Up From Down Under: How Australian Music Changed the World.
From the July 18 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, where Tragedy was selected as their Pick of the Week:
'My brother was bass guitarist for Normie Rowe when Barry Gibb played a demo of the Gibbs' latest recording at rehearsals one afternoon in Sydney. It was Spicks and Specks, the single that, after a string of flops in Oz launched the Bee Gees. Jeff Apter's record of their rise, fall and rise really gets you in. Especially those heady days in Britain in 1967 when they turned out a string of hits. But there is deep sadness in the tale too, for when they sang Tragedy they couldn't have known that was in store with the untimely death of Maurice, younger brother Andy and, more recently, Robin. Apter brings the story up to the moment, Barry Gibb, after an extended time channel surfing on his couch, rousing himself to do the Mythology tour.’ —Steven Carroll
Tragedy was published in the UK
and North America by Jawbone Press in June 2016 and a new, smaller format edition of the book was published in Australia in March 2018. You can hear me speaking about the book with radio station 4KQ.
This is a book I'd been hoping to write for years, a big, broad panorama of what it takes to reach the top of the pile — and the challenges that come with trying to stay there. But in no way is it meant to be definitive. Instead, I've gravitated to the stories that I think are classic case studies in riding the pop culture rollercoaster. I've written about acts that I believe to be trailblazers, such as the Little River Band, Air Supply, Men at Work and Keith Urban. And Gotye, in more recent times.Peter Allen may not have sold as many records as Kylie Minogue or Natalie Imbruglia, that's true — and he was a world away from AC/DC's hell's bells — but to me, a writer, his story is in its own way more fascinating — and unlikely. It was a long way from Tenterfield to Broadway, in more ways than even the Boy from Oz could have imagined. Elsewhere, I chose Rick Springfield because his story hasn't been told in great detail before, and again it was fascinating to chart the former Richard Springthorpe's struggles as he scaled that slippery slope called stardom. Same goes for Helen Reddy, among many others.So please don't view this book as exhaustive, or the last word in Australian music to the world. I'd need a few thousand pages for that. Instead, sit back, crank up the stereo, crack the spine (or charge your e-reader) and lose yourself in some of the more unique and intriguing Australian success stories — and discover what price has to be paid in order to go global.
Here's a podcast of a chat with Nicole Dyer from ABC Brisbane. And this Q&A is with the Potts Point Bookstore in Sydney. You can see me talking about the bookhere. And hear me talking with Red Symons of ABC Melbourne.