Jimmy Barnes

Recent Role:

Star on Australian Idol


4/28/1956, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Rate Person
2 votes
  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Jimmy Barnes was born April, 28 1956 in Glasgow, Scotland. His original name was 'James Dixon Swan' and his father was a featherweight boxing champion in Glasgow. In 1961/62 his family moved to Australia. After playing in a school band (he replaced Bon Scott (who joined AC/DC) as lead vocalist in the band Fraternity. Then, aged 16 and a half, he joined 'Cold Chisel' in 1973. First they played the pubs of Adelaide, then the pubs of Australia and before getting a record contract in 1976. Now, 'Cold Chisel' are Australian history - one of the best bands Australia ever had. They split up in 1983 because they thought they weren't playing good music anymore and they didn't want to rip their fans off with another album. Jimmy started his solo career and his first album Bodyswerve, produced by Mark Opitz, was published in 1984. It included the hit singles No Second Price and Daylight and went straight to number one in the Australian album chart. In 1985 Jimmy recorded a few new songs and recut some of the tracks from Bodyswerve for his American debut of the For The Working Man album. The title track was used for Ron Howard's movie Gung Ho, the album was mixed for American audience and recorded with American musicians. It sold very well in Australia (several times platinum, one of the biggest selling albums down under). In America it didn't sell at all. Jimmy left his wild years behind when he left 'Cold Chisel' and married Jane Mahoney (he says she saved his life). He became a responsible family man and in his life there was no place for rock star nonsense. He recorded two songs (Good Times, Laying Down The Law) together with INXS for the The Lost Boys soundtrack and in 1988 his first live album Barnestorming was published (it sold several times platinum down under). Then, in 1990, he recorded Two Fires, his fourth studio album. In 1991 he recorded a cover album containing his favourite soul cs (Soul Deep) and in 1992 he went into a studio together with Tina Turner and Diesel to record a great new version of The Best. In 1993 Heat was another brilliant Barnes album that went straight to the number one of the Australian album chart. An acoustic album, called Flesh And Wood, was recorded in the same year. On this record Barnes was supported by The Badloves, Joe Cocker, Ross Wilson, Tommy Emmanuel, Diesel, Don Walker, Deborah Conway and Archie Roach. Jimmy Barnes is an Australian folk hero, he is the 'working class man' and if you ever have the chance to see him live, you'll understand why. Rock music is his profession and Jimmy gives his best. He lived in France for a while but returned to Australia. A "best of" including a bonus album full of rare stuff was released in October 1996 and in December 1998, Jimmy toured with some good old "friends" of the 'Chisel' days.moreless

    Birth Name:

    James Dixon Swan



    Birth Place:

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (9)

    • Jimmy: (announcing his 2008 tour) I love playing pubs, but after heart surgery particularly, I wanted to start thinking about doing more quality gigs and less quantity. In a pub if you do more than two ballads in a set you hear (the audience) starting ... a fight or arguing with their wife, so you've got to keep their attention all the time. I think it's going to allow me a lot more scope for how I construct the set - I'll still be doing big slamming hits and lots of Chisel stuff, but at the same time I'll get to do some of the new album, and maybe some new songs that I'll write in the meantime.

    • Jimmy: (following the announcement he would host the "Planet Rock" radio show on Triple M) I am really excited to be taking the reigns of the new look "Planet Rock". It's all about the music for me, so I can promise it will be full of a great mix of old and new with a few personal stories thrown in.

    • Jimmy: This guy said I was one of about half a dozen people he's ever seen in the world who have taught themselves to sing like this. And so I get to the point where I can't speak because I use my vocal cords to speak, but I can still sing. So, um, you know, I just don't lose my voice. It's like a... My voice is like a Mack truck. It's hard to start and then you can't stop it.

    • Jimmy: (on meeting his wife, Jane, for the first time) I was...it was in Canberra, and I went to a hotel. We were doing a show in the evening called 'Pooled Resources', which was a tour with Icehouse and the Angels and the Mentals. It was a great, great thing. And we were in Canberra, and we were staying at this hotel, and in the afternoon everybody's friends were around at the hotel, everybody's sort of having something to eat, and the Angels were, you know, throwing frisbees around and all that. Jane knew some of the Angels...her and her friends knew some of the Angels, and they were there...

    • Jimmy: (on his ego while with Cold Chisel) I'm sure there was times I got carried away with it, but you know, I mean, that band was particularly good at keeping our feet on the ground. The band would jump on you first and foremost if I got too uppity. The other thing was that, you know, midway through Cold Chisel I started a family. And there's nothing like having a family to keep your feet on the ground. I mean, you can be a big rock star and all that sort of stuff, you know, have screaming fans, but you go home and you've gotta change shitty nappies, you know? It's pretty grounding, you know?

    Show More Quotes

    Trivia (17)

    • In November 2007 Jimmy commenced his new role as radio host on the weekly Planet Rock radio show on Triple M.

    • Jimmy had successful open heart surgery in March 2007.

    • Jimmy's 2005 album, Double Happiness, debuted at #1 on the ARIAnet Albums Chart. This was his seventh album to do so.

    • Jimmy has been married to Jane Mahoney since 1983. They have four children together.

    • Jimmy's solo albums are as follows: 2005 - Double Happiness 2004 - Living Loud 2003 - Soul Deeper: Live at The Basement 2002 - Live (Unplugged) at The Chapel 2002 - Double Jeopardy 2001 - Raw 2000 - Soul Deeper 1996 - Love & Fear 1996 - Barnes Hits Anthology 1995 - Psyclone 1993 - Flesh And Wood 1993 - Heat 1991 - Soul Deep 1990 - Two Fires 1987 - Barnstorming 1987 - Freight Train Heart 1985 - For the Working Class Man 1984 - Bodyswerve

    Show More Trivia