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Albert Geoffrey McElhinney OAM
Born on December 20th 1922 at Surry Hills, Victoria, Geoff “ Tangletongue” Mack’s greatest claim to fame is that he wrote the 1959 hit song "I've Been Everywhere" recorded so successfully by Lucky Starr.
Geoff also had success with the American, German and Japanese versions that he wrote; in fact, in 1963 the CM
fraternity in the US presented him with a citation for composing Hank Snow’s chart topping version of the song.
Geoff had begun performing professionally in 1944 while still in the RAAF. He was in Borneo at the time, just singing around the camps and messes when he was asked to support Gracie Fields with 18,000 troops in the audience.
Geoff Mack OAM
Echidnas Website
On his return to Australia, Geoff toured in NSW with Barton’s Follies tent show and worked the Tivoli circuit. He went to Japan to perform for the occupation forces and finished up as a radio announcer on WLKS the voice of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces.
Moving to England in 1948 he worked there and in Europe for the next 6 years. In Germany, Geoff met English comedian and dancer Tabby Francis, and they married in 1953; they then rode their motorbike out to Sri Lanka (Called Ceylon at the time), shipped to Fremantle in Western Australia and rode across the Nullabour Plains, arriving in Sydney in December 1954. With Lucky Grills they formed Carol’s Varieties, the last of the big tent shows, and toured the Eastern states for 10 months each year until 1965.
Geoff did a lot of club and festival work in the following years and in 1978 was immortalised in cement at the Tamworth Hands of fame. He then set off to tour the country with Slim Dusty till 1983. But Geoff still has slowed down a bit now – and remains a perennial favourite at each Tamworth CM Festival.
Geoff Mack OAM Dec 22, 1922   -   July 20, 2017
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