‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ Songwriter Geoff Mack Dead at 94
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International Songwriters Hall of Famer Geoff Mack, who was best known for writing the worldwide hit “I’ve Been Everywhere,” died Friday (July 21) in Australia. He was 94 years old.
According to Vintage Vinyl News, Mack was born Albert Geoffrey McElhinney on Dec. 20, 1922, in Surrey Hills, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The music news site reports that he died at Benowa on Australia’s Gold Coast on Friday, but does not give a cause of death.
Mack began his career entertaining the troops during World War Two when he was stationed in Borneo with the RAAF, and he did a stint as a radio announcer for the British occupation in Japan after the war. He wrote “I’ve Been Everywhere” in 1959, and Lucky Starr turned the song into a hit in Australia in 1962.
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The locations listed in Mack’s original all reference Australia, but Hank Snow adapted the lyrics to pertain primarily to North America when he recorded a country version that reached No. 1 in 1962. The song has since been covered more than 130 times, including a well-known rendition from Johnny Cash. Lynn Anderson and Asleep at the Wheel are two more country acts who covered “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
Mack was inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville in 1963, the Hands of Fame at Tamworth NSW in 1978, and received the Tamworth Song Writer’s Association Song Maker Award in 1997. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005, and in 2013, Mack earned the Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar from the Country Music Association of Australia.