Monday, September 9, 2013

Rolf Harris--Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport (1963)

     For decades now, Rolf Harris has been involved in the arts as a painter, television personality, and music in England. However, his connection to the American music charts had to do with a song he wrote while he was still a struggling artist.
     Harris was born at Perth, Australia in 1930 and first made his mark as a champion swimmer from 1946 to 1952, but from his teenaged years, he had hopes of being an artist. In 1946, at the age of 16 his self portrait in oil was one of 80 chosen to be hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Over the next few years he won several other awards for his paintings. He made the decision to devote his time in full to art after a viral infection in 1952 left him partially paralyzed giving him time to think of his future. He recovered fully, but chose to move to London which he considered to be one of the hubs of the artistic world.
     He spent the next few years learning his craft while at the same time working for BBC on different shows which highlighted he drawing talents. On his off-days he would find himself playing piano accordion at a pub which catered to homesick Australian and New Zealanders called "The Down Under". He worked on his entertainment skills while here, and in 1957 he wrote the song, "Tie Me Down Kangaroo, Sport". In 1960, he was incited into moving back to his homeland when television broadcasting was developed. It was while here he recorded the song which became a hit in Australia and the UK. In 1962 he returned to England when George Martin re-recorded all of the songs he had done in the previous two years. It was this version of "Tie me Down"...that became a hit in the US reaching number 3. Although never having another hit in the states, Harris remains a major figure through his work on the BBC and through his paintings


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