I was introduced to the music of Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel many years ago by Karen who had lived in Sydney for 25 years so was used to seeing Jimmy and Cold Chisel on a regularly basis in venues such as “Centenial Park” and the “Sydney Entertainment Center”, she was also used to hearing them on the radio regularly as throughout the Eighties they were probably at there peak, at the end of the eighties she relocated to the UK.
I spent most of my teenage years listening to soul music and was not into rock music in any way at all so when I asked Karen who she liked musically and she said “Jimmy Barnes” like many others outside Oz I said I had never heard of him, she said that knowing my taste in music I would probably not like him.
I was given a tape of both JB and Chisel songs and I put it into my car to listen to on the way to work later that day. It takes me about 30 minutes to get to work and that was how long it took me to get completely hooked on this raw energy being belted out by JB.
It is at this point I will probably upset one or two out there because for me Jimmy Barnes is not a rock singer but a soul singer, let me explain, as I have said earlier I was brought up on soul / blues music with my main influences being Al Green, Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin to name but a few, if you have ever heard a true soul singer then you will know that he / she is singing from somewhere deep inside and it is his / her way of expressing what is going on inside them, that is Jimmy Barnes when he is belting out one of his many classic tracks, this was confirmed even more the very first time I saw him play live in Manchester and that moment had a very profound effect on me that changed my life forever. One of my all time favorites is “Stone Cold” , the raw power he puts into that track time after time, year after year is unbelievable, I truly believe it means as much to Jimmy now as it did the very first time he sang it.