Rolf Harris

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Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris

Named after Rolf Boldrewood, an Australian writer his mother admired, he was born in Bassendean, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, Australia, to Cromwell ("Crom") Harris and Agnes Margaret Harris (née Robbins) who had both emigrated from Cardiff, Wales. He is the nephew of Australian artist Pixie O’Harris, (1903-1991), i.e. Rhona Olive Pratt, née Harris. As an adolescent and young adult, Harris was a champion swimmer being the Australian Junior 110 yards Backstroke Champion in 1946 and Western Australian state champion over a variety of distances and strokes during the period 1948–1952. Harris attended Perth Modern School in Subiaco, and the University of Western Australia. He met his wife, the Welsh sculptress and jeweller Alwen Hughes, while they were both art students, and they married on 1 March 1958. They have one daughter, Bindi Harris (born 10 March 1964), who studied art at Bristol Polytechnic and is now a painter.

Background information Born 30 March 1930 (1930-03-30) Bassendean, Perth, Western Australia, Australia Oldies Painter, composer, musician, singer–songwriter, television personality and presenter Vocals, Stylophone, Didgeridoo, Wobbleboard Beatboxer 1950–present Disky, EMI Records, Epic Records, Capitol Records, Polygram Music, Columbia Records, Queesway Records Official website

Genre(s) Occupation(s)

Music and art
Harris had experience in Perth on television in its early years, with his rapid drawing style and flair for amusing entertainment. He moved to England as an art student at City and Guilds of London Art School, Kennington, South London at the age of 22, notably illustrating Robert Harbin’s Paper Magic (1956). He also had a few acting roles in British television programs and film as Harry in The Vise and as Pvt. Proudfoot in the 1955 film You Lucky People. Harris returned to Perth after art school and was involved in children’s television shows. Some years later he returned to the United Kingdom to live. He has regularly returned to Perth over the years for family visits. Harris has been credited with inventing a simple homemade instrument called the wobble board. This discovery was accidentally made in the course of his work when he attempted to dry a freshly painted hardboard with added heat, from hearing the sound


Years active Label(s)


Rolf Harris CBE, AM (born 30 March 1930), is an Australian/British musician, singer, composer, painter, and television host and personality.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
made by the board as he held the board by the short edges to cool off. He suggests the effect can best be obtained through faint bouncing of a tempered hardboard or a thinner MDF board between the palms of one’s hands.

Rolf Harris
Harris sang "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" (with The Beatles singing backing vocals) in the first edition of the From Us to You BBC radio shows, in December, 1963.[4] Harris completely customized the original lyrics to a version that was especially written for The Beatles: "Cut yer hair once a year boys" "Don’t ill-treat me pet dingo, Ringo" "George’s guitar’s on the blink, I think" "Prop me up by the wall, Paul" "Keep the hits coming on, John" Harris went on to use an array of unusual instruments in his music, including the didgeridoo (the sound of which was imitated on "Sun Arise" by four double basses), Jew’s harp and, later, the stylophone. Harris has played the didgeridoo on two albums by English pop singer Kate Bush, 1982’s The Dreaming and 2005’s Aerial. Harris went on to create one of his most famous roles in the 1960s, Jake the Peg but his biggest hit was in 1969 with his rendering of the US Civil War song" Two Little Boys", written in 1902. It was only recently that Rolf discovered a personal poignancy to the song because the story bears such a resemblance to the WWI experiences of his father Crom and his beloved younger brother Carl, who died at the age of 19 after being wounded in battle in France, just two weeks before the armistice of November 1918.[5] In his appearance on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, on which guests are invited to choose eight pieces of music they would wish to have with them if stranded on a desert island, Harris famously chose eight of his own records, the only artist ever to have done so. In 2000, Harris, along with Steve Lima released a dance track called "Fine Day" which entered the top 30 in the UK charts at that time. A ’Killie-themed’ version was recorded and scheduled for release in March 2007 to coincide with the Scottish football club’s appearance in the Scottish League Cup final after the song was adopted by the fans in 2003.[6] One of the lyrics referred to the hypothetical situation in which Kilmarnock could be 5-0 down, which ironically was similar to the final score of 5-1. In November and December 2002, under Charles Saumarez Smith’s direction,

"Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" In 1959 he worked on TVW-7’s first locally produced show Spotlight. During his time at TVW he recorded his hit "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport". The song was recorded on a single microphone placed above him in the TV studio. The song was sent to record company EMI in Sydney and it was soon released as a record. Rolf Harris offered four unknown backing musicians 10 percent of the royalties for the song, but they decided to take a recording fee of 28 pounds between them because they thought the song would be a flop[1] The novelty song was originally titled "Kangalypso" and featured the distinctive sound of the "wobble board" which was played by "wobbling" it back and forth. The original recording of the song issued in Australia was considered controversial by some listeners because of the lyrics: "Let me abos go loose, Lew[2]/ Let me abos go loose/ They’re of no further use, Lew/ So let me abos go loose". The verse appears to refer to Aboriginal servitude and captivity in a whimsically approving manner. In addition, the word "abo" was beginning to be seen as a term of abuse at the time. Most of the rest of the song refers to animals in captivity. The offending verse did not feature in later versions of the song. In 2006 Harris expressed his regret about the original lyrics.[3]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
London’s National Gallery exhibited a collection of Harris’s art.[7] He was also commissioned to paint a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II for her 80th birthday, which was unveiled by Rolf Harris on 19 December 2005 at Buckingham Palace.[8] In his words, it is an impressionistic rather than photographic depiction. Some commentators found it to be offensive and unbecoming of the Queen, but the Queen herself expressed her approval at the painting after her final sitting, particularly with the way in which Harris had painted her smile. The story of the painting featured as a special edition of Rolf on Art. The special, called The Queen by Rolf, was broadcast on BBC One on 1 January 2006. In his painting of the portrait of the Queen, Rolf Harris was following a family tradition — Harris’ grandfather painted a portrait of the Queen’s grandfather, King George V (in which King George V was inspecting the troops).[9] In 2005, Rolf played the didgeridoo on Kate Bush’s album Aerial, contributing vocals to the songs "An Architect’s Dream" and "The Painter’s Link". He also appears on the video to the lead single, "King of the Mountain", dancing with a white jumpsuit in a reference to Elvis Presley, one of the themes of the song. Welcome you to the Games

Rolf Harris

Look, I don’t know all of your names, friends, But let me welcome you to the Games. Following his singing of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", Harris sang "Waltzing Matilda". As well as a video tape recording of the Opening Ceremony being released, the music for the Opening Ceremony was released as an album and an audio tape, with Harris as one of the featured artists.

"Stairway to Heaven"
Harris’ career received a boost in 1993 when his cover version of Led Zeppelin’s "Stairway to Heaven" became a hit, reaching number 7 of the UK singles chart. Harris originally performed the song, live, during an appearance on the television comedy show The Money or the Gun. Each episode of The Money or the Gun featured a rendition of Stairway to Heaven but in the idiosyncratic style of another performer. Harris’ version of the song recreated the song in the style of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", complete with wobble board and didgeridoo solos. Although he had the sheet music, Harris claims that he had not heard the original version when he recorded his; as such, he disavows any claim that his version was intended to be irreverent or humorous.[10] Harris’ version was one of 28 versions of the song performed on the show — and his version is one of the 25 versions of the song which was released on the The Money or the Gun’s Stairways to Heaven videotape and CD (Harris’ single comes from the same recording of his version of the song).

