Geoff Mack

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Geoff Mack
OAM
Birth name Albert Geoffrey McElhinney
Born 20 December 1922
Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia
Died 21 July 2017 (aged 94)
Benowa, Gold Coast, Australia
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, aircraft mechanic
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1944–2017
Website www.geoffmack.250x.com

Albert Geoffrey McElhinney OAM (20 December 1922 – 21 July 2017), better known as Geoff Mack, was a country singer-songwriter and aircraft mechanic. As a songwriter, he wrote "I've Been Everywhere"[1] which was an Australian hit for Lucky Starr in April 1962[2] and became popular in North America when adapted for Hank Snow in November.[3] More than 130 cover versions have been recorded.[4]

Biography[edit]

Born on 20 December 1922 in Surrey Hills, a suburb of Melbourne.[5][6] His father was William Arthur Henry McElhinney and his mother was Ethel Mary (née Park).[6][7]

Mack's musical career was established during World War II, he enlisted on 4 June 1942 in the RAAF, and was trained as an aircraft mechanic; he was discharged on 7 January 1946 with the rank of corporal from 62 ACW (Airfield Construct Wing).[4][5] In 1944 whilst serving in Borneo, his ability to play the guitar and sing was noticed, and he was seconded to entertain the troops with visiting guest stars. In May 1946, Mack was an ex-serviceman performer on a theatre concert, who "was responsible for most of the laughs with his vocal gymnastics, his number, 'In Der Fuhrer's Face', being a gem of its kind, which had the audience in hysterics."[8]

At the end of the war, Mack went to Japan with the Occupation Forces to perform, and was appointed to Radio WLKS as the voice of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. In August 1950, he returned to Australia after performing for British, American, French, German, and Japanese audiences, including his rendition of "Waltzing Matilda".[9]

His 1959 song, "I've Been Everywhere", became a hit in Australia in 1962 with the release of a cover version by Lucky Starr. It later reached the top of the song charts in the United States, Germany, and Japan. The song has now been recorded in 131 different versions, notably on Johnny Cash's 1996 album Unchained.

Honours[edit]

Mack was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville in 1963, into the Hands of Fame at Tamworth NSW in 1978, and he received the Tamworth Song Writer's Association Song Maker Award in 1997.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005 for his service to country music, and his support of community and senior citizens' groups [1].

In 2013, Mack was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar by Country Music Association of Australia at their annual awards ceremony in Tamworth.[4][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""IVE BEEN EVERYWHERE" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  2. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Lucky Starr'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on August 3, 2004. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 324. 
  4. ^ a b c Douglas, Tim (16 January 2013). "And his song's been everywhere too". The Australian. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "World War Two Nominal Roll". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Family Notices". The Argus (23,844). 6 January 1923. p. 13. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Family Notices". The Argus (23,623). 22 April 1922. p. 13. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "Second 'Welcome Home'". Windsor and Richmond Gazette. 56 (21). 29 May 1946. p. 7. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "Audiences All Liked 'Matilda'". The Age (29,725). 4 August 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "2013 Country Music Awards – CMAA Awards". AllDownUnder (Lady Luck Enterprises). Retrieved 15 August 2016.