Jimmy Barnes, the famous Australian singer and songwriter, has entertained audiences with his songs and signature voice ever since he stepped into the music scene as a lead vocalist of Cold Chisel in 1973.
However, behind that iconic voice lay the pain of a tormented soul, a young boy whose childhood was spoiled by alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and the lack of a sense of security. Working Class Boy, the singer’s upcoming memoir, tells the harrowing tale of how Jimmy Barnes’s innocent childhood was lost amidst alcoholism and violence. The book reveals the other side of Jimmy Barnes which, until now, many people have not been aware of.
— 720 ABC Perth (@720perth) September 20, 2016
For many of his Australian fans, Jimmy Barnes is the epitome of success, having produced more chart-topping albums than any other Australian musician. However, at an emotional level, the legendary musician always viewed himself as a scared child who wished to run away from the hellish circumstances that he was brought up in. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the “Driving Wheels” singer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and spent his early childhood years in some of the toughest streets of the country, where brutality and alcohol were a way of life in society as well as within the confines of a family.
Jimmy Barnes’s upbringing was adversely affected when his family moved to Australia and his alcoholic father, who was also a semi-pro boxer, did not have sufficient resources to feed his family of eight. Realizing that her husband wouldn’t take responsibility for their family, Jimmy Barnes’s frustrated mother moved out with her second husband, thereby leaving the children hurt and abandoned. Eventually, when her children’s lives grew too miserable, the singer’s mother took them along to stay with her.
— QBD The Bookshop (@QBDTheBookshop) September 20, 2016
The trauma of his childhood pain continued to haunt him even after he became a rock star, with Jimmy Barnes’s mental turmoil enabling him to produce popular soul classics that can be heard on his albums like Soul Deep, Soul Deeper, The Rhythm and the Blues, and the most recent Soul Searchin’.
To escape his bitter self, the singer started to resort to drugs and alcoholism, and to add to his misery, Jimmy Barnes was also hit by a financial loss which not only made him sell his cars and house but which also caused him to relocate to Europe. His stint in a rehabilitation center in addition to emergency heart surgery shook the rock star out of his descent, forcing him to find the courage and strength to pull himself out of the quicksand of his mental anguish.
However, his efforts and even his hospitalization proved futile, with the rock star finding it challenging to relieve himself from his inner turmoil. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Jimmy Barnes revealed how difficult it was to pull himself out of the state of mind that had long tormented him.
“I could run from [my past] as long as I kept running. But the older you get, the more things start nipping at your heels. I realized I couldn’t outrun my demons.”
Life is looking brighter for the rock star today, starting with the realization that the only way to exorcise his persistent negative emotions was to pour out the memories of his debilitating childhood experiences and share it with the world in the form of his memoir, Working Class Boy. According to the Daily Telegraph, Jimmy Barnes has honestly reflected on his childhood in the book, with the aim of improving the lives of other children by narrating each and every painful event of his troubled past.
Happy 7th birthday to my beautiful grand daughter Ruby. I love you to the moon and back pic.twitter.com/77ppk1ACkA
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) September 18, 2016
Coinciding with the release of his book, Jimmy Barnes has also planned to embark on a spoken word tour. Titled Working Class Boy: An Evening of Stories and Songs, the singer’s spoken word tour will enable audiences to hear their favorite rock star narrate stories about his childhood days in Glasgow and Adelaide.
Additionally, a part of the ticket sales will be directed to fund the Luke Batty Foundation, supporting Rosie Batty’s campaign to curb domestic violence. According to News Australia, the “Stone Cold” singer spoke about the refreshing sense of fulfillment and peace he has felt ever since he has released his anguish in the form of his memoir.
“I spent most of my life running from my childhood and now it seems like my time to face it. So this is the story of a lifetime spent running away. I’m not running anymore.”
[Featured Image by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images]