THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES by Richard Clapton
First Published 2014. Allen and Unwin publishers.
Available in paperback and ebook formats
Review by Suzanne Bunker
The book opens with Richard Clapton’s first rock stardom experience – meeting and spending time with the Rolling Stones when he was 16 years of age. This was the moment that influenced Richard to become a rock star and so starts the story of Richard Clapton, Australian rock musician.
I must admit that I didn’t know a lot about Richard Clapton before reading this book. I was familiar with his hits and was impressed with his performance on the two occasions I have seen him perform which, incidentally, have been just in the last six years so I imagine that they were possibly different performances to those he reminisces about in this book. Now, having read this well written memoir, I not only know more about Clapton and his rise to stardom, but find myself keen to go back and listen to his music with a better idea of the inspiration behind songs such as 'Girls on the Avenue' and 'I Am An Island', as well as a better understanding of the hard work and dedication it took to produce the music.
Clapton’s memoirs start in the late 60’s when he met the Rolling Stones and finish in the 90’s; the end of the golden era of Australian Rock. Clapton frankly tells his story of travelling the world, of writing, of partying and recording; all driven by his passion for music. It is quite evident from this memoir that Clapton is passionate about music. It is also quite evident that he enjoyed his fair share of the 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll' lifestyle. He survived drugs and alcohol wasted nights. He survived arrests, breakups with lovers, disillusionments with the Australian music industry, fights and lack of money. He partied and recorded with some of Australia’s greatest music legends including Jimmy Barnes, Michael Hutchence, and MMM’s Rod Muir.
The book has a strong focus on the parties and shenanigans of Clapton and others, as opposed to the long hours spent perfecting a sound in the studio or lyrics in a notebook. But, let’s face it, it’s the parties and shenanigans that make for an interesting story and read and that is exactly what this book is. A good story and read. If you are a fan of Clapton’s or simply a fan of the golden era of Australian rock music, you will enjoy The Best Years of Our Lives by Richard Clapton.