Jan 072023
Legendary Australian Country Music Entertainer
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Slim Dusty, A.O., MBE

13 June 1927 – 19 September 2003

Slim Dusty is considered one of the finest and most influential Australian country music performers of all time. Not only does Slim Dusty have an amazing voice, but he also has a knack for writing some memorable songs


Over the course of his career, he has collected more gold and platinum albums than any other Australian artist. Slim won a record 36 Golden Guitars for his music over the years. In 1979 he was elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown.

In 1970 he became the first Australian country music entertainer to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his service to music and in 1998 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

Passing of an Aussie Icon

Slim died at home in Sydney at 9.10am Friday, 19 September 2003 in the company of his wife Joy McKean and his two children, Anne and David, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

When he died, Slim had been working on his 106th album, for EMI Records. On 8 March 2004 the album Columbia Lane – the Last Sessions debuted at number one on the country charts and number five in the Australian album charts. Less than two weeks later it went gold. The first single Answer to Billy received more airplay than any other country song in the same period.

A Few Highlights in Slim Dusty’s Career

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  • 1927 – Born Kempsey, 13 June. Named David Gordon Kirkpatrick.
              Brought up nearby at a Nulla Nulla Creek dairy farm.
  • 1937 – Aged 10, writes his very first song, The Way The Cowboy Dies.
  • 1938 – Calls himself Slim Dusty.
  • 1942 – Gatecrashes Radio 2KM Kempsey. Makes live radio debut on
              country children’s show, then on Sunday request show.
  • 1942 – Makes his first recording at his own expense – Song for the
     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 Columbia Co. for the Regal Zonophone label. Records six
              titles including When the Rain Tumbles Down in July.
  • 1948 – Part-time show business career until 1954 – intermittent radio, hall show and tent show
  • 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 – Begins 7 year partnership with showman Franky Foster, which established The Slim Dusty
              Show as a large tent show on the showground circuit.
  • 1957 – Records The Pub With No Beer – at that time the biggest selling record ever by an
              Australian artist.
  • 1958 – Son, David Kirkpatrick born.
  • 1958 – Receives Australia’s first Gold record for The Pub With No Beer.
    It was also the first and last gold for a 78rpm record.
  • 1960 – Releases his first LP album titled Slim Dusty Sings.
  • 1964 – Begins annual round Australia Slim Dusty Tour – a 30,000 mile,
              10 month journey
  • 1969 – First tour outside Australia. Tours New Zealand with New
              Zealand’s Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. Also tours New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
  • 1970 – Awarded MBE for services to music.
  • 1973 – At Tamworth’s first Australasian Country Music Awards, receives Best LP award for Me And
              My Guitar
     and Best EP or Single award for Lights On The Hill.
  • 1978 – His first Sydney Opera House performance. The Entertainer – live recording of the
  • 1979 – Publishes best seller autobiography Walk a Country Mile. Same titled album achieved
              platinum status in sales.
  • 1980 – Records super hit Duncan which achieves gold status.
  • 1981 – Slim’s 50th album, The Golden Anniversary Album, reaches multi-Platinum status in
  • 1984 – Greater Union releases the feature film The Slim Dusty Movie.
  • 1985 – Album Trucks on the Track receives Album of the Year and Top Selling Album at Tamworth.
  • 1992 – Helping form the Country Music Association of Australia, Slim held the position of Chairman
              since its inception.
  • 1995 – Permanent Slim Dusty exhibition opened at the Australian Country Music Foundation,
  • 1997 – By special invitation from the Country Music Association of America, Slim appears 15
              August at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville, Tennessee to mark his 50 years of recording for
              one company.
  • 2000 – Received the Golden Gumleaf Heritage award at the 2000 Australian Bush Laurate awards.
  • 2000 – Slim was the final act at the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, October 1,
              with a lively rendition of Waltzing Matilda.
  • 2001 – The Australian country music industry pays a unique tribute voting unanimously to make
              Slim Honorary President For Life of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).
  • 2001 – Australia Post pays national tribute by naming Slim among its Legends stamp series.
  • 2002 – Edith Cowan University in WA awards an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution
              to Australian music.

More Information

  1. Australian Country Music Awards – “Golden Guitar” – on our website, lists all winners and songs.
  2. Slim Dusty Centre
  3. Official Slim Dusty Website
  4. Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA)
  5. Australian Country Music Foundation (ACMF)
  6. Pub with No Beer website

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