Excerpts from an Oral History interview


The NFSA's Thorsten Kaeding remembers one of Australia's great vocalists.

Early Musical Memories

Doug Parkinson (1946–2021) was rightly regarded as one of Australia’s great vocalists.

Singer Doug Parkinson.

Doug Parkinson at the NFSA in 2008. NFSA: 1061907

A singer's singer, he possessed a unique and powerful voice perfect for the soul and R&B music that he loved.

Originally from Newcastle in New South Wales, his family moved to Sydney when he was young.

In the following clip from an NFSA oral history interview he recorded with Billy Pinnell in 2008, Doug talks about his humble beginnings and growing up in a musical family:

A Brush with The Beatles

At age 15, Parkinson became a cadet journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. During The Beatles' 1964 tour of Australia, he scored a front-page interview with George Harrison.

Parkinson pursued his career in music and was soon playing in bands around Sydney. He eventually found great success with The Questions and then Doug Parkinson In Focus.

In the following clip from his oral history, Doug recounts how Doug Parkinson In Focus came to record their breakthrough hit – a cover of a Beatles song:

Throughout the 1970s and 80s Doug became one of the most respected and in-demand singers on the Australian music and musical theatre scene, thanks to his powerful yet perfectly controlled delivery and his incredible stage presence.

He was a unique and enduring talent who will be sadly missed.