He grew up in a part of Brisbane that was demolished to build Brisbane Airport. His first band was called the Rattlesnakes.
He is a Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
He married pop singer Lulu on February 18, 1969; after their divorce on August 21, 1975, he remarried Yvonne Spencely on October 17, 1975. He had two children, Samantha and Adam.
He and former Beatles member Ringo Starr were close friends.