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Jimmy Little, Sydney
, 2004

by John Elliott

type C photograph (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 50.0 cm x 33.0 cm)

Jimmy Little AO (b. 1937), singer, made his recording debut in 1956. Australia's first indigenous pop star, Little was one of a handful of well known Aboriginal people by the late 1950s. After a national number one hit, 'Royal Telephone', he was named Pop Star of the Year in 1964. Over the 1970s, by which time he had gained the nickname 'Gentleman Jim', Little's popularity lapsed, and he went on the club circuit. In a characteristically low-key resurgence, he won the Mo award in 1997, and in 1999 his album Messenger - featuring covers of songs by The Cruel Sea and The Church - won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album. At 64 he released his 29th album, Resonate (2001), and appeared in a duet with Kylie Minogue on Corroboration (2001). Listed as a National Living Treasure, Little has two honorary doctorates and won the Classic Rock Performer Mo Award in 2004.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.34