Book Review: Rychard Carrington reviews 'I Did It Otway' by John Otway (KLG Press)

I Did It Otway
Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire


Otway's first autobiography, Cor Baby, That's Really Me!, proved to be the crucial turning point in his career. He labelled himself ‘rock and roll's greatest failure', cementing his persona as someone who makes a gleeful exhibition of incompetence. Yet Otway only ranks poorly by narrow, straight-laced standards. His enterprising originality enables him to make a triumph of disaster as much as vice versa. And, in its way, his music is actually very good; his live show utterly brilliant.


The trajectory of this successor, taking his career from 1988 to 2006, is one of increasing success - largely due to utilising the loyalty of a devoted following - until Otway meets his Waterloo when his plan of hiring a jet airliner to take his fans with him on a world tour narrowly fails to reach take off.


Otway's originality is instinctive. Nobody is more justified in claiming Sinatra's song as his own. He's eccentric and yet also down-to-earth; a delightful oddball, but very much a man of the pub. As in his lyrics, his writing style is informed by his distinctive quirkiness. Samples: ‘divisions hardened into two main camps and a tent' ( now guess who was in the tent); ‘I liked being able to say that my last single was in the Top Ten, and by the clever technique of not releasing any more, I still can.'


This is the memoir of someone really special. You don't need to know Otway's music to enjoy it.


Writer: Rychard Carrington

Otway's website

(This review was originally written for the excellent R2/Rock'n'Reel)