100 books like The Countdown Years 1974 - 1987

By Peter Wilmoth,

Here are 100 books that The Countdown Years 1974 - 1987 fans have personally recommended if you like The Countdown Years 1974 - 1987. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Pig City

Clinton Walker Author Of Stranded

From my list on music from Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art school dropout and recovering rock critic who, since 1981, has published a dozen books on Australian music and popular culture, plus worked extensively in television and as a freelance journalist. I'm too old to be called an enfant terrible, but with the way I still seem to be able to court controversy, I must remain some sort of loose cannon! Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called me "our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture," and that’s a tag I’m flattered by but which does get at what I’ve always been interested in. I consider myself a historian who finds resonances where most don’t even bother to look, in our own backyard, yesterday, and the fact that so much of my backlist including Inner City Sound, Highway to Hell, Buried Country, Golden Miles, History is Made at Night, and Stranded are still in print, I take as vindication I’m on the right track…

Clinton's book list on music from Australia

Clinton Walker Why did Clinton love this book?

Cultural history is now a book business-standard. That wasn’t always the case. For me myself, I had to read Otto Freidrich’s City of Nets (1987) and Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming (1992) before I could properly formulate my 1996 book Stranded. Stalwart rock journalist Andrew Stafford’s debut book from 2004, Pig City, is a cultural history of the Brisbane music scene ‘from the Saints to Savage Garden’, which makes it a regional history too. What makes it gripping, next Stafford’s deft handling of the material, is the story itself, which is not just that of an erstwhile backwater finally coming of age, but up against and overcoming the oppressive jackboots of Queensland state premier, ‘hillbilly dictator’ Joh Bjelke-Peterson. Happily, that era is now long past, and BrisVegas is today a great music town; but wouldn’t have become so without the long struggle so vividly portrayed here.

By Andrew Stafford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pig City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From cult heroes the Saints and the Go-Betweens to national icons Powderfinger and international stars Savage Garden, Brisbane has produced more than its share of great bands. But behind the music lay a ghost city of malice and corruption. Pressed under the thumb of the Bjelke-Petersen government and its toughest enforcers—the police—Brisbane’s musicians, radio announcers, and political activists braved ignorance, harassment, and often violence to be heard. This updated, 10th anniversary edition features a scathing new introduction by the author, assessing the changing shape of Brisbane, its music, and troubling developments since the return of the state of Queensland to…


Book cover of Down Under

Clinton Walker Author Of Stranded

From my list on music from Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art school dropout and recovering rock critic who, since 1981, has published a dozen books on Australian music and popular culture, plus worked extensively in television and as a freelance journalist. I'm too old to be called an enfant terrible, but with the way I still seem to be able to court controversy, I must remain some sort of loose cannon! Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called me "our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture," and that’s a tag I’m flattered by but which does get at what I’ve always been interested in. I consider myself a historian who finds resonances where most don’t even bother to look, in our own backyard, yesterday, and the fact that so much of my backlist including Inner City Sound, Highway to Hell, Buried Country, Golden Miles, History is Made at Night, and Stranded are still in print, I take as vindication I’m on the right track…

Clinton's book list on music from Australia

Clinton Walker Why did Clinton love this book?

Sometimes a book comes completely out of nowhere. Such was the case with Trevor Conomy’s Down Under. Conomy was not an author with a pedigree in music journalism or anything like that, but when Down Under came out, in 2015, it spoke for itself. The life story of a song – Melbourne pub band Men At Work’s “Down Under” – what makes the book compelling is not so much the story of its fluky success, when in 1982 it become a huge hit all round the world, but rather the aftermath: How more than a quarter-century later the song went to court against a copyright infringement claim. That it lost the case was a travesty and a human tragedy, and Conomy’s short, punchy little book reveals why in all its gory detail.

By Trevor Conomy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down Under as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the biography not of a person but of one of the most loved and controversial songs in the history of Australian music.

Originally released as a B-side in 1980, 'Down Under' made Men at Work the biggest band on the planet. The song became an alternative Australian anthem and its video (recorded on the sand dunes of Cronulla) became an image of Australia recognised the world over.

