Horrie Dargie

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Horrie Dargie
Birth name Horace Andrew Dargie
Also known as Horrie Dargie
Born (1917-07-07)7 July 1917
Origin Whyalla, South Australia, Australia
Died 30 August 1999(1999-08-30) (aged 82)
Genres Rock n Roll, pop
Occupation(s) song writer, harmonicist, clarinetist
Years active 1930s – 1980s
Associated acts The Harlequintet
Horrie Dargie Quintet
Notable instruments
Chromatic harmonica

Horace Andrew Dargie (7 July 1917 – 30 August 1999) was an Australian musician and harmonicist.


Horrie Dargie was born in Whyalla, South Australia, the second son of Andrew Dargie and Adelaide (née Sargent).[1] His older brother Sir William Dargie was a noted Australian portrait artist.

Dargie began his musical career as a diatonica harmonica player. He joined the Yarraville Mouth Organ Band, which practised in a shoe repairshop. Later he joined William Ketterer's "Victorian Mouth Organ Band". This band consisted of the most promising players in the state of Victoria.

In the early 1930s he took up the chromatic harmonica and won a variety competition on a local radio station in 1937. In 1938 he moved to Sydney.

Dargie studied clarinet and orchestration and started his own harmonica school in Sydney. With Williamson, Lois, and Metcalfe on chromatics, and Shea on chords and Bertram on bass he started a harmonica group, The Rockin' Reeds.

Horrie Dargie joined the Australian Army in 1941 and served in New Guinea and later in the occupational forces in Japan. He returned to Melbourne in 1947 and subsequently formed the famous Horrie Dargie Quintet. By 1952 the Quintet had risen in popularity by dint of hard work, and played their farewell concert at the Sydney Town Hall in 1952 before leaving for England. By chance, a recording was made of the performance on a wire recorder using just one microphone. The 10″ record of the farewell concert became Australia's first Gold Record, selling 75,000 copies.[1] Upon arrival in England the Quintet performed at the Empire in London and an agent recognised the group's performance as unique because of their distinctive sound, humour, and individual style. They never copied or made renditions of numbers by overseas performers. Whilst on tour in London Horrie contracted polio – apparently he collapsed on stage. The disease affected his diaphragm and legs, at the time he was told he would not be able to play a wind instrument again. He once described the illness as a 'bit of a problem' – he was paralysed except for his right arm and he could swallow.[1] With persistence he recovered and the Quintet later performed upon their return at the Tivoli in 1958. One of their more well known numbers was "Green Door" which become a hit in its own right.

In 1958 Dargie returned to Australia where he took up a position at Channel 9, where he was in charge of the talent division – variety was very popular at the time and Dargie did four or five shows a week. He compered the BP Super Show and also was responsible for the Delo and Daly Show, He was the first Australian compere of the show The Price Is Right[2] and managed the The Go!! Show, a pop music show that regularly featured entertainers such as Johnny Young, Ian Turpie and Olivia Newton-John.[3] Dargie also established Go!! Records in 1964 to promote artists who appeared on the show. In August 1967 Channel 0 Melbourne abruptly cancelled The Go!! Show and the loss of its major promotional outlet led to the demise of the Go!! record label.[4]

Dargie is also remembered for his musical arrangements for the film Crocodile Dundee and the TV show The Leyland Brothers. He also played the background music for the TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.


In 1996 he was inducted into the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards Hall of Fame in recognition for his effort in being the first Australian to achieve gold record status.[5]


Horrie Dargie died on 30 August 1999.[6][7]


  • "I Hear A Rhapsody" Regal Zonophone (G24419) (November 1941)
  • "The Sunshine State" Columbia (DO4018) (February 1959) #81 AUS
  • "The Alexandra Waltz" Columbia (DO4085) (August 1959) #33 AUS
  • "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport"[8] Astor (A7007) (May 1960) #34 AUS
  • "Got A Zac in the Back of Me Pocket" Astor (A7011) (October 1960) #75 AUS
  • "My Boomerang Did Come Back" Astor (A7015) (March 1962) #98 AUS

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dargie, Roger (22 March 2004). "The artists and the musician:William and Horrie Dargie". The La Trobe Journal. Retrieved 29 May 2008. 
  2. ^ Warneke, Ross (7 July 2005). "House call aids cut Price blues". The Age. Retrieved 29 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Television – The Go!! Show". Milesago. Retrieved 29 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Go!! Records". Milesago. Retrieved 27 June 2008. 
  5. ^ "ARIA Hall of Fame". ARIA. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  6. ^ "Artist's footsteps". Retrieved 29 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "Interview with Horrie Dargie, musician". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 29 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Where did they get that song?". Poparchives.com. Retrieved 27 June 2008.