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Slim Dusty
Birth name David Gordon Kirkpatrick
Born June 13, 1927(1927-06-13)
Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia
Died September 19, 2003 (aged 76)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Australian country music
Occupations musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1938—2003
Labels Regal Zonophone, EMI

David Gordon "Slim Dusty" Kirkpatrick AO, MBE (June 13, 1927 — September 19, 2003) was an Australian country music singer-songwriter. He sold more than seven million albums and singles in Australia.


Early life/career

Slim was born David Gordon Kirkpatrick on June 13, 1927 in Kempsey, New South Wales, the son of a cattle farmer. He adopted the stage name "Slim Dusty" in 1938 at eleven years of age.[1] His earliest musical influences included Jimmie Rodgers. Slim released his first record in 1945 at the age of eighteen. In 1946 he signed his first recording contract with Columbia Graphophone for the Regal Zonophone label.[2]

Rise to fame

In 1951, Slim Dusty married singer-songwriter Joy McKean and with her help, achieved great success around Australia. In 1954, the two launched a full time business career, including the Slim Dusty Travelling Show. His 1957 hit "A Pub With No Beer" was the biggest-selling record by an Australian to that time, the first Australian single to go gold, and the first and only 78 rpm record to be awarded a gold disc.[3]

Over the course of his career, he collected more gold and platinum albums than any other Australian artist. (The "Pub with No Beer" is a real place, in Taylors Arm, not far from Kempsey where Slim was born).[4] In 1959 and 1960 Dutch and German cover versions of the song became number one hits (even evergreens) in Belgium, Austria and Germany, brought by the Flemish country singer-guitarist and amusement park founder Bobbejaan Schoepen.

1964 saw the establishment of the annual Slim Dusty Australia-round tour, a 48,280 kilometres (30,000 mi), journey that went on for ten months.

Dusty not only recorded songs written by himself and other fellow Australian performers, but also recorded classic Australian poems by Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson with new tunes, to call attention to the old 'Bush Ballads.' An example is The Man from Snowy River by Paterson. In 1970, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to music.[5] In 1971 he won Best Single at the Australian Country Music Awards at the Tamworth Country Music Festival (Slim's wife Joy McKean won Song of the Year as writer of the song for which he won best single). In all, he won a record 35 "Golden Guitars" over the years.

Slim Dusty and his wife were patrons of the National Truck Drivers' Memorial located at Tarcutta, New South Wales. The General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee invited him and his wife to perform in 1997, recognising 50 years contributing to Country Music. The following January, he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service to the entertainment industry.[6]

Slim recorded and released his one-hundredth album in 2000 and became the very first music artist in the world ever to do so. He was then given the honour of singing Waltzing Matilda in the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, with the whole stadium singing along with him.


When he died in 2003 he had been working on his 106th album for EMI Records. The album Columbia Lane - the Last Sessions debuted at number five in the Australian album charts and number one on the country charts on 8 March 2004. It went gold after being on sale for less than two weeks.

Columbia Lane is a tribute to the laneway juxtaposed to Parramatta Road in Strathfield (near the railway bridge link), where the EMI studios once stood (now Kennards Hire) and it's where he traversed to crack the national country music market from Kempsey.

He died at home in St Ives, New South Wales on 19 September 2003 after a protracted battle with cancer.[7]


  • Slim Dusty was the first artist broadcast from space when astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen played his rendition of Waltzing Matilda from Space Shuttle Columbia as it passed over Australia on its maiden flight in 1981.[8]
  • Slim Dusty was a guest on the Wiggles' children DVD "Wiggly Wiggly World".
  • His daughter Anne Kirkpatrick is also an award-winning country singer.



  1. ^ "Senior Australian of the Year", 1999 award by the Australian government, retrieved March 10, 2008
  2. ^ "Slim Dusty: The boy who lived his dream", The Age (Australia), September 21, 2003
  3. ^ Dave" Laing, "Slim Dusty: Country singer famous for A Pub With No Beer", The Guardian (UK), September 20, 2003
  4. ^ "North Coast: The Pub With No Beer". NRMA. Retrieved 2008-06-13.  
  5. ^ It's an Honour - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  6. ^ It's an Honour - Officer of the Order of Australia
  7. ^ "Slim Dusty dies", Sydney Morning Herald, September 19, 2003
  8. ^" "Historian of the Bush: Australian country music icon Slim Dusty has died, aged 76 (Obituary: Slim Dusty dead)"], ABC News On-Line, retrieved 2007-06-20.

External links

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