Shane Michael Howard AM, born on 26 January 1955, is an acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the driving force behind the folk rock group Goanna, which gained prominence in the 1980s with hits like “Solid Rock” and “Let the Franklin Flow.” After Goanna disbanded, Howard embarked on a successful solo career, continuing to make significant contributions to the Australian music scene.
||Shane Michael Howard
||January 26, 1955 (age 68)
||Fellowship by the Music Fund of the Australia Council (2000)
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- Shane Howard was born on 26 January 1955 in the coastal town of Dennington, near Warrnambool, Victoria.
- He grew up as the middle child in a large Irish Catholic family of seven children.
- His father, Leo, worked at the local Nestlés powdered milk factory for 48 years.
- Music was an integral part of Howard’s upbringing, with his mother, Teresa, playing the piano and singing.
- The Howard family was musically inclined, often referred to as “The Von Trapp Family of the Western District” due to their frequent performances at local events.
- Howard attended St Joseph’s Christian Brothers’ College in Warrnambool.
- He was exposed to various musical influences during his youth, including The Beatles, Dylan, and Van Morrison.
- After completing secondary education, Howard moved to Melbourne and briefly attended Monash University.
- He later studied Education at Deakin University in Geelong and became the institution’s first Student Council president.
- In 1976, while at Geelong Teachers College, Howard formed a folk-rock band initially named the Ectoplasmic Manifestation. The band’s name was later changed to Goanna Band and eventually shortened to Goanna.
- Goanna gained popularity with hits like “Solid Rock” and “Let the Franklin Flow.”
- The band’s debut album, “Spirit of Place,” released in November 1982, peaked at No. 2 on the Kent Music Report charts.
- Goanna disbanded in 1985 but briefly reunited in 1998 to release their third album, “Spirit Returns.”
- Howard began his solo career in 1986, performing with his backing band, Shane Howard and Friends.
- He released his first solo album, “Back to the Track,” in December 1988.
- Over the years, Howard released several albums, including “River,” “Goanna Dreaming,” and “Deeper South.”
- In 2017, he collaborated with John Schumann to release a single titled “Times Like These.”
Awards and Nominations
- In 2000, Howard was awarded a Fellowship by the Music Fund of the Australia Council for his contributions to Australian music.
- In January 2016, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the performing arts.
- In February 2023, Deakin University conferred upon Howard an Honorary Doctorate for his distinguished career in the Australian music industry.
- Howard was nominated for the Best Folk Roots Album at the 2013 Music Victoria Awards for “Other Side of the Rock.”
- Howard’s family played a significant role in his musical journey, with many family members being musically inclined.
- He has been an advocate for Australia’s Indigenous community and the environment, often reflecting these themes in his music.