1982 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
Matilda, the winking kangaroo was the mascot for the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. When Matilda arrived at the stadium, she ’winked’ to the crowd as she went around the stadium track — then her ’pouch’ opened and several young children (about 5 years old to 7 years old), dressed as joey kangaroos, rushed out (then ran to — and jumped on — a number of trampolines which had been set up especially for them). Harris, who was standing, complete with wobble board, at the back of a small truck, then sang a special rendition of his hit song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", which included some lyrics especially written for the Opening Ceremony: Let me welcome you to the Games, friends,

Recordings and appearances
Harris also recorded a version of Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" around this time. He performed The Divinyls’ "I Touch Myself" — accompanied only by his wobble board — for Andrew Denton’s Musical Challenge on the MMM Breakfast Show (the recording was released on the first Musical Challenge compilation album in 2000). Later that year he made his first appearance at the Glastonbury


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Festival in what was seen as a novelty act. He played it again in 1998, 2000 and 2002. Harris has also recorded an Australian Christmas song called "Six White Boomers", about a joey Kangaroo trying to find his mother during Christmas time, and how Santa Claus used six large-size male Kangaroos (Boomers), instead of Reindeer (to put an Australian spin on the traditional story) to pull his sleigh and help the little joey find his "Mummy". In October 2008, Harris announced he would re-record his 1969 hit "Two Little Boys", backed by North Wales’ Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.[11] Proceeds from the new release went to The Poppy Appeal.[12] Harris was inspired to make the recording after participating in My Family at War, a short series of programmes in the BBC’s Remembrance season, which was broadcast in November 2008. He discovered that the experiences of his father and uncle during the Great War mirrored the lyrics of the song.[13]

Rolf Harris

Television career
Harris has had a long career on British television, making his debut in 1953 on a five minute spot with a puppet called ’Fuzz’ in a one hour children’s show called ’Jigsaw’. The following year he was a regular on a BBC Television programme called Whirligig, with a character called ’Willoughby’, who sprang to life on a drawing board but was erased at the end of the show.[14] Although he chiefly appeared on the BBC, he was also on ITV with his ’Oliver Polip the Octopus’ character on Small Time on Associated Rediffusion.[15] He was the presenter of Hi There and Hey Presto it’s Rolf in 1964. Consequently he was already well-known face on television when The Rolf Harris Show first appeared in 1967. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s this series in various formats remained a popular light-entertainment staple, latterly being broadcast on Saturday evenings as Rolf on Saturday OK? Harris was also the commentator for the United Kingdom in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.[16] On many of his television appearances he painted pictures on large boards in an apparently slapdash manner, with the odd nonsense song thrown in, but with detailed results. This was often accompanied by the

Harris and Julia Zemiro ARIA Hall of Fame phrase "Can you tell what is it yet?" just before the painting became recognisable. These appearances led to a string of TV series based on his artistic ability, notably Rolf Harris’s Cartoon Time on BBC1 in the 1980s and Rolf’s Cartoon Club on ITV between 1989-1993. On the children’s show he also gave out tips to children on how to draw and create easy animation techniques, like flickbooks. He also hosted a successful variety TV series in Canada, which was a second home to Harris during the 1960s. From 1994-2004, he was the host of the reality television programme Animal Hospital, which chronicled the real-life activity of a British veterinary practice. Rolf then adopted a Border Collie that had been abandoned at the vets, named Rocky. Rolf presented 19 series of Animal Hospital for BBC One. It was five times winner in the Most Popular Factual Entertainment Show category of The National TV Awards. More recently, he presented Rolf on Art, which highlighted the work of some of his favourite artists, including van Gogh, Degas, Monet and Gauguin. Rolf on Art which made


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Preceded by The Scaffold "Lily The Pink" Preceded by David Jacobs UK Christmas Number One single "Two Little Boys" 1969 Eurovision Song Contest UK Commentator 1967

Rolf Harris
Succeeded by Dave Edmunds "I Hear You Knocking" Succeeded by David Gell

