Slim is the most prolific
and biggest selling recording artist in Australia with more than
5 million of his recordings sold on the domestic market.
One of the most-awarded Australians
ever, Slim has been with the one record company for more than
half a century and in 2000 will release his official 100th album.
for Slim's Top 100
The Slim Dusty Story starts
back in the 1940s on a remote dairy farm in the hills behind
Kempsey, NSW, when a 10-year-old boy dreamed of being a country
music singer. His name was David Gordon Kirkpatrick... he called
himself "Slim Dusty" and began to live that dream.
But even the most optimistic
farm boy would never have imagined the life that was to unfold...
a life that would establish Slim as the voice of the nation,
the chronicler of Australian history in song.
As the world enters a new
millennium, Slim is as strong as ever, still building, and living,
Slim has managed to hold on
to those early visions of writing and singing about the bush
because during his lengthy career, he has kept in touch with
his audience. And he has done this in a very real and meaningful
way, so much so that his fans would feel that Slim is one of
their mates and his songs "just a good yarn you might hear
from a mate at the pub, around a camp fire in the bush or at
a back yard barbie".
He describes his music as
"songs about real Australians. I have to be fair dinkum
with my audience. I can't see any other way of doing it,"
he says. "You have to believe in what you are singing about."
To quote a London Country Music People magazine
review: "Three things are certain in this life. Death, Taxes...
and Slim Dusty. This man has been making music and epitomising
the spirit of Australia for 50 years. Although he had a massive
worldwide hit with A Pub With No Beer in the late '50s,
few outside his home country are aware of the continuing popularity
and reverence in which Dusty is held Down Under, not only by
the public but by his fellow musicians and artists, including
those who hang their hat under the New Country sign."
Slim Dusty was the first Australian
to receive a Gold Record (still the only 78 rpm gold record in
existence in this country), the first Australian to have an international
record hit, and the first singer in the world to have his voice
beamed to earth from space (in 1983, astronauts Bob Crippen and
John Young played Slim singing Waltzing Matilda from the
space shuttle "Columbia" as it passed over Australia).
His amazing career spans six
decades, has him holding 32 Golden Guitars (an achievement as
yet, and unlikely to be, unequalled), more Gold and Platinum
Record Awards than any other Australian artist, ARIA Awards (Australian
Recording Industry Awards) including induction into the ARIA
Hall of Fame, video sales Platinum and Gold Awards, an MBE and
Order of Australia for his services to entertainment, and he
was one of the earliest inducted to the Country Music Roll of
Just last year (1999) Slim
was named Father of the Year and Senior Australian of the Year...
two more accolades added to numerous other awards and honours.
He is rightly known as the
"Historian of the Bush" but his songs and his stage
performances reflect the changing face of Australia in the country
as well as in the city, and his touring show is as popular now
as it has ever been.
Kempsey, 13th June. Named David Gordon Kirkpatrick. Brought up
nearby at a Nulla Nulla Creek dairy farm.
10, writes first song, The Way The Cowboy Dies.
||1938 Calls himself Slim Dusty.
||1942 Gate-crashes Radio 2KM Kempsey. Makes
his first recording at own expense... Song For The Aussies
and My Final Song.
||1945 Still living at Nulla Nulla Creek, writes his first
country music classic When The Rain Tumbles Down In July.
||1946 Signs first recording contract with the Columbia Graphophone
Co. for the Regal Zonophone label. Records six titles including
When The Rain Tumbles Down In July.
||1948 Part-time show business career. Intermittent
radio, hall show and tent show appearances.
||1951 Marries country singer-songwriter Joy McKean.
||1952 Daughter Anne Kirkpatrick born.
||1954 Commences full-time show business
career. Launches first travelling Slim Dusty Show.
||1956 Establishes partnership with showman Frankie Foster,
which established the Slim Dusty Show as a large tent show on
the showground circuit.
