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Tue 16th Mar 2021
Australian pop and rock musician Doug Parkinson has passed away suddenly at his Northern Beaches home, aged 74.
In a musical career lasting 56 years, Parkinson began singing at school and led the band Strings and Things from 1965, which also included the children of legendary test cricketer Sid Barnes.
By 1966 Parkinson joined psychedelic rock band, The Questions; who in 1967 supported The Who, Small Faces tour nationally.
A year later he formed Doug Parkinson in Focus which proved to be a benchmark in Australian rock folklore. With this group he recorded the Beatles' Dear Prudence in 1969 which topped the charts. The same year they won Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds and played to sell out shows around Australia.
In 1970 he moved to London and formed new hard rock supergroup, Fanny Adams and recorded an album but soon returned to Australia to form a new In Focus.
After years of touring and nothing brewing in the recording arena, Parkinson decided to launch a solo career releasing his debut solo album No Regret in 1973 and also took to the stage playing Hawker in the Australian production of The Who's rock opera, Tommy.
The early 80's saw Parkinson's love of the stage continue and he starred as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, which successfully toured Australia for 12 months.
A steady stream of music and theatre followed and by 1989, Parkinson had made a reputation for being an exceptional actor/singer and landed an 18 month gig in the hit musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Parkinson went on to produce, direct and star in the The Original Stars of Buddy in Concert and played Vince Fontaine in the 1998 production of Grease - The Arena Spectacular with Anthony Warlow, Craig McLachlan, Glen Shorrock and Danni Minogue.
Parkinson loved nothing more than working with a crowd and continued in stage shows, cabaret, and live performances for over five decades.
He is remembered as having one of the most soulful Australian voices and being a wonderful mentor to his peers.
"Not only will the Australian music industry be sad to hear of your passing my friend, the world will have far less melody without you here to sing for us any longer," Marcia Hines tweeted. "What a man, what a gift."
Rest in Peace, Doug Parkinson
By Kirsten Jakubenko