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Jonnie RUSSELL (1985)

Jonnie Russell

1942 – Born on October 25th at Guilford, Sydney.

As a teenager of just 17 years Jonnie entered Radio 2UW's "Amateur Hour" in Sydney performing the Don Gibson hit "Oh Lonesome Me". To his utter surprise he won the contest outright, which led in turn to quite a few offers of work including a 2 year stint at the Collingwood Hotel in the Sydney suburb of Liverpool, where he featured in a cabaret type show with various musicians including the well known piano man George Boyer.

In the years ahead Jonnie gained a lot of experience doing the "Hard Yards" working the Sydney Club and Hotel circuit as well as holding down a day job as a clerk in a city office. 

1972 – Signed a two and a half year record deal with Opal Records in Tamworth.

Released an EP “Girls In My Life” and later the album “My Hearts In A Prison”.

1981 - On his first visit to Nashville he was invited to do several guest spots as well as recording 2 tracks at Music Mill Studios with production by award -winning producer Harold Shedd.  The 2 tracks were Andy King compositions, "Make My Coffee Black" and "I Feel Loved".

Other career highlights include his performance at the world famous Fan Fair in Nashville and also his appearance on the Carl Tipton TV Show on W.T.V.F. Channel 5 also out of Nashville.

1982 – He wrote and recorded a tribute song to Sir Charles Kingsford Smith “The Immortal Southern Cross”.

1984 - Inducted into the "Hands of Fame" at Tamworth.

1999 - Inducted into the "Hall of Fame" (Walk of Honour) in Barmera, South Australia.

Other festivals Jonnie Russell has appeared at include, Mildura, Gympie, Kempsy, to name only a few. He has also done many tours with various musicians such as the late pedal-steel guitarist Norm Bodkin and Dave Tyne of "Cedar Creek" fame.

Jonnie has always had an interest in Australian History, in particular Australian aviation. He says, "My late father, who was a school teacher, had always impressed upon me from an early age how important it was to learn about our early history and heritage."

Through the years this has led to his writing several songs to do with aviation including  "The Immortal Southern Cross" which is his  tribute to Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith's and his famous aircraft. Another song "Solo Woman" was written by Jonnie as a tribute to Gaby Kennard - the first Australian woman to fly solo around the world in 1989.  Another song that proved popular was "Sydney Public Transport Blues", a favourite of Radio 2UE's Mike Carlton.