legendary “go between” cocktail, basically taking whatever alcohol was near to hand, and mixing it together (that’s how it appeared to me anyway) He was a sweetheart, a lovely, lovely guy. Always bright and engaging. Absolutely the life and soul of the party.

“I’ll be playing his music tonight, and thinking fondly of him and his beautiful smile. He will be sadly missed. One of my heroes. Love you Grant.”

And ex soccer star and indie rock fanatic Pat Nevin added: “It is dreadful news that Grant has gone. Quite simply my favourite songwriter and also a lovely man too. I was honoured to DJ with him in Edinburgh a while back and even though he was exhausted from the tour schedule he made such an effort with everyone. He and his genius will be sorely missed.”

The Go-Betweens were formed by McLennan and co-frontman Robert Forster while attending university in Brisbane during the 1970s. They released six acclaimed albums in the Eighties, before splitting up in 1989.

After both going solo in the Nineties, McLennan and Forster reformed The Go-Betweens in 2000. They released three more LPs, the last of which was ‘Oceans Apart’, which came out in 2005 and was widely regarded as one of the band’s best records.

The Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) recently voted one of McLennan‘s best-loved tunes, ‘Cattle And Cane’ (from the 1983 album ‘Before Hollywood’), as one of the 10 greatest Australian songs of all time. Other favourites of his included ‘Bachelor Kisses’, ‘Bye Bye Pride’ and ‘Streets Of Your Town’.

Paying tribute to his friend and colleague, Forster told the Australian News that “The last six months was the happiest I had ever known him.”

He added: “He was very happy in his private life and had just written an amazing bunch of songs. He was especially pleased with how well the last album had done. That had put a real spring in his step.”

Forster also confirmed that with McLennan‘s death the band was over.

There will be a speech about McLennan in the Australian Parliament Tuesday (May 8) about his exceptional contribution to Australian arts. His funeral will be at the Cathedral in Queensland on Friday (May 8).