Graeham Goble is famous for many things, but he’s especially famous for his songs. It’s because of his songs that he was “discovered” in the Adelaide group Allison Gros, and found success almost immediately, with Mississippi, and then, as we all know, world-wide with Little River Band. There was life and songs before LRB and life and songs since LRB. Graeham’s journey, before and since, reveals not just a songwriter of great talent, but a musician with vision, and unquenchable thirst for excellence.
Graeham Goble was the architect of Little River Band’s sound that made them one of the great Australian groups of all time and charmed America to the extent of 25 million record sales, 13 American top forty hits (6 of them top 10) and five consecutive top fifty American albums. The Eagles’ Glenn Frey once described them as "The best singing band in the world.” Graeham wrote songs for LRB to sing, worked out the vocal arrangements and sang that all-important high harmony.
The songwriting was learned and refined during his adolescence in Adelaide, as part of the groups The Silence and Travis Wellington Hedge, but mostly in his bedroom at home, often writing a song a day. “The sound” started to emerge with Allison Gros. No hits yet, but a “something” heard by chance in far-off Melbourne by the top record producer of the day David Mackay, and because of Mackay's enthusiasm, resulted in an offer of a national recording contract for Allison Gros. That became Mississippi who had a major hit with ‘Kings Of The World’. Graeham was quickly evolving his trademark harmony style, forever adjusting the singers and musicians around him to be better than before.
Beeb Birtles joined Mississippi, and then Glenn Shorrock, and in 1975 they became Little River Band, with voices and songwriters to match and complement Graeham. It was the Graeham Goble song ‘It’s A Long Way There’ which captured the imaginations and caught the ear of America. Later it was the Graeham Goble song ‘Reminiscing’ which Frank Sinatra hailed as "the best 1970's song in the world", the song John Lennon made love to, the song which has now been played on American radio more than five million times. Graeham’s ‘Lady’ boasts more than three million plays. In fact, the entire Goble catalogue has achieved a staggering 13 million airplays in the US.
Throughout LRB’s reign of success from 1975 to 1991 Graeham refused to rest on his laurels, forever searching for ways to improve his own and the group's performance, on stage and on record. Graeham also found time to produce and write songs for ‘Uncovered’ the actual (pre-‘Whispering Jack’) comeback album for Australia’s most popular recording artist, John Farnham. Graeham’s ‘Please Don’t Ask Me’ is a staple in John Farnham’s repertoire.
Everything comes to an end, and one by one the key members, Beeb, Glenn and Graeham left, leaving Little River Band to rattle round the American nostalgia circuit, living off the songs and sound they had inherited by default. Graeham Goble, of course, continued on his life’s course of songwriting and sonic adventures. Without the restraint of a set line-up of musicians, Graeham now worked with whoever he wanted or needed to realise his visions.
Graeham Goble's most recent albums 'The Days Ahead', 'Let It Rain' and now 'Life Love Song' prove to be milestones in a long and distinguished career, songs so personal and special, Graeham Goble now steps to the microphone to sing the lead vocals himself surrounding his voice with the creative energy and imagination which have been the hallmarks of Graeham's work.
In music the song is everything. A singer or a band can be remembered for a look or a sound. A good song lives forever. Unquestionably, Graeham Goble is one of the world's great songwriters.
- Ed Nimmervoll