Rockbrat Wonder: About the relevance of Glenn A Baker

Glenn A busily sorting his albums: "Alphabetically in order please."

I ask you, is there any figure in the Australian music industry more nauseating then Glen A Baker ? His relevance nowadays is negligible. Whenever ANY Australian musician of note passes away, without fail, you will hear Baker’s effervescent tones enthusiastically singing the praises of the recently deceased and exalting the musical claims of that person as only he can do. What, you mean there’s no other knowledgeable rock person in this country?  Sheesh. I’d hate to see him when he’s coming down off his Prozac. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture. With the recent passing of Men At Work’s Greg Ham, sure enough, there he was on the radio with his annoyingly chirpy tone telling all the youngun’s just how relevant Men At Work were back in the early 80’s. Being a fan of straight-a-head Oz rock of the Angels/Tatts variety, at that time I endured the somewhat quirky pop sounds of Men At Work with a grain of salt. Flutes and rock n roll? No thanks. It may have worked in Nimbin in 1970 as you baked your own bread and dyed your own clothes, but by 1983, it wasn’t for me. The yanks bought it though. Faster than you can say ‘kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’, it shot straight to the top of the US charts. It was the perfect soundtrack to Australia’s winning of the Americas Cup in 83. And didn’t we celebrate. The people from the colony usurping the yanks on their own stage. Anyone would have thought that we’d become a global leader in the space race, but no, we’d beaten someone other than NZ in a yacht race. The irony being that in the US, the result probably hardly rated a mention. But here? Boy, the country went crazy. Looking back, it all kind of seemed a little ridiculous, but in 83, the world was still a pretty big place and Australia was a long way from anywhere. I digress. On the radio station I was listening to, one in the Aunty local radio category,  Glenn A made the point that Men At Work’s efforts to break America were pioneering, and with the exception of INXS and LRB, Men At Work were pioneers. What about Helen Reddy? Or Rick Springfield? Didn’t they have US chart success prior to Men At Work? Or how about ONJ whose ‘Have You Ever Been Mellow’ and ‘I Honestly Love You’ both went top 5 in the US. Baker conveniently omitted these artists. I remember going to a record fair in Auburn (mate) in Sydney in 1990 and Glenn A turned up. He had a little band of followers who pathetically followed him pied piper style as he flicked through the vinyl, hanging on to his every word as if he was Mick Jagger. Bizarre. Yes I dug Raven Records and yes I used to shop in Time Warp, but that’s a lifetime ago. Baker has been an opportunist. According to Wikipedia, he is a “journalist, commentator, and broadcaster well known in Australia for his vast knowledge of Rock music. He has written books and magazine articles on rock music and travel, interviewed celebrities, managed bands such as Ol’ 55” I don’t recall OL55 breaking into the States (or Punkz or Cheek for that matter). ONJ ALSO went top 5 in both Australia AND the US in 1983, the same year as Men At Work, with a tune that I still think is one of her best, yet gets looked over when people think of her signature tunes. I’m talking about ‘Twist Of Fate’ , the main tune from the ‘Two of a Kind’ theme which she starred in with Tom Cruise’s mate Travolta. Here it is for you to enjoy. As for you giggling Glenn A? Take a rest pal.

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