Eric was born in Peebles, Scotland in 1944. He left school at 16 years of age, and for the next nine years or so tried his hand at a quite a few jobs, including labourer, time-and-motion man, export clerk and bar steward. He didn't manage to hold on to many of the jobs long- a sure sign he was eventually to end up as a professional musician.
In 1969, he emigrated to Australia, where he still lives. In 1980, after some years working as an accountant, he decided to dedicate his life to austerity, obscurity and poverty, and did, in fact become a professional musician. On this capacity he has survived, and occasionally even prospered, for the past 20 years, which, in the music business, can be counted as success.
Not that the urge to succeed, or to be rich and famous, have been Eric's driving forces, much to his bank manager's chagrin. When you ask him to describe himself he says simply, "songwriter". A compulsive, at times obsessive, songwriter, he has been writing songs and poems since he was eight years old, and will continue to do so until he drops dead, which he hopes, "will be around 2045 AD".
And it's for his songs that he's probably best known. His most recognisable and popular song The Band Played Waltzing Matilda has to date been recorded by over 100 artists, and quite a diverse bunch they are, ranging from Joan Baez to The Pogues. Another of his songs The Green Fields of France aka No Man's Land, recorded by the Furey Brothers, spent an incredible 26 weeks in the Irish charts including 10 weeks at No 1. Altogether nearly 50 of Eric's songs have been recorded by others including Mary Black, Donovan, Billy Bragg, The Dubliners etc. etc..
Eric Bogle has taken his music around the world. He regularly tours in the USA, Canada and Europe, as well as his adopted home-land, Australia. Over the past 20 years or so he has appeared in many music festivals around the world, and has recorded a total of 14 CDs. He has been the recipient of many different awards for his music, including a UN Peace Medal and The Order of Australia from the Australian Government. Throw in a swag of music industry awards, including a Gold Disc to, "APRA Song of the Year", and, well, you get the general idea.
But all of this only skims the surface. A lot more could be written about the man and his music - reviews, press cuttings, carefully selected critics' quotes etc. - the usual sanitised, carefully positively slanted biographical picture. In short other people's opinions manipulated to make Eric Bogle look like another Mozart. Well he's not - what he is, is a perceptive and compassionate individual, a wryly humorous and engaging concert performer, and a songwriter with a knack of cutting through to the heart of the matter with a few well-crafted lines.
Mind you that's our opinion - try and catch one of Eric's concerts and form some of your own.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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