Even when Men at Work suddenly disappeared, 'Down Under' remained in the national psyche. Nearly three decades later, Spicks and Specks innocently revealed a link between the song and the tune…


Book cover of The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius

Clinton Walker Author Of Stranded

From my list on music from Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art school dropout and recovering rock critic who, since 1981, has published a dozen books on Australian music and popular culture, plus worked extensively in television and as a freelance journalist. I'm too old to be called an enfant terrible, but with the way I still seem to be able to court controversy, I must remain some sort of loose cannon! Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called me "our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture," and that’s a tag I’m flattered by but which does get at what I’ve always been interested in. I consider myself a historian who finds resonances where most don’t even bother to look, in our own backyard, yesterday, and the fact that so much of my backlist including Inner City Sound, Highway to Hell, Buried Country, Golden Miles, History is Made at Night, and Stranded are still in print, I take as vindication I’m on the right track…

Clinton's book list on music from Australia

Clinton Walker Why did Clinton love this book?

This book illustrates why this list had to be called the best Australian books about music. Because it’s an Australian author writing about an American musician. This is an exchange that works both ways: just this year, British musician/author Tracy Thorn published a book about Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison, called My Rock’n’Roll Friend. Blind Tom is a biography of slave pianist Tom Wiggins, one of the first African-American musicians to crossover to success with white audiences, and remarkably he had not been so accounted for until Deidre O’Connell took up the cudgels. O’Connell is an academic, but thankfully doesn’t write like one, and this her first and thus far only book is totally engrossing. I hope she writes some more.

Book cover of Wild about You!: The Sixties Beat Explosion in Australia and New Zealand

Clinton Walker Author Of Stranded

From my list on music from Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art school dropout and recovering rock critic who, since 1981, has published a dozen books on Australian music and popular culture, plus worked extensively in television and as a freelance journalist. I'm too old to be called an enfant terrible, but with the way I still seem to be able to court controversy, I must remain some sort of loose cannon! Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called me "our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture," and that’s a tag I’m flattered by but which does get at what I’ve always been interested in. I consider myself a historian who finds resonances where most don’t even bother to look, in our own backyard, yesterday, and the fact that so much of my backlist including Inner City Sound, Highway to Hell, Buried Country, Golden Miles, History is Made at Night, and Stranded are still in print, I take as vindication I’m on the right track…

Clinton's book list on music from Australia

Clinton Walker Why did Clinton love this book?

There’s a genre of music books, in which I plead guilty to form, that is almost scrapbook-like, that mixes and matches elements to make, at best, a seamless blend of words and images, the sort of book that is a work of art in its own right like you used to find buried down the back of the aisles at counter-culture bookstores. Wild About You is the concept writ large, perhaps not least because editors Iain McIntyre and Ian D. Marks went through a couple of other similar-styled books before getting it quite so right with this one. As a portrait of the post-Beatles beat boom in Australasia in the 60s, it is definitive, written with vibrancy and beautiful and evocative for its illustrations and design. I’m still waiting for this dynamic duo to move onto the 70s!

By Ian D. Marks (editor), Iain McIntyre (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild about You! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing outpouring of rock 'n' roll in the 1960s in Australia and New Zealand gave birth to such iconic bands such as the Easybeats, the Masters Apprentices, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, the Purple Hearts, and the Missing Links. It also launched the careers of a generation of musicians who would go on to greater, international fame with their later groups (the Bee Gees, AC/DC, Little River Band, and more). Wild About You! includes chapters on 35 bands that made the scene, as well as the editors' list of the top 100 beat and garage songs of the era.…


Book cover of Stranger Than Kindness

Cat Bennett Author Of The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind

From my list on art and creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an artist all my life. In childhood, I was always drawing and after graduating from university I became an illustrator doing hundreds of drawings for major newspapers and publishers in the United States for over 25 years. It was my mission, no matter what was going on in the world, to find some humor and lightness to share through my drawings. About 15 years ago, I also began to teach drawing to adults and was amazed to discover that everyone can draw. When I saw how people seemed to become happier and bolder making art I became passionate about sharing how we can grow our creativity by developing an art practice. It makes for a beautiful life and quite possibly a more beautiful world.

Cat's book list on art and creativity

Cat Bennett Why did Cat love this book?

