Aussie Country Icon Frank Ifield Has Died, Aged 86

20 May 2024 | 4:18 pm | Ellie Robinson

Ifield was one of Australia’s first hitmakers.

Frank Ifield

Frank Ifield (Getty Images)

Renowned country singer Frank Ifield has died at the age of 86, it’s been confirmed.

The news comes via journalist Glenn A. Baker, who posted on Facebook this afternoon (May 20) that Ifield’s brother David called him personally to confirm the artist’s passing. At the time of writing, a cause of death has not yet been made public.

Ifield was one of Australia’s first hitmakers, first topping the charts in 1962 with his stirring rendition of the Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger composition I Remember You. He went on to have three more #1 hits in the UK – Lovesick Blues later in 1962, then The Wayward Wind and Confessin’ (That I Love You) in 1963 – as well as more than a dozen charting singles in Australia.

The artist’s career was launched in 1953, when he was just 13 years old, after his performance of Bill Showmet’s Did You See My Daddy Over There? made waves on local Sydney radio. He would go on to release some 25 albums across the span of his career, first in 1959 with the Columbia Records-backed Yours Sincerely, and last in 1985 with the independently issued I Remember These.

Throughout his career, Ifield was renowned for his unique singing style, which incorporated yodelling with his enthralling falsetto. It made him a standout act in the 1962 Eurovision Song Contest, where he finished second in that year’s heat.

Ifield also saw resounding success in film and television – in 1965, for example, he starred in the feature film Up Jumped A Swagman. He also led two half-hour TV specials, The Frank Ifield Show (1964) and Frank Ifield Sings (1965), and appeared on a slew of established programmes like In Melbourne Tonight, Top Of The Pops, Celebrity Squares and Spicks & Specks.

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2003 saw Ifield inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown. He was subsequently inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2007, the Mo Awards Hall Of Fame in 2009, and the Coventry Music Wall Of Fame in 2012. Also in 2009, he was presented with a Medal of the Order of Australia for his “service to the arts as an entertainer”.