T-shirt, Richard Clapton, 'Goodbye Tiger', polyester / cotton, made by Future Designs, Australia, worn by Richard Clapton, Australia, 1977
This t-shirt has significance as one of a group of objects documenting the musical career of Richard Clapton, who emerged as Australia's premier singer-songwriter in the mid-1970s. His albums represent a remarkable body of thoughtful songs combining introspection and social awareness. Clapton's music had much in common with American folk rock and west coast styles, but his songs were distinctively Australian. He wrote intelligent lyrics about places - both local (Redfern, Bondi, Palm Beach and Byron Bay) and foreign (Germany and Amsterdam).
Clapton's first four albums were recorded at Festival's studio, produced by Richard Batchens and released on Festival's Infinity label. Although his debut 'Prussian Blue' (1973) showed him as a sensitive, poetic writer, it was his second album, released in early 1975, that made him a star, introducing his most enduring hit, the pop classic 'Girls on the Avenue'. In 1976 he moved to Melbourne, which had a thriving live music scene, and wrote about the city on the 'Mainstreet Jive' album. By this time Festival was promoting him as 'Australia's unmatched singer songwriter' and his status was growing steadily. Other hits included 'Suit Yourself' and 'Capricorn Dancer'.
A sojourn in Europe inspired the songs that formed 1977's 'Goodbye Tiger'. The album expressed themes such as Australia's prosperity, the surf lifestyle, reflections on the past, changing friendships and growing older. An exciting live performer, Clapton toured relentlessly to help make 'Goodbye Tiger' his breakthrough album. It was hugely successful and contained the hit 'Deep Water'. He became a favourite of the suburban 'beer barn' circuit.
In 1982, after signing with Warners, he recorded 'The Great Escape', with Mark Opitz as producer. It contained the anthemic 'The Best Years of our Lives'. The 'Glory Road' album (1987) was produced by Jon Farriss of INXS. Clapton has continued to write songs, release new albums and perform. In 2006 he re-recorded some of his greatest songs in an 'unplugged', acoustic style for the 'Rewired' album.
Made by Future Designs, Australia, 1977, for Festival Records.
Festival Records had these shirts produced to promote the 'Goodbye Tiger' album. Richard Clapton kept this one and lent it to the Powerhouse Museum for display in the exhibition 'Spinning around: 50 years of Festival Records' and subsequently donated it to the Museum.