Someday I know, I'll be returning, He married, in 1956, Marjorie Peters, who died last year; their daughter survives him. Marjorie died in July 2011. I talk with people and I get their feedback. The ARIA Hall of Fame inductee was made an officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 and appointed a National Living Treasure the same year. [4][14] In 1958, Little married fellow singer, Marjorie Rose Peters. The foundation works with patients in regional and remote Australia and partnered with The Fred Hollows Foundation in 2009 to develop a nutrition and education program for indigenous children to reduce the cycle of bad nutrition leading to diabetes which can lead to kidney failure and diabetic retinopathy. And his music resonated across generations of music fans. 1 in Sydney and No. Little was a warm and gentle person who was born at the Cummeragunja Mission outside Barmah on the banks of the Murray River. (laughs)He just had this thing, he was a very special man.SIMON SANTOW: Brendan Gallacher toured and played with Jimmy Little for much of the last decade.BRENDAN GALLACHER: I was quite often being in the presence of greatness. [13] When 16 years old he travelled to Sydney to perform on a radio programme, Australia's Amateur Hour. Jimmy Little, who has died aged 75, became the first Aboriginal pop star when his version of an old gospel tune, Royal Telephone, made it to the top of the Australian charts in 1963. Yorta Yorta Man Jimmy Little. March 1958),[13] who is a documentary film-maker, writer and historian. [4] At the age of 13 Little was given a guitar and within a year he was playing at local concerts. And he said to the Government, 'it is the wise elders who will show you how to close that space. A cover of Sunnyboys' "Alone with You" followed for the Timelines: The Intergenerational Music Project album in September, an album issued to celebrate the Year of Older People in 1999. In the Billy Graham evangelical feature Shadow of the Boomerang he played an Aborigine confronted by a racist cowboy. On Australia Day (26 January) 2004, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia with the citation, "For service to the entertainment industry as a singer, recording artist and songwriter and to the community through reconciliation and as an ambassador for Indigenous culture". I was born on the banks of the Murray, Yorta Yorta is my mothers tribal clan. Another early single, written by his father, was entitled Give the Coloured Boy a Go. And he put out a formal statement calling on musicians to unite, calling on the Australian public to appeal to the Government. Like the legend of my tribal boomerang. Will be waiting for this Yorta yorta man. [13] Little signed with Festival Records and in September 1959, he had his first charting single, "Danny Boy", from the extended play, Jimmy Little Sings Ballads with a Beat, which peaked at No. JIMMY LITTLE was a genuinely lovely soul who loomed large in Australian popular music history. Conversations with family and common knowledge in Armidale recognise Cyril Green as the band member. I'm her son but my fathers name I carry. Ross, Dick (1980). (Jimmy Little singing)JIMMY LITTLE: I do identify with people from all walks of life in the land that I'm, you know, most familiar with. [7] By 2001 Messenger was certified by ARIA with a gold record for shipments of 35,000 units.[23]. [7][8] Little later recalled his upbringing, "[my parents] taught me well about the value of life, freedom, love, respect, all those basic things that we need. James Oswald Little, AO (1 March 1937 – 2 April 2012)[1] was an Australian Aboriginal musician, actor and teacher from the Yorta Yorta people and was raised on the Cummeragunja Reserve, New South Wales. For more than a decade he'd battled kidney disease, eventually receiving a life-saving transplant.He had been living with his daughter Franny in the New South Wales town of Dubbo. Jimmy Little (1937 - 2012, legal name James Oswald Little) was the first Aboriginal person to have a top 10 single in Australia. [5][6] His mother was a singer and yodeller who had joined Jimmy Sr.'s troupe. Jimmy Little (March 1, 1937 - April 2, 2012) was a famous Australian Aboriginal singer. Jimmy Little Sr. was a tap dancer, comedian, musician and singer who led his own vaudeville troupe along the Murray River during the 1930s and 1940s. [34] In 2002 he was diagnosed with kidney failure and was placed on dialysis and, in 2004, had a kidney transplant. 9 in Sydney. Dawson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. That no matter where I go, my river people, ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album, "Jimmy Little's long battle with illness ends", http://cpcabrisbane.org/Kasama/2007/V21n1/AroundDiningTable.htm, https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A108535, "Vale Jimmy Little: Beloved Musician Dies", "Listen Here – Col Joye Planning to go into Orbit", "Listen Here – New Girl Singer with Pretty Accent", "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums", Australian Recording Industry Association, "Music honours for Jimmy Little and Peter Sculthorpe", "Thumbs Up! He released his first single, Mysteries of Life, in 1956. His mother was a singer and yodeller who had joined Jimmy Sr.'s troupe. I'm her son but my fathers name I carry, as I walk through this great and ancient land. On 2 April 2012, Little died at his home in Dubbo, aged 75 years. 