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Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes book review

"drank, smoked and snorted”

Cover art by Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes

By his own admission, Jimmy Barnes “drank, smoked and snorted” his way through a lot of his life. Most is laid bare in this, his second volume of memoirs that follows on from 2016’s Working Class Boy, which brutally documents his broken, poverty-stricken childhood in Glasgow and Adelaide, forming the man we read about here.

Working Class Boy picks up with Barnes fronting Cold Chisel, the Aussie band with which he became famous. It’s gritty, often brutal yet wholly compelling. Life on the road in Australia in the 70s and 80s was tough, not helped by the drink, the drugs, the fights and the sex which went hand in hand with it.

As solo fame beckons, the excess heightens – Barnes mistaking a line of heroin for cocaine is particularly harrowing – and naturally everything falls apart. Fortunately redemption is at hand.

An unputdownable memoir from a man who walks it like he talks it.

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.