Jeff Apter

What might pique the interest of even the most casual observer, consumer or critic of country music, popular culture or celebrity, or all three, is the title of Jeff Apter’s ‘unauthorised’ biography, Fortunate Son: The Unlikely Rise of Keith Urban. The commercially catchy title parallels and mimics the musical style of its famous subject, while also striking an odd, even humorous note in its backhanded recognition of ‘our Keith’s’ American success. That Apter also markets his biography as ‘unauthorised’ provides another selling point. Knowing that the book is not commissioned by Urban suggests that it may deliver an edgy ‘tell all’ account of Nicole Kidman’s husband. One might be forgiven for thinking that such a work will take risks, since it is under no obligation to provide a flattering portrayal of its subject. It doesn’t. In fact, its very lack of risk is clear even without undertaking a close reading.

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Jeff Buckley is a man frozen in time, not just by virtue of being elevated into the pantheon of ‘died-too-early-rock-gods’. Before his untimely drowning in 1997, Buckley appeared to exist in a sort of musical and emotional stasis: a young fogey caught among the cultural ruins and vestiges of his estranged father, who died aged twenty-eight from a heroin overdose ...