||1957 Records A Pub With No Beer -- at that time
the biggest selling record ever by an Australian.
||1958 Son David
Kirkpatrick born. Received Australia's first Gold record, for
A Pub With No Beer.
||1960 Releases first LP album Slim Dusty Sings.
||1963 Ends showground partnership with Frankie
||1964 Establishes annual round Australia Slim Dusty tour
- a 30,000 mile, 10 month journey.
||1969 First tour outside Australia, in New
Zealand, with New Zealand's Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. Also
tours Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
||1970 Awarded an MBE for services to music.
||1973 Tamworth's first Australasian Country
Music Awards. Awarded Best LP for Me And My Guitar, Best
EP or single for Lights On The Hill. Joy wins Song of
the Year, also for Lights On The Hill.
||1978 First Sydney Opera House performance
(live recording of The Entertainer).
||1979 Daughter Anne wins Best Female Vocalist
at Tamworth; Joy wins Song of the Year for Beat Of The Government
Stroke with Tom Oliver. Slim elevated to the Roll of Renown.
||1979 Publishes best selling autobiography
Walk a Country Mile. Identically titled album has achieved
Platinum status in sales.
||1980 Records super hit Duncan, achieving
||1981 Releases 50th album, The Golden
Anniversary Album, reaching multi Platinum status in Australia.
||1984 Release of feature film, The Slim
Dusty Movie. A video also released.
||1985 Trucks on the Track album achieves double award at Tamworth,
Album of the Year and Top Selling Album.
||1986 In November, celebrates 40 years commercial
recording with the one company, EMI Australia. Honoured at a
350 guest dinner attended by music industry figures and artists.
EMI announces that Slim's latest album, Beer Drinking Songs
Of Australia, had gone Gold in the first three weeks of release.
||1987 At Tamworth (Country Music Awards),
truck album Neon City wins Album of the Year.
||1988 In Australia's Bicentennial Year,
travels right round Australia at the head of the biggest country
music show to tour the nation. Mt Bukaroo wins Heritage
||1989 Heritage Award for We've Done Us
Proud. Album G'day, G'day goes Gold. Records first
duo album with daughter Anne.
||1990 Appears in Papua New Guinea as Australia's
representative at the Southern Highlands Province's Independence
Celebrations. Takes show right around Australia.
||1990 Releases double album Coming Home.
Presented with special award acknowledging Slim as the "Artist
of the Decade". Named an "Achiever of the Year"
by the Australia Day Council.
||1991 Two Singers, One Song duo album awarded Top Selling at
Tamworth; Coming Home takes out Album of the Year. November
19 marks the 45th anniversary of Slim's first commercial recording
When The Rain Tumbles Down In July (1946).
||1992 Involved in the formation of the Country
Music Association of Australia holding the position of Chairman
since its inception. Recorded top selling video Live Into
||1993 Celebrates 50th anniversary of continuous
recording in Australia. As guest of Aboriginal band, Yothu Yindi,
Slim and his band tour the Northern Territory and Bathurst Island.
||1994 Marks 40 years since Slim Dusty and
Joy McKean established their touring Slim Dusty Show. Wins Golden
Guitar with Lee Kernaghan for Vocal Group or Duo of the Year
with Leave Him In The Longyard. Tours New Zealand extensively
for the first time in many years. Presented with a double Platinum
award for sales in excess of 20,000 video cassettes for Slim
Dusty - Live Into The Nineties and a Platinum award for sales
in excess of 10,000 video cassettes for Slim Dusty - Across
||1995 On January
20, the Slim Dusty Exhibition opens at the Australian Country
Music Foundation museum in Tamworth. A professionally designed
display of memorabilia collected by Slim and Joy, a vivid history
of country music performing and recording in Australia over a
long span of time. (Exhibition continues as the centrepiece of
the ACMF's Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.)
||1996 Completes his 91st album and an accompanying long-form
Video recording, both aptly titled 91 Over 50, commemorating
Slim's 50th Year with EMI Australia. Re-records his 1980 #1 Australian
hit Duncan with Rolf Harris, the first time the two have
Golden Guitars for Bush Ballad of the Year and Heritage Song
of the Year. Released album A Time to Remember of war-time
favourites, launched at the historic Rocks on Sydney's waterfront.
