news about music press photos shop links forum contact

The Age
March 2, 2005


With a name like that, Holly Golightly was always destined for success, writes Dan Rule.

It was a cameo, an afterthought, a favour, but it just happened to become the closing track of perhaps the biggest rock album of 2003. The song was Well It's True We Love One Another and the record was the White Stripes' Elephant. But Holly Golightly - whose career has spanned 15 years and countless underground recordings - is still puzzled by the hype.

". . . it's not what I consider to be my finest work," she says. "I had five minutes to learn that song. I didn't imagine for a minute that they'd want to close the record with it."

Golightly's calling cards were already intriguing. Aside from her name (her mother was reading Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's while pregnant), she has been a truck driver and lived on a houseboat in Kent for years.

But it's her sauntering blues balladry, her '50s chic and subtle wit that have brought her acclaim. A veteran of 12 solo albums, her stark arrangements, punctuated by sultry vocals, resonate with pre-electric nostalgia. "It's not like I don't enjoy any modern music," she says. "I just don't know any . . . I don't listen to the radio, I don't watch TV."
Golightly's roots are in London's garage and punk scenes. After meeting garage-rock pioneer Billy Childish in the '80s, she formed Thee Headcoatees - an all-girl auxiliary to Childish's band, the Headcoats.

But the interest in blues and soul has always been there. From age 17, she was collecting records by Ike Turner, Lee Hazelwood and Bill Withers. "I was the only punk-rocker in the soul shop," she says.

Her most recent album, 2004's Slowly But Surely, is her first Australian release and Golightly takes on the broken-hearted role with a healthy sneer. "I think people would be quite surprised to find out that I'm not perpetually heartbroken," she says. "I'm actually quite happy. Singing blues just means I can vent any frustration without hurting anybody. Some of my more spiteful moments are better off in a song."

By Dan Rule