David Gordon “Slim Dusty” Kirkpatrick was born on 13 June 1927 in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia.
The son of a cattle farmer, he was brought up on Nulla Nulla Creek dairy farm. He wrote his first song, entitled “The Way The Cowboy Dies” at age ten and took the name “Slim Dusty” when he was 11.
Slim Dusty wrote his first country music classic “When The Rain Tumbles Down In July” in 1945, when he was just 18, and the following year he signed his first recording contract with the Columbia Graphophone Co. for the Regal Zonophone label.
On 19 November 1946, Slim Dusty made his first commercial recording of six songs, which included “When The Rain Tumbles Down In July”.
Slim Dusty went on to become Australia’s biggest selling recording artist in Australia. Although little-known outside Australia, his fame within his own country is widespread, especially following the 1957 release of his song “The Pub With no Beer”.
He made a point of singing about real Australians, of telling their stories and capturing the Australian spirit in a way that appealed across the generations. He was the first Australian to receive a Gold Record and the first Australian to have an international record hit.
He was the first singer in the world to have his voice transmitted to earth from space when, in 1983, astronauts Bob Crippen and John Young played Slim singing Waltzing Matilda from the space shuttle “Columbia” as it passed over Australia.
Slim Dusty was also one of the first Australians inducted into the Country Music Roll of Renown.
During his 60-year career, he was awarded 65 Golden Guitars, more Gold and Platinum Record Awards than any other Australian artist, ARIA (Australian Recording Industry) Awards and induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, video sales Platinum and Gold Awards, an MBE and Order of Australia for his services to entertainment.
When Slim Dusty died on 19 Septmber 2003, he had been working on his 106th album for EMI Records. The album was Columbia Lane – the Last Sessions.
It debuted at number five in the Australian album charts and was number one on the country charts on 8 March 2004, going gold after being on sale for less than two weeks.