I Only Came to Say Goodbye by Wilma Reading

I Only Came to Say Goodbye by Wilma Reading
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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Wilma Reading spent most of her singing career abroad, with little fame or recognition back in Australia.

She was born in Cairns to a musical family, with an Aboriginal (Kalkatungu)-Torres Strait Islander mother and an English-Irish father. She began her singing career with her two sisters in The Reading Sisters trio, before starting a solo career in Brisbane in 1959.

In 1960 she relocated to Sydney, where she had a regular gig at the Latin Quarter in Kings Cross and recorded for the Rex record label. Reading released three 7” singles with Rex, performing jazz and lounge vocals.

The third single included ‘I Only Came to Say Goodbye’ (A-side) and 'That’s How I Go for You' (B-side). Both songs were written or co-written by the musical director of Rex, Franz Conde.

Reading’s vocals were described as ‘honeyed’, and were backed by lush strings, chorus and orchestra, giving the recordings a big band feel and a touch of nightclub glamour.

Shortly after the release of this single, Reading headed to Tokyo and then Las Vegas where she launched her international career, performing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and touring with Duke Ellington.

She sang with the national orchestras of Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland and Germany, and even performed at the reunification of East and West Germany in Berlin in 1990.