Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music, 1960-85 – David Nichols
In Dig, David Nichols tells the story of Australian rock and pop music over a crucial quarter century from 1960 to 1985 - formative years in which the nation cast off its colonial cultural shackles and took on the world.
Generously illustrated and scrupulously researched, Dig combines scholarly accuracy (endnotes, index) with populist flair. Nichols is an unfailingily witty and engaging guide, surveying the fertile and varied landscape of Australian popular music in seven broad historical chapters, interspersed with shorter chapters on some of the more significant figures of each period. The result is a compelling portrait of a music scene that evolves in dynamic interaction with those in the United States and the UK, yet has always retained a strong sense of its own identity and continues to deliver new stars – and cult heroes – to a worldwide audience.
Dig is a unique achievement. The few general histories to date have been highlight reels, heavy on illustration and short on detail. And while there have been many excellent books on individual artists, scenes and periods, and a couple of first-rate encylopedias, there’s never been a book that told the whole story of the irresistible growth and sweep of a national music culture. Until now . . .
With striking cover art by Ben Montero, Dig is the authoritative account of Australian popular music’s rise to world prominence that fans have been waiting for, and a must read for anyone with more than a passing interest in rock ’n’ roll. Those whose knowledge of Australian music doesn’t extend far past such star names as the Easybeats, AC/DC, Little River Band, and Nick Cave will discover a wealth of music beyond those acts; while even those familiar with the work of the Missing Links, Pip Proud, Radio Birdman, and the Moodists will learn much about the scenes and connections that produced these bands and dozens more.