TV history when it gained the highest TV ratings ever for an Arts programme, is now in its sixth year. On 26 September 2004 Harris fronted a project to recreate John Constable’s famous The Hay Wain painting on a massive scale, with 150 people contributing to a small section. Each individual canvas was assembled into the full picture live on the BBC, in the show Rolf on Art: The Big Event. He was named as one of the Radio Times list of the top 40 most eccentric TV presenters of all time in July 2004. The story of Rolf Harris’ portrait painting of Queen Elizabeth II featured as a special edition of Rolf on Art, broadcast on BBC One on 1 January 2006. Harris’s portrait of The Queen was voted by readers of the Radio Times the third favourite portrait of Her Majesty. The royal portrait was exhibited at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and was exhibited on a tour of public galleries in the UK. In September 2006 the Royal Australian Mint launched the first of the new 2007 Silver Kangaroo Collector’s Coin series. Harris was commissioned to design the first coin in the series. For the third year running, Harris designed and painted the official Children In Need Christmas card. Harris has presented three series of the BBC art programme Star Portraits with Rolf Harris. In 2007, a documentary A Lifetime in Paint about Harris’ work as an artist - from the early years in Australia to the present day - was screened on BBC One, followed by a Rolf On Art special titled Rolf on Lowry. In November 2007 at exhibition of Harris’ new paintings was held at Portland Gallery, London. In December 2007 a new DVD titled Rolf Live! was released through his website. Rolf on Art: Beatrix Potter was screened on BBC One in December 2007. Harris appeared with a wobble board in a Churchill Insurance advertisement in 2009,[17] and hosted the satirical quiz show Have I Got News for You, aired on May 15, 2009.[18]

Harris was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 17 June 2006, having previously been created a Member (MBE) in 1968 and an Officer (OBE) in 1977. On 26 January 1989, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)[19] In 1975 he was appointed King of Moomba[20] On 1 July 2008, Harris was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, he was joined onstage by The Seekers to perform "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" and his Jake the Peg routine.[21][22]


[1] Did you know... page 18 "Westside News", February 20, 2008 — Brisbane, Queensland, Australia [2] This is the version sung by Harris on the 1960 single release. The original lyric is "Let me abos go loose, Bruce". [3] Renee Switzer (2006-12-06). "Rolf’s lyrics ’a sign of the times’". The Age. rolf-sorry-he-let-racist-lyrics-loose/2006/ 12/05/1165080950179.html. Retrieved on 2007-12-03. [4] Rolf Harris, the 5th Beatle [5] uk/article4969451.ece [6] "Fine Day" [7] "National to display Rolf’s art". BBC News. 2002-10-22. 1/hi/entertainment/2348843.stm. Retrieved on 2007-12-03. [8] "Rolf Harris and BBC unveil new official portrait of The Queen". BBC press office. 2005-12-19. pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Title Rolf Harris Sings At The Down Under Club Sun Arise The Original Sun Arise All Together Now To my Darling Ronza Man With The Microphone Shamus O’Sean The Leprechaun It’s A Rolf World The Rolf Harris Show Rolf Harris Live! At The Talk Of The Town Mary’s Boy Child Instant Music Jake The Peg In Vancouver Town The Boy From Bassendean In Many Moods You Name It Mirrored Image Turn On Rolf On Saturday OK? Cartoon Time Favourites Ideal Rolf Rules OK? Animal Magic Bootleg Definitive Rolf Harris She’ll Be Right 70/30 The Best Of Rolf Harris King Rolf Release date 1959 1963 1963 1965 1966 1966 1966 1968 1968 1969 1970 1971 1971 1972 1973 1973 1976 1976 1979 1987 1991 1992 1996 1999 1999 1999 2000 2000 2001 Canadian Release Canadian Release Notes Label Queensway Records Epic Epic Epic MFP Epic Columbia Records Capitol MFP Capitol Records Columbia Records Columbia Records Columbia Records Columbia Records #61 (Canada) Capitol Records Rolf Harris Enterprises Columbia Records Capitol Records EMI Records Capitol Records BBC BBC EMI Records

