Concert program, 'Lee Gordon Presents The Johnny Cash Show', paper, made for Lee Gordon by Publicity Press Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, used by Norma Keech, Australia, 1959
This program documents a concert tour by the American singer Johnny Cash, who was brought to Australia by the promoter Lee Gordon in April 1959. Typically for Lee Gordon concerts, there were several acts on the bill - Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two, Gene Vincent, Robin Luke, The Playmates, Bobby Day, Col Joye and Joyboys, Frankie Sardo. The Sydney venue was the Stadium at Rushcutters Bay.
From 1954 to 1962, Lee Gordon brought the world's biggest musical stars to perform for entertainment-starved Australians. Even before the explosion of rock 'n' roll in Australia, Gordon promoted tours by some of the greatest names in American show business, such as Artie Shaw, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray and Harry Belafonte. The visit by Bill Haley and His Comets in January 1957 was the first of many rock 'n' roll tours promoted by Gordon. He secured some of the greatest American stars of the 1950s - Little Richard, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran and many others. Along with American film and television, the consumption of rock 'n' roll was part of a post-World War II cultural shift in Australia from British to US influences. Lee Gordon's concert tours helped to create the Australian rock music industry, by bringing local support acts to the attention of large stadium audiences.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Johnny Cash had recorded for Sun Records in Memphis before signing with the major label Columbia Records. By the time he toured Australia, he was one of the biggest stars of American country music. The program states 'The acceptance of Johnny Cash by audiences is made even more remarkable by the fact that these audiences are not 'country', 'rock and roll' or 'pop' fans. There is always a cross-section of all types at the Johnny Cash show'. The Tennessee Two (Marshall Grant on bass and Luther Perkins on guitar) helped to give Johnny Cash his trademark 'boom-chicka-boom' sound.
On this occasion Gene Vincent was recovering from a motorcycle accident and toured without his band the Blue Caps, having sold their equipment to pay a tax bill before leaving the USA. Robin Luke from Honolulu, aged 16, was known for his rockabilly hit song 'Susie Darlin'. The Playmates were a vocal trio from Connecticut, while Bobby Day is remembered for his novelty hit 'Rockin Robin'.
Printed for Lee Gordon by Publicity Press Pty Ltd, 71-75 Regent St, Sydney, New South Wales in 1959.