1964 - April 15, born in
1969 - Enrols at
First public performance on the
Chickadees radio talent show on local station 2AY. Lee sings the
Rolf Harris song "Two Little Boys".
1973 - Starts piano lessons with Mrs Irene Ball.
1974 - Plays the morning National anthem at school assemblies.
1975 - Forms first band, "The Blue Devils" with brother Greg on
drums and best friend Glen Simpson on bass/keyboards.
1976 - Sister Tania joins the band. The group renames to "Angel
and the Blue Devils". Plays at school fetes, charity shows and
many pensioner Christmas parties.
1977 - Lee writes his first song "Country Music Man". Lee enrols
1978 - The Kernaghan family join legendary touring outfit "The
Rick and Thel Carey Show" for a six month around Australia tour. Lee writes many
songs on the tour including "Midnight Lady" which Ray records on
the "Jet Set Country" album. Lee makes his first series of demo
recordings while on tour.
1979 - Lee wins the Capital Country Music Association of
Australia (CCMA) award for best male artist under sixteen at
Tamworth, NSW. Top 10 Finalist in the National
Starmaker Awards. Ray Kernaghan releases his second career album
"Jet Set Country", featuring Le on piano, his first studio
session. Two Lee Kernaghan songs make it on to this album:
"Midnight Lady" and "Matilda, Queen of the Tar" (a tribute to
the world’s first Jet powered truck, Waltzing Matilda). First
professional gig at the Boomerang Hotel, Albury, NSW. Wins open
section Best Male Vocalist at the Swan Hill Pioneer Country
Music Festival performing own composition "Midnight Lady".
1980 - Forms country band "Lee Kernaghan and the Coca-Cola
1981 - Lee leaves High School and gets a job working for Ray’s
record label Kernaghan Country Records. Lee’s job entails
wrapping records and cassettes, writing invoices and despatching
to record retailers around the country.
1982 - Ray begins the Cavalcade of Stars Tour. The tour travels
around Australia for nine months non stop with special guests
Ray Kernaghan, Lee (full time band member and special guest),
brother Greg Kernaghan on drums, Tania Kernaghan special guest
artist, the Jet Set Country Showband, Miss Truckin’ Julie Perry,
television and recording artist Eureka Smith, a computerised
"driver-less" car and Jet Truck Waltzing Matilda, driven by Ray
Kernaghan. Tour concludes at Nambour in
Queensland, September, 1982. October
1982, Lee enters and wins the National Starmaker Award.
1983 - Lee signs first publishing deal with Castle Music.
Records first commercial single Cheaters/Advance Australia
Again" on the Countryman label. Single produced by Doug Trevor
and featuring Tommy Emmanuel on electric guitar.
1984 – Finalist at the Australian Country Music Awards for Male
Vocal and Best New Talent.
1985 - Records
Australia’s first father and
son country album "Family Tradition”, featuring the duets "It
Never Rains it Pours" and "Family Tradition". Second career
single released: "Back to Strangers/We’re Gonna be Lovers".
1986 - Country Music America (CMA)
select Lee and Ray to represent Australia at the
International Fan Fare show in
Tennessee. Lee sees childhood
hero, Hank Williams Jr. at the Starwood Amphitheatre. Lee writes
with legendary songwriters Charlie Craig and Wally Wilson at
Screen Gems and Tree Music.
While in Nashville, Lee records demo tracks "Almost Like I’m
Lovin’ You Again", "Hotter than Hot", "Some Hearts Learn the
Hard Way" and "Almost in Love". The session is produced by the
famous producer and songwriter Bob Montgomery.
Lee meets and records demos for
record producer Garth Porter. Tracks cut were Porter/Kirk
compositions "Embers of the Fire", "Field of Green" and "Comin’
Down with You".
