Passings: Geoff Mack, Composer of "I've Been Everywhere" (1922 - 2017)

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

Australian songwriter Geoff Mack, who wrote the iconic I’ve Been Everywhere, has died at age 94.

Mack was born Albert Geoffrey McElhinney on December 20, 1922 in the Melbourne suburb of Surrey Hills. He wrote I’ve Been Everywhere in 1959. It was first an Australian hit for Lucky Starr in 1962.

The song starts on the dusty Oodnadatta road. The Australian places then listed in the original song are:

Verse 1
Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Maroochydore, Kilmore, Murwillumbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cunnamulla, Condamine, Strathpine, Proserpine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla, Wallumbilla, Boggabilla, Kumbarilla.

Verse 2
Moree, Taree, Jerilderie, Bambaroo, Toowoomba, Gunnedah, Caringbah, Woolloomooloo, Dalveen, Tamborine, Engadine, Jindabyne, Lithgow, Casino, Brigalow, Narromine, Megalong, Wyong, Tuggerawong, Wanganella, Morella, Augathella, Brindabella

Verse 3
Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Cooranbong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi, Yarra Yarra, Bouindarra, Wallangarra, Turramurra, Boggabri, Gundagai, Narrabri, Tibooburra, Gulgong, Adelong, Billabong, Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta

Verse 4
Ettalong, Dandenong, Woodenbong, Ballarat, Canberra, Milperra, Unanderra, Captains Flat, Cloncurry, River Murray, Kurri Kurri, Girraween, Terrigal, Fingal, Stockinbingal, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Bendigo, Dorrigo, Bangalow, Indooroopilly, Kirribilli, Yeerongpilly, Wollondilly


Mack’s publisher placed the song under the nose of Canadian country star Hank Snow who recorded the first international version also in 1962. Snow starts off on the dusty Winnemucca road and then heads across North America to:

First verse
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocopilla, Barranquilla and Padilla.

Second verse
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana, Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana, Monterey, Ferriday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa, Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa, Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake, Grand Lake, Devils Lake and Crater Lake.

Third verse
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika, Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica, Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport, Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena and Catalina.

Fourth verse
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado, Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado, Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika, Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika, Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Sioux City, Cedar City and Dodge City.


John Hore recorded a New Zealand version in 1966. He starts off in the winding Hokitika road and then heads to:

First verse
Kaparoa, Whangaroa, Akaroa, Motueka, Taramoa, Benmore, Pongaroa, Horoeka, Rimutaka, Te Karaka, Whangarei, Nuhaka, Waimahaka, Motuhora, Waikaka, Motunui, Hokonui, Papanui, Wainui, Matawai, Rongotai, Pikowai

Second verse
Woodville, Dargaville, Lumsden, Katikati, Naseby, Cambridge, Porirua, Mangaroa, Hastings, Tikitiki, Tauranga, Auckland, Naenae, Waitaha, Hamilton, Poroporo, Taupo, Timaru, Oamaru, Tihoi, Awanui, Wanganui, Pauanui

Third verse
Featherston, Palmerston, Woolston, Te Awamutu, Riverton, Queenstown, Picton, Ohinemutu, Morere, Korere, Rotorua, Kaikoura, Matamata, Ruakura, Ikamatua, Papakura, Waitaki, Pukaki, Taranaki, Te Kauwhata, Ropata, Ikowai, Waitemata

Fourth verse
Ruatoki, Mataura, Taupiri, Maketu, Kyeburn, Sowburn, Wedderburn, Mossburn, Washdyke, Arawhata, Paparoa, Kaponga, Te Aroha, Thames, Kerikeri, Kokoma, Tapanui, Porinui, Tawanui, Otahuhu, Ruatapu, Mosgiel, Whareroa

Fifth verse
Kapiti, Ngawaka, Onepu, Reporoa, Tongariro, Tomoana, Renwick, Papamoa, Karitane, Oxford, Parihaka, Karetu, Coalgate, Whitecliffs, Urenui, Mamaku, Waimea, Waharoa, Dannevirke, Ngahere, Gordonton, Kingston, Oban


Lucky Starr then had a crack at Great Britain with the song, “peddlin’ me bike on a narrow road near Brighton Sea.

First verse
Bradford, Guildford, Oxford, Littlehampton, Bedford, Chingford, Hereford, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Canterbury, Aylesbury, Liverpool, Scunthorpe, Sandthorpe, Mablethorpe, Hartlepool, Whitehall, Blackpool, Mildenhall, Davenport, Newport, Southport, Stockport

Second verse
Farnborough, Edinburgh, Peterborough, Felixstowe, Middlesbrough, Loughborough, Scarborough, Walthamstow, Blackburn, Lisburn, Bannockburn, Derry, Wicklow, Glasgow, Hounslow, Tipperary, Hempstead, Wanstead, Banstead, Woodstock, Bass Rock, Bell Rock, Tilbury Dock

Third verse
Weymouth, Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Lewisham, Faversham, Petersham, Chesterfield, Southend, Mile End, Land’s End, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Nottingham, Gillingham, Holyhead, Cambridge, Tonbridge, Knightsbridge, Broadstairs, Edgware, Ross Wear, Carstairs

Fourth verse
Westminster, Southminster, Kidderminster, Accrington, Eastbourne, Southbourne, Sittingbourne, Paddington, Bolton, Paignton, Stockton, Inverness, Renwick, Brunswick, Chiswick, Dungeness, Mansfield, Sheffield, Enfield, King’s Cross, New Cross, Charing Cross, Banbury Cross


The fictitious Farrelly Brothers had a comedy crack at it on The Aunty Jack Show in Australia in the 70s.


All up the song has been recorded over 130 times including this version by Johnny Cash who did the Hank Snow version:


The most recent Mack credit was via Rihanna’s ‘Where Have You Been’ in 2012.


Mack made the Songwriters Hall of Fame in America’s country music capital Nashville in 1963. He was awarded the Hand of Fame in Australia’s country music capital Tamworth in 1978

In 2005 Queen Elizabeth II awarded Geoff the Media of the Order of Australia (OAM). He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar by the Country Music Association of Australia in Tamworth in 2013.

Geoff died at Benowa on the Gold Coast on Friday July 21, 2017.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.