Vale Geoff Mack (1922 - 2017)

Wednesday, 23 Aug 2017

APRA AMCOS was saddened to hear of the passing last month of beloved songwriter Geoffrey McElhinney OAM, known as Geoff Mack.

Famous for writing the Australian classic I've Been Everywhere, Geoff joined APRA as a member in 1962, the same year his song was a huge hit for Lucky Starr.

"Geoff was one of APRA's most long standing and most successful members. I well remember trying to figure out all the names of the places in I've Been Everywhere when I was a child. This song is an irresistible, catchy idea that has stood the test of time", APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Brett Cottle

More than 130 cover versions of I've Been Everywhere have been recorded, with some of the world's biggest artists recording their renditions - Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Asleep At The Wheel to name a few. More recently, the song was sampled in Rihanna's Where Have You Been?, introducing a new generation to the Australian classic. Localised versions have been recorded around the world, including Hank Snow's North American version, which scored a #1 on the US country music chart.

In 2013 Geoff was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar by the Country Music Association of Australia. That same year, Geoff visited APRA AMCOS for morning tea with Brett Cottle, to celebrate Geoff's 90th year. Geoff spoke with Brett about the inspiration behind the song. He was in Coolangatta, listening to the radio and noticed that all the songs at the time were rock songs, consisting of 12 bars and three chords. He couldn't get any ideas away, and he thought "a bloke oughta write a bloomin' 12 bar song with three chords". He had three road maps in front of him, and in two hours he'd written it out. As Geoff said "it wasn't a song, it was a chant".

As we remember Geoff fondly, our thoughts are with his family and friends.


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