1987-1989 - Plays in the Ray Kernaghan Band with guest spot on
club tours. Continues to play pub and club circuit around home
town of Albury, NSW. Bands repertoire consists mainly
of pop covers and old time Rock’n’Roll. Lee finding it
increasingly difficult to get gigs playing country music and
1989 - Finds work in a piano bar "The Bullring Restaurant",
Albury, NSW. Lee plays final gig at the Carriers Arms Hotel,
Victoria. Nobody turns up to see
1990 - Broke, disillusioned and burnt out from the covers music
scene, Lee decides to give music away forever. The Lee Kernaghan
band is disbanded. Lee applies for a day job at a friend’s local
real estate agency.
1991 - Garth Porter convinces Lee to travel to
for a week to write songs. Lee and Garth write "Boys from the
Bush" and record demo tracks, including "High Country", "She
waits by the Sliprails", "Searchin’ for Another You" and "
You’re the Reason I Never Saw Hank Jr. play.
Music Publisher John Broomall signs Lee to Warner
Chappell publishing to help pay for demo recordings.
1992 – January - First live
performance of "Boys from the Bush" at the Tamworth Services
Club. Lee signs his first management contract with Jeff Chandler
and Kevin Jacobsen Management. ABC Music sign Lee to a three
April - "Boys from the Bush" released as a single. Lee joins the
James Blundell band on keyboards and opens as support act for
May - Lee’s debut album "The Outback Club" is released
June - First tour show since the release of "The Outback Club".
The McCormack brother’s band becomes Lee’s backing band and they
travel to the Coral at Wollongong, NSW for the first performance. The
truck breaks down, the P.A. is two hours late and only eleven
people turn up to see Lee play.
August - Support Billy Ray Cyrus "Achy Breaky Heart Tour" in
Sydney and Melbourne.
September - "Boys from the Bush" goes
to number one nationally. Lee’s second single "High Country"
hits number one on the national charts.
1993- January – Golden Guitars for
Song Of The Year "Boys from the Bush", Album Of The Year "The
Outback Club", Best Male Vocal "Boys From The Bush". Lee records
his first music video "Boys from the Bush"
April – July- Lee records his second album "Three Chain Road"
and records duet
"Leave him in the Longyard" with Slim Dusty
August – “Three Chain Road released”
September – December - APRA Country
Song Of The Year - 'Boys From The Bush'.
1994 – January. Golden Guitars for
Song Of The Year "Three Chain Road"; Album Of The Year
"Three Chain Road"; Best Male Vocal "Three Chain Road"
and Vocal Collaboration with Slim Dusty "Leave Him In The
Australia Record Industry Award (ARIA) - Country Record of the
Year "Three Chain Road".
Country Music Magazine Peoples Choice Award Entertainer of the
Year and Most Popular Male Artist
"Southern Sons" music video is recorded.
September - Lee wins the CMAA
Entertainer of the Year Award.
1995 – January. Golden Guitars for
Top Selling Album of the Year - "Three Chain Road"
June - MO Award for "Male Performer of the Year". Lee releases
his third career album titled "1959".
Variety Club of Australia - The Australian
Entertainer Of The Year. MO Awards Country Performer Of The Year
and Male Country
Performer of The Year.
August - '1959' certified gold.
November - 'Outback
Club' certified platinum.
December - '1959' single released to
1996 – January. Golden Guitars for
Album of the Year - "1959". Inducted into the Australian Country
Music Hands of Fame in Tamworth.
September - The Country Music Association of Australia names Lee
"Entertainer of the Year". MO Awards - Male Country Performer Of
November - "1959" certified Platinum
Album. Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Award—
Country Song of the Year - Lee Kernaghan / Garth Porter "1959".
1997 – January. Golden Guitars for
Top Selling Album "1959"; Vocal Collaboration of the Year -
Tania Kernaghan & Lee Kernaghan
"A Bushman can't Survive"
March - December - Lee travels extensively through Western
Queensland, Northern Territory and Outback New South Wales. Lee
sees first hand the hardships being experienced by many people
and towns in rural Australia and
makes plans to take a fundraising tour for bush communities out
on the road.
