Jack O’Hagan made a tremendous contribution to our musical heritage. He is by far the most recognised songwriter in National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia collection, established in 2007 to recognise sound recordings of 'cultural, historical and aesthetic significance, which inform or reflect life in Australia'.
Recordings are nominated by the public. A long list is presented to an industry selection panel, who then vote on the top ten for that year.
Three of the 10 recordings from the 1930s were written by Jack.
'Along the Road to Gundagai',
recorded by Peter Dawson (1931)
'Our Don Bradman',
recorded by Len Maurice under the nom de plume Art Leonard (1930)
'Wrap Me Up In My Stockwhip and Blanket',
recorded by Tex Morton (1936)
'Wrap Me Up In My Stockwhip and Blanket' is also known as 'The Dying Stockman' – Jack’s music put to Banjo Paterson's poem 'The Dying Stockman'.
A fourth Jack O'Hagan song was included in Sounds of Australia 2018 – 'After the Dawn' recorded by Sydney Simpson and his Wentworth Cafe Orchestra (1926).
'After the Dawn' waltz was the first entirely Australian recording – composed, performed, recorded and pressed in the Homebush studio and factory of the Columbia Company on 23 October 1926. The 10” shellac disc featured hit foxtrot, 'Freshie', by Jesse Greer and Harold Berg, on the flipside.
'After the Dawn' sold around 70,000 in the first few weeks – probably a combination of sheet music, rolls and record sales – with eventual sales of around 80,000 records, a staggering figure for an Australian disc in those days. It was a number one hit Australia-wide and also popular in the UK dance halls.
If you’d like to be part of this fabulous initiative from the NFSA nominate recordings – popular songs, advertising jingles, famous speeches, radio broadcasts or any other sound recordings – as long as they’re Australian and more than 10 years old.
If you’d like to nominate recordings of Jack’s songs... Here’s a few suggestions with all the information you need to enter to make it easy. Please email me if you'd like a private link to the playlist.
Recording/Song: Colonel Campbell and Mr Lang Recorded by: Quip & Quirk (nom de plumes for Jack Lumsdaine & Len Maurice) Additional information: Written by Jack O'Hagan under the nom de plume of John Quinlan in 1932. The record was so controversial it was sold under the counter in paper bags. Originally published by Jack O'Hagan Music P/L )
Recording/Song: When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai Recorded by: Joy Nicholls with George Trevare & His Orchestra Additional information: Written by Jack O'Hagan in 1942. The American and Australian Defence Headquarters wrote to thank Jack for his assistance in aiding the relationship between the US soldiers and the people of Australia during wartime.
Recording/Song: Don’t Say Gin Say Gilbey's Recorded by: The Escorts / Horrie Dargie Quartet and the Parkettes Additional information: Famous advertising jingle written by Jack O'Hagan in the 1950s and won a Best Singing Commercial of the Year award.
Recording/Song: Josie and Me Recorded by: Jack O'Hagan with Joe Watson's Green Mill Orchestra. Additional information: Hit song written by Jack O'Hagan and recorded by him for his wife Josephine in 1929. Recorded as a ballad and also as a dance song.
Recording/Song: God Bless Australia Recorded by: GTV 9 Orchestra, Neil Williams vocal Additional information: National song lyric written to the music of 'Waltzing Matilda' by Jack O'Hagan and recorded in 1967, televised by Ampol with a 3 minute film on prime time nationwide. A popular contender for the national anthem.
Recording/Song: Kingsford-Smith, Aussie is Proud of You Recorded by: Len Maurice with 2FC Studio Additional information: Hero song written by Jack O'Hagan in 1928 to honour Kingsford-Smith's great Pacific flight in the Southern Cross.
Recording/Song: Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox Recorded by: Jim Davidson's Dandies with vocals Dick Cranbourne and by Jack Varney Additional information: Written by Jack O'Hagan for 'Dad and Dave' radio series in 1938 and recorded by Jim Davidson's Dandies with vocals Dick Cranbourne on Regal Zonophone 22 June 1938 and also by Jack Varney on souvenir album 'Songs of Sunny Australia', produced by Jack O'Hagan during the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Both unique.
Recording/Song: He's Just That Kind of a Pal Recorded by: Marjorie Stedeford/William Flynn Orchestra Additional information: Written by Jack O'Hagan in 1948 for his wife Josephine as 'She's Just That Kind of a Pal' and recorded by the great Marjorie Stedeford.
Recording/Song: Blue Rhythm Recorded by: Jack O'Hagan Additional information: Written by Jack O'Hagan for stage show 'Turned Up' in 1929 and possibly the only song written in the Charleston style in Australia.
Recording/Song: Picking a Test Team Recorded by: Jack O'Hagan with Syd Hollister and others Additional information: Comedy recording. Script written by Jack O'Hagan and performed by Jack O'Hagan with Syd Hollister and others.
Recording/Song: Little Ships Will Sail Again Recorded by: Barbara James with the George Trevare Band Additional information: Wartime song written by Jack O'Hagan in 1943, inspired by the little ships that rescued the British soldiers in Dunkirk