on Tour here
September 18 1940 (Virgo), Lonnie is the only son of David and Nancy
from a sheep property in Rowena, between Moree and Walgett. Elizabeth
was his sister who was three years younger. She died of cancer in
He attended Trinity Grammar School in Sydney as a boarder for 8
years then at Crows Nest Technical High School.
After leaving school in 1955 he studied accountancy, worked as a
jackaroo, truck offsider, bank clerk, clerk at radio 2GB and a few
other various jobs.
The career actually
first started in 1956 after an appearance on radio 2UW's Alan
Toohey's Amateur Hour. He came second but got a few jobs at parties
and small inner city hotels. He would catch a train or bus and
walk to the venue with his guitar and would sing with no
microphone to small crowds of about 20 people. He was paid about
one pound 10 shillings or $3 for about 2 hours singing.
The next break came after winning
MGM's contest for 'Australia's own Elvis Presley in February 1957.
Just after this he started a trio which was very popular
with really rock crowds.
In 1959 he recorded for Leedon
Records and his first record 'Ain't it so', which he wrote with
Johnny O'Keefe, became his first hit
At this time he started many
years of TV appearances, firstly on ABC's Six O'Clock Rock.
His first release
Ain't it so in 1959, was also his first big hit. This was followed
by Starlight Starbright then in 1960, Yes Indeed I do, I found
a new love, Defenceless. In 1961 and 62 Sit Around and Talk, When
the bells stop ringing, Sitting by the river, Don't you know Pretty
baby and others.
His last #1 record was in 1969
with his own song ' Sad Over Someone' (SOS)
Over all he had 8 national #1 hits and 5 Gold Records.
The Awards and
accolades are too numerous to mention them all here, however the
most important was in 1961 when he was presented with 'The Golden
Microphone Award', as Australia's most popular recording star.
He was also the recipient of
many publicly voted contests in fan magazines, radio and TV shows
etc. Two of these were as...
The most popular star on ABC's Six O'Clock
Rock (even over J.O'K its compere)
and The 2nd most popular star on TCN's
|His first album
was in late 1959 for Leedon Records called 'This is Lonnie Lee'
with his Leemen. Some other albums were 'A Night out with Lonnie
Lee', 'Walkin' with Lonnie Lee', 'Frankfort Special', 'In the middle
of an island', Lonnie's Golden Record', 'Starring Lonnie Lee', 'I
found a new love', etc..
|There are also
too any highlights to mention here however some of them include
having more hits in Australia than Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Chuck Berry and many other American stars - Performing with some
of the biggest stars of the time such as The Everly Bros, Ricky
Nelson, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Crash Craddock, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Tommy Sands, Fabian and many others. - One of only three Australian
stars to have his own tours promoted by promotion legend Lee Gordon,
- the first Australian full colour album cover also the first Australian
Stereo album, the first to have a double sided #1 record, - the
first to have a #1 from an album - the first Australian to have
#1 records and successful tours of New Zealand and many other unique
From his first
New Zealand tour in 1962 he went on to perform in UK, Europe and
the Pacific in cabaret and then onto America in 1971 until 1984
when he returned to live in Australia. In US he toured with his
own band, recorded and started his own record promotion company
for independent labels and stars and wrote songs. His songwriting
scene included writing with and for the late Roy Orbison, Cher,
Florence Henderson, Glen Campbell and others. He spent most of
his time in Nashville Tennessee and in Las Vegas Nevada but also
lived for shorter times in Los Angeles, Seattle and New Jersey.
He was made an 'Honorary Member
of the US House of Representatives' for his service to the Tennessee
community and an 'Arkansas Traveller' for similar reasons.
There are many other stories
and achievements of his life overseas career.
Today, 40 years
later he is still winning hearts and awards.
in both 1998 and 1999 he was presented with the publicly voted
'Australia Post Best Performer' Award and in 2001 was presented
with the 'Best Nostalgia Artist' award. He has also been inducted
into the Rock'n'Roll hall of Fame.
with his fantastic band The Leemen at the biggest venues across
the country and has released 9 CD's in as many years.
out his Gig Guide and visit one of his shows.
You will see just how different and unique this Australian Music
Legend really is
information is available when you download his Biographies and
Download Bios, Photos and Catalogs Here