Rolf Harris

The Court of King Caractacus 1964

At the Cave, Vancouver (live) 1966

Polygram Music / Australian Broadcasting Commission EMI Records Rolf Harris Enterprises EMI Festival Records and EMI Records Rolf Harris Enterprises EMI Records Disky [9] Information given by Rolf Harris during the television programme The Queen by Rolf about his portrait of the Queen

12_december/19/portrait.shtml. Retrieved on 2007-12-03.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Date[23] Title

Rolf Harris
UK Catalogue chart position 9 N/A N/A 3 44 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Columbia 45-DB 4483 Columbia 45-DB 4556 Columbia 45-DB 4740 Columbia 45-DB 4888 Columbia 45-DB 4979 Columbia DB 7064 Columbia DB 7349 Columbia DB 7450 Columbia DB 7554 Columbia DB 7669 Columbia DB 7803 Columbia DB 8014 Columbia DB 8168 Columbia DB 8191 Columbia DB 8285 Columbia DB 8314 Columbia DB 8349 Columbia DB 8475 Columbia DB 8553 Columbia DB 8630 Columbia DB 8700

21 July 1960 1961 1961 25 October 1962

"Tie My Kangaroo Down Sport" / "Nick Teen And Al K. Hall" "Tame Eagle" / "Uncomfortable Yogi" "Six White Boomers" / "I’ve Lost My Mummy" "Sun Arise" / "Someone’s Pinched My Winkles"

28 Febru- "Johnny Day" / "In The Wet" ary 1963 1963 1964 1964 1965 1965 1965 1966 1967 1967 1967 1967 1968 1968 16 April 1969 "I Know A Man" / "Living It Up" "Ringo For President" / "Head Hunter" "The Court Of King Caractacus" / "The Five Young Apprentices" "Iko Iko" / "Sydney Town" "War Canoe" / "Linda" "Jake The Peg" / "Big Dog" "Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?" / "Animals Pop Party" "Fijian Girl" / "You Got What It Takes" "If I Was A Richman" / "Booralola" "I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It" / "Willy, Willy"

"Pukka Chicken" / "Here Come The Bees (Love Has Gone)" N/A "Hurry Home" / "Paris With You" "The Bloke That Invented Beer" / "Have A Beer" "Bluer Than Blue" / "The Monster" N/A N/A 30 1

22 "Two Little Boys" / "I Love My Love" November 1969 1970 "Tennessee Birdwalk" / "Ned Kelly"



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1970 1971 1971 1971 1972 1972 1972 1974 1974 1974 1975 1976 1978 1979 1981 "Mary’s Boy Child" / "Christmas Is Here" "Take Back The Things (That We Said)" / "Salvation Army Citadel" "Vancouver Town ’71" / "A Ram Sam Sam" / "Go Back Home" "So Earlye In The Evenin’" / "Watch Your Step" "She’ll Be Right" / "Jindabyne" "Tutankamun" / "A Friend Like Me" "Papillon" / "Relax With Rolf" "Little Pal" / "Lazy Day" "Presbyterian Church" / "Black Midnight Swamp" "Happy Birthday, Father Christmas" / "MacAdam" "Yarrabangee" "Back To W.A." / "Old Man Emu" "Stuck On The Ice" / "The Gendarmes’ Duet" (With Crom Harris) "Hey Jimmy Johnson" / "Ginger Tom" N/A N/A 68

Rolf Harris
Columbia DB 8730 Columbia DB 8762 Capitol 72645-F Columbia DB 8838 Columbia DB 8876 Columbia DB 8961 Columbia DB 8905 EMI 2154 EMI 2238 EMI 2286 EMI 2380 EMI 2462 Interfusion K7322 Columbia DB 9069 Rolf Harris Enterprides RHE 1 EMI 5244 EMI 5296 Tembo Records TML 111 T.A. Scam Recordings MFD 005 EMI EM 210 T.A. Scam Recordings MFD 005 Vertigo VER 73 Rolf Harris Enterprises CD RHE 9


