Australian songwriter Geoff Mack, who wrote the iconic ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’, has died at age 94.
Mack was born Albert Geoffrey McElhinney on 20 December, 1922 in the Melbourne suburb of Surrey Hills. He wrote ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ in 1959. It was first an Australian hit for Lucky Starr in 1962.
The song starts on the dusty Oodnadatta road. The Australian places then listed in the original song are:
Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Maroochydore, Kilmore, Murwillumbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cunnamulla, Condamine, Strathpine, Proserpine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla, Wallumbilla, Boggabilla, Kumbarilla.
Moree, Taree, Jerilderie, Bambaroo, Toowoomba, Gunnedah, Caringbah, Woolloomooloo, Dalveen, Tamborine, Engadine, Jindabyne, Lithgow, Casino, Brigalow, Narromine, Megalong, Wyong, Tuggerawong, Wanganella, Morella, Augathella, Brindabella
Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Cooranbong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi, Yarra Yarra, Bouindarra, Wallangarra, Turramurra, Boggabri, Gundagai, Narrabri, Tibooburra, Gulgong, Adelong, Billabong, Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta
Ettalong, Dandenong, Woodenbong, Ballarat, Canberra, Milperra, Unanderra, Captains Flat, Cloncurry, River Murray, Kurri Kurri, Girraween, Terrigal, Fingal, Stockinbingal, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Bendigo, Dorrigo, Bangalow, Indooroopilly, Kirribilli, Yeerongpilly, Wollondilly
Mack’s publisher placed the song under the nose of Canadian country star Hank Snow who recorded the first international version also in 1962. Snow starts off on the dusty Winnemucca road and then heads across North America to:
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocopilla, Barranquilla and Padilla.
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana, Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana, Monterey, Ferriday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa, Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa, Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake, Grand Lake, Devils Lake and Crater Lake.
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika, Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica, Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport, Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena and Catalina.
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado, Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado, Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika, Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika, Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Sioux City, Cedar City and Dodge City.
John Hore recorded a New Zealand version in 1966. He starts off in the winding Hokitika road and then heads to:
Kaparoa, Whangaroa, Akaroa, Motueka, Taramoa, Benmore, Pongaroa, Horoeka, Rimutaka, Te Karaka, Whangarei, Nuhaka, Waimahaka, Motuhora, Waikaka, Motunui, Hokonui, Papanui, Wainui, Matawai, Rongotai, Pikowai
Woodville, Dargaville, Lumsden, Katikati, Naseby, Cambridge, Porirua, Mangaroa, Hastings, Tikitiki, Tauranga, Auckland, Naenae, Waitaha, Hamilton, Poroporo, Taupo, Timaru, Oamaru, Tihoi, Awanui, Wanganui, Pauanui
Featherston, Palmerston, Woolston, Te Awamutu, Riverton, Queenstown, Picton, Ohinemutu, Morere, Korere, Rotorua, Kaikoura, Matamata, Ruakura, Ikamatua, Papakura, Waitaki, Pukaki, Taranaki, Te Kauwhata, Ropata, Ikowai, Waitemata
Ruatoki, Mataura, Taupiri, Maketu, Kyeburn, Sowburn, Wedderburn, Mossburn, Washdyke, Arawhata, Paparoa, Kaponga, Te Aroha, Thames, Kerikeri, Kokoma, Tapanui, Porinui, Tawanui, Otahuhu, Ruatapu, Mosgiel, Whareroa
Kapiti, Ngawaka, Onepu, Reporoa, Tongariro, Tomoana, Renwick, Papamoa, Karitane, Oxford, Parihaka, Karetu, Coalgate, Whitecliffs, Urenui, Mamaku, Waimea, Waharoa, Dannevirke, Ngahere, Gordonton, Kingston, Oban
Lucky Starr then had a crack at Great Britain with the song, “peddlin’ me bike on a narrow road near Brighton Sea.
Bradford, Guildford, Oxford, Littlehampton, Bedford, Chingford, Hereford, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Canterbury, Aylesbury, Liverpool, Scunthorpe, Sandthorpe, Mablethorpe, Hartlepool, Whitehall, Blackpool, Mildenhall, Davenport, Newport, Southport, Stockport
Farnborough, Edinburgh, Peterborough, Felixstowe, Middlesbrough, Loughborough, Scarborough, Walthamstow, Blackburn, Lisburn, Bannockburn, Derry, Wicklow, Glasgow, Hounslow, Tipperary, Hempstead, Wanstead, Banstead, Woodstock, Bass Rock, Bell Rock, Tilbury Dock
Weymouth, Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Lewisham, Faversham, Petersham, Chesterfield, Southend, Mile End, Land’s End, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Nottingham, Gillingham, Holyhead, Cambridge, Tonbridge, Knightsbridge, Broadstairs, Edgware, Ross Wear, Carstairs
Westminster, Southminster, Kidderminster, Accrington, Eastbourne, Southbourne, Sittingbourne, Paddington, Bolton, Paignton, Stockton, Inverness, Renwick, Brunswick, Chiswick, Dungeness, Mansfield, Sheffield, Enfield, King’s Cross, New Cross, Charing Cross, Banbury Cross
The fictitious Farrelly Brothers had a comedy crack at it on The Aunty Jack Show in Australia in the 70s.
All up the song has been recorded over 130 times including this version by Johnny Cash who did the Hank Snow version:
The most recent Mack credit was via Rihanna’s ‘Where Have You Been’ in 2012.
Mack made the Songwriters Hall of Fame in America’s country music capital Nashville in 1963. He was awarded the Hand of Fame in Australia’s country music capital Tamworth in 1978.
In 2005 Queen Elizabeth II awarded Geoff the Member of the Order of Australia (OAM). He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar by the Country Music Association of Australia in Tamworth in 2013.
Geoff died at Benowa on the Gold Coast on Friday July 21, 2017.