Upon arriving into Charleville Queensland on a busy Saturday morning, Lee
noticed many utes and mud splattered four wheel drives parked in
the main street. He also noticed that most of the locals wore
Akubra hats. It was here on that legendary Saturday morning that
the idea for a song called "Hat
MO Awards - Male Country Performer Of
1998 – February- releases his fourth
career album "Hat Town". "Getting’ Gone" and "Goondiwindi
Moon" music videos released.
September - Lee's launches the Toyota Pass The Hat Around
Australia Tour with fundraising concerts.
November - Lee releases “The
Christmas Album”. Voted by Cleo Magazine’s as one of the 50 Most
1999 – January. Golden Guitars for
Album of the Year "Hat Town"; Male Vocal of the Year
"Goondiwindi Moon"; Heritage Song of the Year "Changi Banjo";
Top Selling Album "Hat Town" and Vocal Collaboration with Colin
Buchanan "Tough Job". Honoured with the Australian Achiever of
the Year Award on Australia day.
February - Victorian Country Music Awards — Song of the Year — "Hat
March - Lee
performs a sell-out concert at Newcastle Workers Club. During
the encore performance of "Boys from the Bush" Lee and the
entire audience is taken by complete surprise as Channel Nine's
Mike Munro walks out on stage and announces Lee Kernaghan "This
is your Life".
May - Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) AWARDS
Most Performed Country Work Award goes to Lee, Garth & Bucko for
writing the song "Hat
August - Lee bales out of the bachelor club and marries singer
September - Wins the CMAA Entertainer of the Year Award
October - Plays at the legendary
Deniliquin Ute Muster. Over four thousand utes descend upon the
small Western NSW town and
break the world ute convoy record.
2000 – January. Launches his fifth
album "Rules of the Road" during the Tamworth Country Music
festival at a free concert for 15,000 fans in the main street.
"Cunnamulla Fella" released as a single.
April - "Rules of the Road” certified
Gold. Films music video for Cunnamulla Fella. Awarded Country
Music Radio Hitmaker of the Decade 1990 — 2000
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia
(PCCA) Award for Most Broadcast Australian Country Artist
He entered the new millennium with his retrospective Rules of
the Road album that featured his reworking of the Coster/Dusty
classic Cunnamulla Fella and posthumous duets with the legendary
Tex Morton and Buddy Williams.
1999 – Golden Guitars for Top Selling Album and Album of the
Year with “Hat Town”, Male Vocalist of the Year with
“Goondiwindi Moon”, Heritage Song of the Year with “Changi
Banjo” and Vocal Collaboration of the year with Colin Buchanan
with “Tough Job”. CMAA Australian Country Music Achiever Awards
– Entertainer of the Year.
2002 – Golden Guitar for Vocal Collaboration of the Year (with
Josh Arnold) with “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. Lee was ready
to rock and released Electric Rodeo, which topped the Australian
Country Chart and debuted #4 on the ARIA Top 50 Album Sales
Chart. Electric Rodeo was released in tandem with Kernaghan’s
performance as The Balladeer in the hit stage production “The
Man from Snowy River Arena Spectacular” which won him his third
ARIA Award for Best Musical Soundtrack.
2003 – Golden Guitar for Album of the Year and Top Selling Album
of the Year with “Electric Rodeo”
2004 - People’s Choice Awards – Best Bush Ballad with “Spirit of
the High Country”. Country Music Centenary Awards by the CMAA in
recognition of service to entertainment, particularly country
2005 - People’s Choice Awards – Best Male Vocal.
2006 - Release of his Album of the Year “The New Bush,” which
was certified Platinum
2007 – Golden Guitars for Album of the Year, Top Selling Album
and Male Vocalist of the Year with “The New Bush” and Heritage
Song of the Year with “Close as a Whisper (The Gift)’.
2009 – Queensland Gold Medallion
Award- Touring Artist of the Year. Released his latest
collection of songs, Planet Country. Two years in the writing
2010 – People’s Choice Awards – Best Album with “Planet
2011 - Golden Guitar for Top Selling Album with "Planet Country.
People's Choice Awards for Best song with "Love in the Time of
Drought", co-written with Garth Porter.
2015 – Elevated to the Roll of Renown.