Jimmy Barnes Is ‘Well And Truly on the Mend’ After Open-Heart Surgery

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After a run of serious health issues, which culminated in open-heart surgery at year’s end, Jimmy Barnes has made another classic comeback.

The Australian rock legend underwent multiple operations in December 2023, and spent time in the ICU after battling a troublesome bacterial infection.

The worst of those problems appear to be behind him. “I’m well and truly on the mend,” he writes in a post Tuesday (Jan. 9) on Instagram. ”So grateful for all of your wishes, for my family, for everything.”

Those images and updates paint a happy picture — the Cold Chisel frontman is back on his feet, relaxing and enjoying food with family, smiling for the camera.

In another, a cheery Barnes holds aloft a glass of green juice. “Half of this is straight from the garden into the blender,” he explains. “If this doesn’t get me well I don’t know what will.”

The only tell-tale sign of his health battles is a line in his left arm, through which medics continue to treat the singer for the infection in his bloodstream.

Born in Scotland, Barnes is made of tougher stuff than most of us.

Last November, after opening the Mushroom 50 Live concert at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, where he powered his way through “No Second Prize” and his signature song, “Working Class Man,” Barnes contracted bacterial pneumonia.

As a result, he canceled an appearance at Rock the Boat cruise festival in Noumea, New Caledonia, then another, a concert at By The C in Torquay on Dec. 2, when, “despite everyone’s best efforts,” he wrote at the time, “the bacterial infection… has apparently now spread to my heart.”

The two-time ARIA Hall of Fame-inducted rocker explained that the infection had damaged “an otherwise healthy valve that was replaced some years ago due to a congenital defect” and that the surgery would “put in a clean valve”.

A year earlier, Barnes revealed he would go under the surgeon’s knife to correct “constant and severe pain” in his back and hip, the result of “jumping off PAs and stomping around stages” for more than 50 years. He also underwent back surgery in 2014, which kept him in hospital on Fathers Days (Sept. 7).

He’ll be ready to rock, soon, he tells his army of supporters. “2024 will bring more challenges I’m sure but I am excited to see what else is on the horizon,” reads a post welcoming in the New Year. “Thank you to all who came out in support of Australian music over the last 12 months. And I look forward to seeing you on the road ahead. In a few months I will be ready to rock so dust of your dancing shoes we’ve got a hell of a year ahead of us.”

Barnes is a national treasure, with 15 leaders on the ARIA Chart — an all-time record. Counting his five leaders with Cold Chisel, Barnes boasts an unprecedented 20 No. 1s, comfortably eclipsing the Beatles (with 14), Madonna (12), Eminem and U2 (11).

The 67-year-old singer was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame with Cold Chisel in 1993, and again as a solo artist in 2005, and is the first Australian solo act to have a No. 1 album in every decade since the 1980s.

In the lead-up to Christmas 2023, Mushroom Labels issued an expanded version of Blue Christmas, his 20th studio album and most recent No. 1.

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