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A TRIBUTE TO REG
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A Tribute to Reg
It was sad that Reg Lindsay, one of Australia's most talented and successful country music stars, should have virtually disappeared from the country scene after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage in Tamworth in 1995.
Although he made a welcome guest appearance on the Golden Guitar Awards in 1996, and appeared at a handful of other events during the late '90s, his health deteriorated and he never really regained his ability to perform. He finally died on August 5th, 2008 at the age of 79.
Reg was a major figure in Australian country music from the early '50s to almost the end of the century. Born in 1929 in Parkes NSW, he will always be associated with his now legendary motorcycle ride from Adelaide to Sydney in 1951 for his winning tilt at Tim McNamara's famous talent quest. Already identified by that maker of stars, The Australian Amateur Hour, his Sydney win set him firmly on the road to commercial success, with a Rodeo records contract, Show Boat gigs, touring and recognition far and wide.
But it wasn't just Reg's fine talents as a singer, songwriter and entertainer that set him apart. He had another key interest, one that was to benefit not only Reg but many other country entertainers. That was his interest and flair for broadcast media. But for the entry in Tim's Talent Quest he could have ended up as an ABC Rural Broadcaster. Instead, fortunately for us, he chose country music rather than just country, though his love for the bush continued for the rest of his life particularly through his enduring involvement with rodeo and horses.
In 1951 he talked his way onto 2CH in Sydney, shortly after switching to 2SM where he entertained big audiences for over 12 years.
But it wasn't just radio. In 1964 Reg was invited to take over Channel 9's country music show from Roger Cardwell. The Country & Western Hour was networked around Australia from Adelaide and was so successful that it ran for seven and a half years followed not long afterwards with a new TV show, Reg Lindsay's Country Homestead from Brisbane. Over his TV and radio years, Reg gave literally hundreds of young artists a boost, helping to develop the industry he loved so much.
In 1968 in the midst of his TV work, Reg started the Reg Lindsay Country Store in Parramatta which he ran for many years.
He also travelled and worked in America enjoying significant success in the late 60s and 70s and receiving many plaudits as well as appearing several times on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1977, John Minson and I watched Reg Lindsay performing at FanFair in Nashville and remember being highly impressed at how this outstanding Australian easily outsang and outshone so many of the much more famous American stars around him.
Reg was one of the first to be inducted into the Hands of Fame in 1977 and he collected a pile of other Awards and recognitions including three Golden Guitars for Best Male Vocal in 1974, 1978 and 1980, the Roll of Renown in 1984 and an OAM in 1989. He recorded some 64 Albums, composed and recorded over 500 songs. His big hits like "Armstrong" carried his voice and reputation as a singer to listeners all over the nation. It was country music with a universal appeal.
Reg Lindsay was a highly successful country music entertainer who through combining his flair for the media with his own huge singing talent was able to bring country music to many Australian over some five decades.
Reg was truly a trailblazer for today's country music.
Max Ellis 2008
For more info, visit www.reglindsay.com.au.
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