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Barry Thornton 1991

Barry Thornton

1934 - Born on June 14th in Junee, N.S.W. the oldest of 16 children.

1952 - At the age of 17 purchased his first guitar for 12 pounds while working in Sydney and living with his grandparents.  After learning a few basic cords he entered a talent quest at Eden Park near Sydney and came second singing a Wilf Carter song.

1954 - While doing the talent quest circuit Barry came to the attention of Slim Dusty and was later invited to tour with the Slim Dusty Show for three months which turned into 19 years. He joined the show as a singer originally but took on the character of Mulga Dan and while he at first showed the signs of a shaky lead guitarist he emerged into one of our most respected instrumentalists with a distinct recognisable sound.

1959 - Meets his future wife, Pauline, in Tasmania after she is offered a job as an usherette.

1961 - Barry and Pauline marry. They have two children Meryl and Brian.

1970 - Barry's first solo attempt is "Talking Guitar”, one of the first EP's EMI produced in Australia. On the other side Shorty Ranger released "Winter Winds" which history shows as the most popular Australian Country Instrumental of the time. "Country Guitar" was Barry Thornton’s follow-up EP.

1974 – Becoming tired of touring and being away from his family for 11 months of the year he takes a job driving heavy equipment for 12 months east of Lake Eyre. Missed playing his guitar.

1979 – Recorded an album with “Capital Country” a Canberra based group for whom he played lead guitar.

1980 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame in Tamworth.

1981 - Selection Records released "The Country Way" Barry's first solo album.

1982 - Golden Guitar for Instrumental of the Year with "Brian's Tune" off "The Country Way" album. Barry was to stay with Selection Records for the next 20 years.

Barry with wife Pauline, children Meryl and Brian, moved to Queensland's Sunshine Coast with Barry becoming heavily involved with The Queensland Champion of Champion Competition, a body he worked for all the way from its inception.

1982 - Produced another ten or more solo albums over the next ten years, and at the same time being a session musician on many other albums for other artists while supporting and encouraging new and young artists in their endeavours.

1990 – Ill health slows his performing. Has a triple bypass operation.

1991 - Barry Thornton was elevated onto the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown at the time of elevation being the only specialist instrumentalist to have received this honour.

2002 – Passed away on July 28th at the age of 68.

 He was one of the legends who will be remembered for originating the lead guitar sound of the Australian Bush Ballad which has helped to give Australian country music its own unique sound since the 1950's.