Johnny Ashcroft, the Australian country singer best known for his hits ‘Little Boy Lost’ (1960), ‘The Girl Behind The Bar’ (1962), ‘Playground In My Mind’ (1973) and ‘Holy Joe The Salvo’ (1975), has died at the age of 94.
Johnny’s first hit ‘Little Boy Lost’ is considered Australia’s first country-rock song, years before the term was used.
Johnny’s great, great, great grandfather Corporal John Gowen arrived in Australia in 1788 on the First Fleet’s HMS Sirius. His great, great, grandfather was a convict arriving in 1814 on the Surrey.
Country Capitol Music News report:
We are saddened to hear the news of the passing of the great Johnny Ashcroft OAM.
Johnny Ashcroft’s career has been long and successful.
He learned from the Great Levante and toured his first major road show in 1947 as part of the biggest vaudeville outfit in Australia.
In 1948 he worked on showboats, made two appearances on Australia Amateur Hour and toured in NZ where he met and married his first wife Shirley Williams. They had three children John, Tracey and Mark.
His first commercial recordings were six sides on 78rpms for Rodeo Records, in 1954.
In 1958, he recorded his first hit song, They’re A Weird Mob based on John O’Grady’s book, in skiffle style.
In 1960, he wrote and recorded Little Boy Lost which became a hit song and sparked a movie, released in 1978.
In 1971, as part of Radio 2TM’s 36th anniversary, Johnny was presented with three Gold LP Records before a live audience at Tamworth Town Hall – an industry first. During the show, he suggested Tamworth should hold an annual awards night now known as the Golden Guitar Awards.
In 1975 he wrote the first Australian female trucking song recorded by Gay Kayler who became his wife in 1981.
Again in 1975, Johnny became the inaugural president of the Tamworth Songwriters Association and in 1986, he was elevated to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.
In 1990 Johnny was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the entertainment industry and the community–and for his support for Aboriginal rights.
Thank you Johnny Ashcroft for your extraordinary service to Australasian country music.
Johnny Ascroft was active as a recording artist from 1956 to 1999. His last album was ‘They’re A Weird Mob’ in 1999.
Johnny Ashcroft was awarded the Medal of the Order Of Australia (OAM) in 1990.
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