30 in Melbourne. [34] He also developed a heart condition. He could walk into a room unannounced and people would turn and go, 'there's a star here.' Like the legend of my tribal boomerang. He had the X-factor.SIMON SANTOW: Veteran journalist, Jeff McMullen, knew Jimmy Little well.JEFF MCMULLEN: My favourite image of him is only a couple of years ago, out under the stars sitting with old song men from the Jawoyn area at Beswick Falls. Deborah has written Australia’s first Indigenous opera about the ‘Cummeragunja Walk-Off’ a protest against maltreatment, in which coincidently, Jimmy’s father played a role. [6], Little grew up, the eldest of seven children, on the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve on the Murray River in New South Wales, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Echuca in Victoria. At 62 years of age, Jimmy Little had hit the big time again. Jimmy Little was Australia’s first Aboriginal recording star with his worldwide 1960s hit song Royal Telephone. The same year, he was inducted into Australian Roll of Renown,[5] the highest honour an Australian country music artist can achieve. Clip description Black-and-white footage shows Jimmy Little singing on his television show in 1963. The experience led him to launch the Jimmy Little Foundation in 2006 to help the many other indigenous Australians who are succumbing to kidney disease. But you know,,, I can pack it up, and yes,,, leave it all behind me, In 1959 he had a somewhat incongruous hit with the Irish folk ballad Danny Boy, which peaked at number nine in the charts, though his big break came with Royal Telephone. By the end of his life Little was regarded as the “Grandfather of Aboriginal music” and was showered with honours. [14][35] On 2 April 2012 Little died at his home in Dubbo, aged 75 years. Nothing demonstrates the power of bloodline more than the extraordinary story of Jimmy’s stolen generation niece. Little had been battling ill health and complications for a decade. In 2000 he was a guest of The Wiggles on their children's DVD Wiggly Wiggly World. And my city ways of living, well, they may be grand. As I walk through this great and ancient land. [7] Little made his acting debut in the Billy Graham evangelical feature film Shadow of the Boomerang the same year. Little was a diabetic with a heart condition and, in 2004, had a kidney transplant. JIMMY LITTLE: Let them know I'm still 100 per cent, 110 per cent Jimmy Little in the spirit, in the heart, in the mind and in the memory. She died before Christmas; Jimmy died at home this morning.He was a hero to many for his music and for his work in helping disadvantaged Aboriginal communities.Simon Santow looks back at a remarkable man.SIMON SANTOW: Jimmy Little was born on a mission on the Murray River, not far from the New South Wales-Victorian border. Further reference coming. [28], Little was diagnosed with kidney failure and, in 2004, after two years of self-administered dialysis he received a life-saving kidney transplant. [7] Further non-charting singles were released until 1978's "Beautiful Woman". His natural, warm singing voice was perfect for the times. Little returned in September 2001 with Resonate, an album featuring songs written by Paul Kelly, Don Walker, Bernard Fanning (from Powderfinger), Brendan Gallagher and Dave Graney. I'm a Koori and I come from Cummeragunja, Exactly. He was a universally loved figure among Aboriginal people and in the wider Australian public. In the cities of course it was the younger, everyone from Neil Finn to Nick Cave gave songs generously to Jimmy at a point when that Messenger album revived the great career and told a whole new generation of Australians that there are very few voices as golden as this one.SIMON SANTOW: He helped with his charity work and served as a trustee in the foundation set up in Jimmy Little's name.JEFF MCMULLEN: He really was a man of love, of gentleness, a very deeply spiritual man. He was a one off and he brought a lot of joy to people and he'll be very missed.SIMON SANTOW: Jimmy Little was 75. Someday I know I'll be returning, [13] In 1955 Little left home to live in Sydney and pursue a career in country music, he was influenced by Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Jim Reeves. Little was at core a decent man who was widely respected within the Aboriginal community. [14] He is survived by his daughter, Frances, and his grandson, James Henry Little. And the little boy with the big, big smile could sing. [7] As well as appearing in Tracy Moffatt's Night Cries and Andrew Schultz's opera Black River, his teaching and community work earned him the title of NAIDOC Aboriginal of the Year in 1989. [9] He is an uncle of writer, soprano, and composer Deborah Cheetham and older brother of the late Aboriginal author and singer-songwriter Betty Little. 3 in Melbourne. The song, with its singalong refrain “Telephone to glory, O what joy divine!/ I can feel the current moving on the line,/ Built by God the Father for His loved and own,/ You can talk to Jesus thru’ this royal telephone”, was a big hit on the radio and sold 75,000 copies. He was a consummate mellow balladeer who was often favourably compared to both Nat King Cole and the smooth US country crossover singer Jim Reeves. He died surrounded by his family this morning.BRENDAN GALLACHER: Going to miss him terribly. 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