While Nick Cave is primarily a musician/songwriter, this book is a visual record of Cave’s creative journey filled with his early sketchbooks, photos, drawings, and typewritten song lyrics annotated by hand. Many of us artists work in sketchbooks where we can feel free to be messy and exploratory and pour our hearts onto the page. Some of us need words as well as images to explore the world around us, decipher our feelings and uncover our work. I love musing over Nick’s here—so messy and wild to begin and a little more ordered as he ages as one might expect. The book is filled with photos of different parts of his life, drawings and doodles, tight handwritten scripts and taped over typewritten lyrics gone yellow with age. It’s a compendium of a wonderful artist’s creative process. A real joy to sit down with and muse over.

By Nick Cave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stranger Than Kindness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Stranger Than Kindness is a journey in images and words into the creative world of musician, storyteller and cultural icon Nick Cave.

This highly collectable book invites the reader into the innermost core of the creative process and paves the way for an entirely new and intimate meeting with the artist, presenting Cave's life, work and inspiration and exploring his many real and imagined universes. It features full colour reproductions of original artwork, handwritten lyrics, photographs and collected personal artefacts along with commentary and meditations from Nick Cave, Janine Barrand and Darcey Steinke.

Stranger Than Kindness…


Book cover of The Happy Ever After Playlist

DK Marie Author Of Taste of Passion

From my list on summer romance beach reads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a romance writer. I've written four contemporary romances with heat, heart, and humor and have a new series coming out in early 2023. I'm also an avid reader of romanceall genres from rom-com to historical to paranormal. I've been reading them since college and have devoured thousands of romance stories since my loved bloomed for them. I'm a firm believer I need to read stories to be able to write them—or maybe it's just an excuse to read more fantastic books and claim it's part of my writing process. Lol. Either way, it has allowed me to recommend romance stories to you with pleasure and ease.

DK's book list on summer romance beach reads

DK Marie Why did DK love this book?

This is such a great book! I loved it even more than the author's first (which was also very good). Though be warned you might get some side eyes if you read this one on the actual beach as it will have you laughing out loud one minute and swallowing back tears the next. I adore it when books are able to give me a wide range of emotions. This one might be a little heavier than the other books on my list, but the author does a fantastic job balancing humor and heartbreak. I recommend this book to those who love romance mixed with laughter and lots of heart.

By Abby Jimenez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Happy Ever After Playlist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Part of Your World comes a romantic comedy full of "fierce humor and fiercer heart" about how one adorable puppy brings together two perfect strangers (Casey McQuiston, NYT bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue).

Artist Sloan Monroe just can't seem to get her life on track. But one trouble-making pup who randomly jumps into her car with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With Tucker by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's…


Book cover of The Gulp

Matthew R. Davis Author Of Bites Eyes: 13 Macabre Morsels

From my list on Australian short story collections with real bite.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a horror writer to the core, always have been, so few things get me as interested as a great collection of short stories. I can remember a few corkers that really put the wind up me as a kid, and it seems I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since! Australia is my home, and it has a broad and diverse genre scene that deserves a lot more attention – I’ve befriended a great many authors of horror, fantasy, SF, and all points in between, and to a person they are lovely, generous, and talented. I’m doing my part to draw attention to the proliferation of vital voices down here.

Matthew's book list on Australian short story collections with real bite

Matthew R. Davis Why did Matthew love this book?

Alan is less interested than the preceding authors in distracting poesy and deep characterisation – which is not to say that he is without sophistication, but rather that he prefers to twist the throttle hard and race through his stories like he has a metal gig to catch.

His two-fisted prose pulls no punches in this collection of five linked novellas about an odd Aussie country town, delivering bold thrills, shiversome delights, and wince-worthy kills.

Alan sets an example for myself and other local writers with his upstanding, no-shit attitude and open generosity, and those who don’t have the pleasure of knowing him personally will nonetheless feel welcomed into his world whenever they crack the covers of his books.

By Alan Baxter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gulp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Gulp (Tales From The Gulp #1)

Strange things happen in The Gulp. The residents have grown used to it.

The isolated Australian harbour town of Gulpepper is not like other places. Some maps don't even show it. And only outsiders use the full name. Everyone who lives there calls it The Gulp. The place has a habit of swallowing people.