1981 1982 1985

"War Canoe" / "Linda" (Re-Issue)


"The Dreaming" / "Dreamtime" (Kate Bush, both tracks fea- 48 ture Rolf on didgeridoo) "Tommy (From 88 Pine)" / "Pavlova" N/A


"Stylophonia" / "Stylophonia" (Land Of Aus Instru-Mental) (Two Little Boys, featuring sampled Rolf Harris vocal. Rolf performed and promoted the song on T.V.) "Sun Arise" / "Two Little Boys" (Re-Issue)


1991 1992


"Stylophonia" (’92 Vocal Re-edit)/ "Stylophonia" (Two Little N/A Boys, featuring sampled Rolf Harris vocal. Rolf performed and promoted the song on T.V.)

13 Febru- "Stairway To Heaven" / "Stairway To Heaven" (By The Aus- 7 ary 1993 tralian Doors) 12 "Ego Sum Pauper" / "Ego Sum Pauper" (Rolfamix) / "Old December Shep" 1995 92


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1 June 1996 25 October 1997 14 October 2000 "Bohemian Rhapsody" / "This Is A Didgeridoo" "Sun Arise" / "Sun Arise" (808 State Remix) "Fine Day" / "Fine Day" (Remix) 50 26 24

Rolf Harris
Living Beat LBECD 41 EMI CDROO 001 Tommy Boy TBCD 2155

[10] As stated at his WOMAD appearance, Reading, 1998 PDFs/Moomba/ [11] "Rolf remakes Two Little Boys hit". BBC History%20of%20Moomba.pdf PDF pp News: Wales (BBC). 2008-10-15. 17-22 [21] "ARIA announced all-star cast to induct 7669707.stm. Retrieved on 2008-10-15. and perform" (PDF). Australian [12] "Rolf re-releases 1969 classic track". The Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Press Association (The Press Association). 2008-11-11. document/ No5_2008%20ARIA_HOF_announces_all_star_cast_to ALeqM5h_1uXXNLA6vZ5Sz7_vTGNpEaEBGg. Retrieved on 2008-07-02. Retrieved on 2008-11-11. [22] Zonneveldt, Mandi (2008-06-13). "Rolf [13] Rolf Harris re-records Harris in the ARIA Hall of Fame, sport". Two Little Boys to mark 90th anniversary Herald Sun. of end of WWI heraldsun/story/ [14] Whirligig nostalgia web-site 0,21985,23855523-662,00.html. [15] Rolf Harris web-site Retrieved on 2008-06-14. [16] "The Eurovision Song Contest (1967) [23] date on which entered UK chart (TV)". IMDB. tt0313354/. Retrieved on June 22 2008. [17] • The Official Rolf Harris Web Site show_movie.php?filename=TA8122 • Rolf Harris at the Internet Movie Database [18] • pressreleases/stories/2009/04_april/23/ BFI Database: Rolf Harris rolf.shtml • The Rolf Harris Jukebox (Examples of Rolf [19] see Rolf Harris’s citation at the Harris’s music) Australian Government’s "It’s an • Some examples of Rolf Harris’s art Honour" website • Showcasing the range of Rolf Harris [20] Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm, Hilary Paintings Eriksen (17 Feb 2006) Moomba: A • Rolf Harris IMDB listing festival for the people.:

External links

Retrieved from "" Categories: 1930 births, Living people, University of Western Australia alumni, Australian expatriates in the United Kingdom, Australian painters, Australian television personalities, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, Didgeridoo players, Members of the Order of Australia, People from Perth, Western Australia, Australians of Welsh descent, Western Australian musicians, ARIA Award winners, ARIA Hall of Fame inductees This page was last modified on 20 May 2009, at 23:50 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers


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