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28 February marks the 5 year anniversary of his death
Just shy of his 61st birthday, Billy Thorpe succumbed to a massive fatal heart attack on Wednesday 28 February, 2007. A fit and energetic musician he was still performing up until the Sunday night prior. As through his life, Billy had been involved in many new projects. His last recorded project was a semi-acoustic work of both old and new classic Thorpe compositions, recorded at The Basement. Billy had also been working on a ground-breaking multi media project titled “Tangier” which he had begun in 2000 following his first excursion to Tangier. This work of Moroccan mysticism was, following his death, finished by family and friends and released to great critical acclaim and received Best Adult Contemporary Album at last years ARIA Awards.
Born in 1946 William Richard “Billy” Thorpe became one of Australia’s most renowned pop/rock singer-songwriter and musicians. As lead singer of his band Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, he had success in the 1960s with "Blue Day", "Poison Ivy", "Over the Rainbow", "Sick and Tired", and "Mashed Potato"; and in the 1970s with "Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy". He relocated to the United States from 1976 to 1996. During that time he released various songs and albums and produced and composed music scores for TV including “War of the Worlds”, “Star Trek”, “Columbo”, “Eight is Enough” and “Hard Time on Planet Earth”.
Thorpe returned to Australia in 1996 and continued as a performer and producer.
Billy Thorpe was the instigator of, and a key producer in, the concert tour and CD / DVD of ABC TV’s series “Long Way To The Top – 30 Years of Australian Rock”. This music event, passionate to Billy’s heart, covered three decades of live rock music and featured over 30 of Australia’s best selling artists. It was a massive success performing to around a quarter of a million people across Australia in two tours - and testament to Billy Thorpe’s believe in the Australian Rock Industry. This August marks 10 years since that landmark tour hit the road in Australia.
He is missed by the whole music industry.