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Jimmy Barnes

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Blue Christmas

- Jimmy Barnes

25-11-2022

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Jimmy Barnes is an unwavering pillar of Australian rock, both as former lead vocalist with pub rock favorites Cold Chisel (1978-1984) and as a solo singer-songwriter in his own right. Born James Dixon Swan on April 28, 1956 in Glasgow, Scotland, Jimmy Barnes moved to Adelaide, Australia with his family aged five, later settling in Elizabeth. For his first foray into working life, he took an apprentice at a foundry with the South Australian Railways but felt drawn to a musical vocation, encouraged by his brother Swanee who was playing drums with Bon Scott's former band Fraternity at the time. He briefly joined the Fraternity clan in 1973 before sowing the rockier seeds of Cold Chisel with organist and songwriter Don Walker, guitarist Ian Moss, drummer Steve Prestwich and bassist Les Kaczmarek, with whom he formed the band Orange. Changing their name in 1974, the band known as Cold Chisel was born and Jimmy Barnes took up his position as frontman with verve. The celebrated rockers ruled the roost for a decade before disbanding in 1983, with Jimmy Barnes going solo less than a month after the band completed their Last Stand tour in December 1983. He christened the start of his career with his August 1984 single "No Second Prize," followed hot on the heels by his debut album Bodyswerve, in which he channeled his love of soul music with a cover of "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Jimmy Barnes turned in a glittering stream of albums, including 1985's For the Working Class Man and 1991's first full collection of soul covers, Soul Deep; his sixth consecutive Australian Number 1 album. Fusing blues, soul and R&B to a guitar-driven rock sound, Jimmy Barnes dabbled in folk-rock (1993's Flesh and Wood), grunge (1993's Heat) and even an album of family duets (2005's Double Happiness), forging a reputation as a charismatic presence – notching up various television appearances during his career – with a full-bodied voice. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on 23 October 2005 for his solo work and in 2009 made history with the release of his thirteenth studio album The Rhythm and the Blues, his ninth Australian Number 1 album, and the most Number 1 albums for any Australian artist to date. In 2018, Jimmy Barnes's memoir, Working Class Boy, was adapted into a feature film by Universal Pictures. The following year he released his 18th studio album, My Criminal Record, with his 19th studio album Flesh and Blood arriving in 2021.