A truck driver thinks the stories about The Gulp are made up to scare him. Until he gets there.
Teenage siblings try to cover up the death of their mother, but their plans go drastically awry.
A rock band…


Book cover of Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars

Thomas Kitts Author Of Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else

From my list on rock music and rock bands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the years, as a Professor of English at St. John's University, NY, I have shifted my research from American literature to popular culture, specifically rock music, a passion first ignited when I watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and re-ignited time and time again over the years. I have written articles, reviews, interviews, and a few books and I edit Popular Music and Society and Rock Music Studies.

Thomas' book list on rock music and rock bands

Thomas Kitts Why did Thomas love this book?

With Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry, Kristin Lieb provides an enlightening but often troubling account of the contemporary pop music industry. By focusing on women artists in the post-MTV era, Lieb demonstrates that female pop singers are judged more than ever on their sex appeal—despite the advances of the women’s movement over the past several decades. Lieb draws from both theorists and music industry insiders, giving her conclusions weight and credibility. Yet despite its frequently disturbing findings, the book is not overly cynical. Lieb, an energetic writer, has managed to maintain her enthusiasm for pop music.

By Kristin J. Lieb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gender, Branding, and The Modern Music Industry combines interview data with music industry professionals with theoretical frameworks from sociology, mass communication, and marketing to explain and explore the gender differences female artists experience.

This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into female pop stars. Stars -- and the industry power brokers who make their fortunes -- have learned to prioritize sexual attractiveness over talent as they fight a crowded field for movie deals, magazine covers, and fashion lines, let alone record deals. This focus on the female pop star's…


Book cover of Begin, End, Begin: A #Loveozya Anthology

Verity Croker Author Of Jilda's Ark

From my list on YA set in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Australian author and an avid reader. Although I love reading books set in other countries, I particularly enjoy stories that take place in Australia, as I can really identify with them. I especially relate to those set in the Australian outback or small rural towns, as for several years I lived in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. I understand how in small towns it is very difficult to keep secrets, as everybody knows everyone else’s business, and I now realise this is becoming an underlying theme in my writing. I have a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Tasmania.

Verity's book list on YA set in Australia

Verity Croker Why did Verity love this book?

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology is a great collection of short stories, written in a cross-section of genres, on different themes, by a variety of Australian authors. Reading these stories gives you a taste of the authors’ writing styles, and, as many of them also write novels, you can choose which authors’ works you’d like to read more of.

By Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis , Michael Pryor , Lili Wilkinson

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Begin, End, Begin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA. Ages 14+


Book cover of The Swan Book

Hoa Pham Author Of The Other Shore

From my list on slippaging between worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I want to write about the magic of the everyday and often this is seen in the slippages between worlds like the worlds of the living and the dead. Ghosts and spirits feature heavily in my work and fascinate me as a reader too. This is not in the realm of fantasy to me, ghosts are real and actual.

Hoa's book list on slippaging between worlds

Hoa Pham Why did Hoa love this book?

This amazing book is about Oblivia a girl who survives gang rape living in a swamp with thousands of black swans who is promised to Warren Finch the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia an indigenous man.

In her journey we meet many out there characters told in mythic style in a future Australia devastated by climate change. This book is a potent mix of speculative fiction and magic realism featuring indigenous communities and characters. I admire it for the breadth of its vision and the intimacy of Oblivia and of course the swans.

By Alexis Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Swan Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hypnotic and “astonishingly inventive” (O, The Oprah Magazine) novel about an Aboriginal girl living in a future world turned upside down—where ancient myths exist side-by-side with present-day realities.

Oblivia Ethelyne was given her name by an old woman who found her deep in the bowels of a gum tree, tattered and fragile, the victim of a brutal assault by wayward local youths. These are the years leading up to Australia’s third centenary, and the woman who finds her, Bella Donna of the Champions, is a refugee from climate change wars that devastated her country in the northern hemisphere.

Bella…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Australia, pop music, and rock music?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Australia, pop music, and rock music.

Australia Explore 304 books about Australia
Pop Music Explore 47 books about pop music
Rock Music Explore 220 books about rock music