Lucky Starr (singer)
|Birth name||Leslie William Morrison|
|Also known as||Les Starr|
|Born||29 December 1940|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Associated acts||The Hepparays|
Leslie William Morrison (born 29 December 1940), known professionally as Lucky Starr, is an Australian rock and roll, pop and country music singer, guitarist and television presenter. His most popular single, "I've Been Everywhere", appeared in early 1962, which peaked at number one in Sydney.
Lucky Starr was born as Leslie Morrison in 1940. His father was a motor mechanic and his mother was a housewife, and he had a younger sister. He attended Canterbury High School before starting an apprenticeship as an electrician.
Two-and-a-half years later he began his rock and roll career in 1957 as Les Starr, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, of the Hepparays in Sydney. Other members were Tony Caperero on lead guitar, Bruce Gurr on piano, Dave Taylor played bass guitar and Owen Smith provided drums and percussion. Starr recalled how, "the guitarist in his band taught him [how to play] in five months." After winning several talent quests, "someone idly punned that he was 'a lucky Starr'."
Late in 1959, as Lucky Starr, he signed as a solo artist to Festival Records, and in December he released a four-track extended play, Sentimental Journey. For his early work he used the Hepparays as his backing band. He followed with four singles in the next year. He was a regular performer on television music and variety shows, Bandstand and Six O'Clock Rock, and took over from Johnny O'Keefe as host of the latter for a brief period in 1960, while O'Keefe was touring the United States.
In May 1960 Morrison, aged 19, was involved in a romance with touring Mouseketeer, Cheryl Holdridge, who was under 16. In May 1963 he recalled, "We corresponded when she went back to the States, and I decided then to follow her, somehow. Once, in 1961, I waited up all night to phone her when she was recovering from a tonsils operation. But we are not 'in love' any more, I guess."
Starr released his cover version of the novelty, tongue-twisting single, "I've Been Everywhere", in early 1962, it was written by Geoff Mack, which name-drops numerous Australian towns. It peaked at number one in Sydney in April. "Spinner" from The Biz described the track, "It's a hard hitting novelty number with a slight C and W flavour. Full of gimmicks it features high velocity lyrics in which Lucky recites 120 towns in the Commonwealth... [He] sings each verse in one breath and you'll wonder how he does it when you hear it." Adapted to American towns, it became a United States country music hit for Hank Snow after being released in September of that year.
Starr released a compilation album, I've Been Everywhere, in June 1962, which included his early singles and their B-sides. "Spinner" opined, "[it shows his] versatility to the foil, which is evident in the tracks, 'Candy Pink Lips,' 'Suspense' and "Sweet Georgia Brown.' Other tracks include: 'Heart-Break,' 'Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,' 'I See You as an Angel' and others. In our opinion this LP is worthy of a place in the libraries of both young and the young at heart alike — it's a beauty." According to the journalist, "[he] has worked at his profession perfecting his musicianship, taking voice training, learning acting and dancing — in a word, learning enough to make the most of his 'break' when it came." In July of that year he issued a four-track EP, Lucky's Been Everywhere, with his four versions of "I've Been Everywhere": the Australian one, the US one, the British one and a newly-written New Zealand one.
During 1963 he travelled to the US where "[he] played the Nevada circuit, opening in mid-1963 at the Mapes Hotel Casino Room, Las Vegas." According to The Australian Women's Weekly's Robin Adair the tour was organised by US entertainer, Norman Kaye (of the Mary Kaye Trio). Starr signed with local label, Dot Records, which released a lone single, "Poor Little Jimmy Brown", however "proposed American movie roles and major record deals never happened." He returned late that year to Australia and appeared in Once Upon a Surfie, a Christmas-themed surfing musical alongside "Dig Richards, Jackie Weaver, Bryan Davies, Jay Justin, Rob EG, Jan Green and The Delltones."
Starr issued another solo album, The Silver Spade Digs Lucky, in 1964. He subsequently toured "the USA, New Zealand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Italy." According to Daily Mercury's correspondent, "[he was] the first Australian performer to entertain the troops in Vietnam; in fact paying his own way there and made five subsequent trips into the war zone." During the late 1960s Starr performed as a country musician "and took his travelling show around the Australian bush." In 1980 he was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame with their Hands of Fame.
In September 2015 Starr released a re-working of "I've Been Everywhere" titled, "We're Going Everywhere... On the Old Hume Highway". He has two children and a grandchild. As of July 2015[update] he was still performing regularly.
- I've Been Everywhere (June 1962) Festival Records (FL 30807)
- The Silver Spade Digs Lucky (1964) Festival Records
- Sentimental Journey (December 1959) Festival Records
- Lucky's Been Everywhere (July 1962) Festival Records
- "Somebody Touched Me" (January 1960)
- "The Big Hurt" (March 1960)
- "Wrong" (May 1960) Sydney charts: No. 40
- "Yeah That's How (Rock'n'Roll was Born)" (September 1960) Sydney charts: No. 31
- "Someone Else's Roses" (March 1961) Sydney charts: No. 37
- "I've Been Everywhere" (early 1962) Sydney charts: No. 1
- "June in Junee" (1962)
- "Hot Rod" (1962)
- "Mule Skinner Blues" (1963)
- "Come on In" (1963)
- "Poor Little Jimmy Brown" (1964)
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 8 February 2010. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
- Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara; Paul McHenry (2002) . The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
- "How Lucky Starr Reached Stardom". The Australian Women's Weekly. 30 (51). Australia, Australia. 22 May 1963. p. 3 (Teenagers' Weekly). Retrieved 21 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Lucky Starr 1980". The Australian Country Music Hands of Fame. Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- Baker, Ainslie (11 November 1959). "Listen Here with Ainslie Baker". The Australian Women's Weekly. Teenagers' Weekly. 27 (23). p. 7. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a photo of Starr.
- 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 3 August 2004.
- Spencer et al, (2007) "Starr, Lucky" entry
- Feitz, Marie; Crosby, Gail; Pugsley, Loretta (23 September 1959). "Interview with Lucky Starr". The Biz. p. 4. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Baker, Ainslie (16 December 1959). "The Sapphires Are Soaring". The Australian Women's Weekly. Teenagers' Weekly. 27 (28). p. 7. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Forever Hold Your Banner High, by Jerry Bowles, 1976, pg 65 ISBN 0-385-11622-5
- "Mouseketeer Cheryl dies at 64, linked to Lucky Starr, Presley". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- Spinner (4 April 1962). "Entertainments Turntable Talk". The Biz (2911). p. 9. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Spinner (6 June 1962). "Entertainments Turntable Talk". The Biz (2920). p. 8. Retrieved 21 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Baker, Ainslie (25 July 1962). "Local Boys Still on Top: e.g., Rob!". The Australian Women's Weekly. Teenagers Weekly. 30 (8). p. 11. Retrieved 21 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Singer who made 'I've Been Everywhere' famous to visit". Daily Mercury. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- Who's who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry. catalogue. National Library of Australia. September 2002. ISBN 9781865038919. Retrieved 8 February 2010.