His friend Gordon Parsons wrote “A Pub with No Beer,” which Durty recorded in 1957. It became Australia’s best-selling recording ever. The Google Doodle on Monday honors Slim Dusty, one of the most acclaimed musicians in the history of Australia.
During his nearly seven-decade-long career, Dusty released over 100 albums and sold over seven million copies.
The Monday doodle commemorates the day he received the “excellent achievement” award at the 2000 ARIA music awards.
It depicts Dusty playing the guitar while grinning, with a plain of cattle and mountains in the background.
Who was Slim Dusty?
Dusty was born David Kirkpatrick in June 1927 in Kempsey, New South Wales, and was raised on his family’s farm near Nulla Nulla Creek.
He wrote his first song, “The Way the Cowboy Dies,” at the age of 10 and chose his new name the next year because he felt it was more appropriate for a country musician.
Dusty began making records at the age of 15, using his own money to do so, and frequently sent his tunes to radio stations and record firms in the hopes of being discovered. At the age of 19, he obtained a contract with Columbia Graphophone Records, with whom he remained for the duration of his career.
In 1951, he wed fellow singer-songwriter Joy McKean, who became his manager and helped him achieve enormous financial success with his music over the next 50 years.
She penned several of his most successful songs, such as “Lights on the Hill,” “Walk a Country Mile,” “Indian Pacific,” “Kelly’s Offsider,” “The Angel of Goulburn Hill,” and “The Biggest Disappointment.”
McKean was also crucial in arranging Australia’s cross-country trips, which eventually became his renowned Round Australia tours. By car and caravan, they would travel at least 30,000 miles over ten months to spread their music throughout the Australian outback.
Dusty’s music was heavily influenced by the Australian bush and culture, and despite the declining popularity of country music over the course of his career, he was able to achieve prolonged success, particularly within rural populations.
By March 1976, Dusty had more gold and platinum recordings than any other Australian performer, with 37 and 2, respectively.
In 2000, he recorded and published his 100th album, Looking Forward, Looking Back, becoming the first artist in the history of commercial music to do so.
Durty was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and the Australian Roll of Renown, and the Australian public voted him a national treasure.
In 1983, as the spaceship Columbia sailed over Australia, astronauts sent his voice singing “Waltzing Matilda” to Earth, making him the first singer whose voice was transmitted from space.
He sang the same song as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games’ closing show.
A state funeral was held for him in September 2003, when he died at the age of 76 following a protracted fight with lung and kidney cancer.
What was his most popular composition?
In 1957, Durty recorded “A Pub with No Beer,” a song penned by his buddy Gordon Parsons. It became the most popular song ever recorded by an Australian, and he was awarded Australia’s first Gold Record. Additionally, it reached No. 3 on the UK singles list.
His only other number one in Australia was “Duncan,” which he published in 1980, more than two decades later.
Other chart-topping songs include “The Answer to a Pub with No Beer” and “Sequel to a Pub with No Beer” (both 1958), “Darwin (Big Heart of the North)” (1971), “The Biggest Disappointment” (1974), “We’ve Done Us Proud” (1987), and “G’day G’day” (1988).