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Jo Butler 
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Fortunate Son: The Unlikely Rise of Keith Urban

Read the Sydney Morning Heralds feature story >

Release Date:

Jan 2009

The unauthorised biography of Australia's most successful country music star, Keith Urban.

Keith Urban - suburban loner, gifted guitarist, drug addict, platinum-plated superstar - has squeezed a lot of living into his 44 years. He now ranks with Kylie Minogue, INXS, Silverchair and Savage Garden as one of the country's biggest musical exports of the past 20 years. Domestically, his star has risen off the back of the reality TV sensation The Voice and his greatest hits album, The Story So Far, debuted at #1 on the ARIA album chart.

Fortunate Son: The Unlikely Rise of Keith Urban, the first biography of this movie-star-handsome country hero, tells the unlikely story of how Urban - who was born in New Zealand in 1967 but raised in Queensland - followed and eventually fulfilled his dream of selling country music back to the Americans, the people who created it in the first place. 

In an age when a crew of crack Nashville songwriters generate most of the hit songs recorded in Music City, Urban is an anomaly: actually writing, or at least co-writing, most of his material. Many feel he's watered down his rootsy take on country music to please the masses, but Urban's success is undeniable: to date he's sold millions and millions albums, has scored fourteen US Number One singles and typically sells out his stadium-sized shows in minutes.  

 His very public relationship with 'our' Nicole Kidman, whom he married in an A-list affair in June 2006, has earned Urban a totally new audience, as gossip mags across the planet chart the 'Kurbans' every move. Frank and authoritative, and based upon extensive interviews with friends, foes and Urban insiders, Fortunate SonThe Unlikely Rise of Keith Urban reveals how Keith Urban lived out his childhood dream - and the price he's had to pay to reach the top of the music business.

High Voltage is the first biography to focus exclusively on Angus. It tells of his remarkable rise from working-class Glasgow and Sydney to the biggest stages in the world. The youngest of eight kids, Angus always seemed destined for a life in music, and it was his passion and determination that saw AC/DC become hard rock’s greatest act. Over the years, Angus has endured the devastating death of iconic vocalist Bon Scott, the forced retirement of his brother in arms, Malcolm Young, and more recently the loss from the band of singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd. Yet somehow the little guitar maestro has kept AC/DC not just on the rails, but at the top of the rock pile. Must be those big balls . . .

I launched the book at the Thirroul Writers Festival on August 25 and spoke with AC/DC photographer Philip Morris at Rockdale Library on September 5. You can read an extract of High Voltage here and also read a review from the Daily Review and from Sydney's Daily Telegraph. I'm being interviewed here on Channel 9's Today Extra. I spoke with Nick Bennett at Talking Lifestyle about High Voltage, Bern Young at ABC Gold Coast and Andrew O'Keefe at Weekend Sunrise. Here's a piece I wrote about Angus for the Guardian. High Voltage also topped the independent publisher bestseller list on its week of release — it's a #1!
Here are details for the aduio book edition of High Voltage.