Part royalties from this album went to Legacy. In May, crossed
the Nullarbor Plain in two Kenworth roadtrains from Thompson's
Transport collecting material for his next truck album. Opened
the Kempsey exhibition "Made on the Macleay" (his home
district). July saw the release of Slim's second autobiography
Another Day, Another Town, and the recording of Makin'
A Mile the truck album released in October this year. Appeared
on the Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville (15th August) by special invitation
from the Country Music Association of America to mark his 50
years of commercial recording for the one company. On his return
to Australia, received the Special Achievement Award from the
Australasian Record Industry Association at the ARIA Awards.
||1998 Awarded another Golden
Guitar, for Bush Ballad of the Year (Lady is a Truckie).
At the Tamworth CM Festival, made over 50 appearances and interviews
in 10 days, and unveiled the Stan Coster plaque at Manilla. In
February, voted a National Living Treasure by the public, a very
special honour. At the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association)
Awards in May, awarded the Ted Albert Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The Not So Dusty tribute album released in June... recordings
of Slim's songs by his peers in the music industry (including
a number of rock and folk artists and bands). Besides touring
during the year, Slim visited his home town of Kempsey where
the Country Music Heritage Festival committee awarded him the
Living Legend Award and he recorded much video footage around
his old home in Nulla Nulla Creek. In September, Slim, Joy and
the Travelling Country Band travelled to the Solomon Islands
to participate in the opening celebrations of the Gold Ridge
gold mine outside Honiara. The closing open air concert was attended
by as many as 30,000 islanders. Altogether, a varied and satisfying
year for Slim.
||1999 For only the second time
in the history of the Australasian Country Music Awards, Slim
missed being in Tamworth due to sudden and urgent cardiac surgery
early in January. He made a very good recovery and was filming
in March for the BBC from Wales, working on two albums and sitting
for portrait painter Judy Cassab. Big surprise to discover that
he was working on his 99th album, which was finally called '99
and released late this year. Named "Father of the Year"
by the NSW Council, and in September, named the inaugural "Senior
Australian of the Year" by the Commonwealth Government.
2000 At the
Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, Slim was awarded
the Australian Bush Laureate Awards Golden Gumleaf Heritage Award
for his contribution to upholding the heritage of bush balladry
and poetry over the years and saw the launch of personalised
postage stamps with his image on a special issue. In his new
'Columbia Lane Studios', Slim has now completed his 100th album,
a landmark for the Australian recording industry. Titled Looking
Forward, Looking Back, the album was released just four weeks
after a giant tribute concert to Slim (Hats Off To Slim) in Tamworth,
Country Music Capital, on the Saturday of the June long weekend
organised and staged by the CMAA. Two weeks after that, "the
country music industry" paid tribute to Slim at a special
function in Sydney's Theatre Royal organised by EMI, following
which Channel 9 rolled in the production crew for a special one
hour Slim Dusty -- This Is Your Life, the second time
Slim has starred in the show... the first one was in 1974. Looking
Forward, Looking Back was certified Gold within three weeks
of release and Slim was on the road again from August in an extensive
tour to promote the album. In September, Looking Forward, Looking
Back surpassed the 100,000 sales mark and on Sunday, October
1, Slim was the final act at the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney
2000 Olympic Games. Preceded by a star-studded programme of entertainers,
Slim walked on to stage just prior to the official announcement
of the closure leading a jam-packed audience of 100,000 plus
spectators in a rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda!
A fitting end to the Games, a fitting tribute to Australia, a
fitting statement for Australian country music!