Billy Thorpe

Page 1

1946 ~ 2007

Click here to leave a message of condolence for Billy Thorpe

For you Billy,
A brotherly love, is what I shall send from my heart for your resting in peace where you now belong. Deep feelings of sadness on news of your quickening. May your enlightenment be as beautiful as you imagined it could be. There is a place for you to build the Entertainment Complex of the Universe and with other legends lost in my lifetime of fifty years such as the great rocker himself Johnny O'Keefe.

Yes, most people I knew thought I was crazy (thanx for your song) and only since we met when I was thirteen and in awe of you in every way. Your smile, song and sincere selfless caring of others off and on the stage has cemented in my soul forever. I used to crawl out my window in Box Hill North run 2 klms to push my way into "Peppers dance" where live bands performed every Saturday night during my early teens. If not for my love and passion of those early live music rock & roll memories I wouldn't be involved in the music industry still all these years later. I manage Dutch Tilders, Bluesman, who remembers mates who have worked their careers on Stage entertaining others so powerfully, successfully for so long.I dream to see you in our eternity so my friends & I can continue to be spoilt again, and again, and again.

Love to Billy's shocked and sad close family and friends as this loss will be massive to hurdle. God blessed you Billy a long time ago and we are grateful for your sharing of your presence which showed a caring love to all who knew you.
Dutch & Lynne xx 

You will be sadly missed in the music industry, keep on rocking. Our thoughts go out to your family at this time. I will always remember your show at 3 Bears Dunsborough a couple of years ago.

Mike Hall, President, South West Blues Club, Bunbury W.A.

Billy, you were truly one of the best and a great stalwart of all what rock'n'roll should be. A truly fantastic musician, singer and entertainer and you will be surely missed by all those who know the true meaning of rock'n'roll. Your passing will leave a huge footprint that will be hard to fill and your contribution to music is immeasurable. May you keep on rockin' in the great gig in the sky and don't let God tell you to turn the music down. You inspired me to love great music and you will never never never ever be forgotten. LONG LIVE ROCK'N'ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Mark, Ardeer, Victoria

At the ripe old age of 16 and dragging my best friend along, off we went to Surf City. I will never forget those years and the pleasure you and the Aztecs gave to me. I still have your albums but alas the record player
died - note to self buy a new one. Billy, thank you for just being you. To your wife, family and close friends my sincere condolences. You will be sadly missed

Dee Sargent

One of the greatest rockers of our lifetime, he will be sadly missed and always in our hearts and minds. Our thoughts and prayers are with Billy's family at this sad time.
Rock On Billy!!!
P & V & Family

I would like to send my sympathy to Lynn and her two daughters of the death of her husband Billy Thorpe.
We will miss him very much. He was an excellent singer. He was going to perform for us here in St.Arnaud but now he can't. He will be able to perform for God instead.

Kathy Whyte, St.Arnaud, Victoria, Australia.

It's hard to put into words the sadness that we feel for Billy's family, but be assured that our thoughts are with you on this day.
Billy's music lives on forever.
Marie and Darryl Bartsch



Saddened by the tragic loss of a truly great father, husband & performer and friend over the years. The days of touring together in the 70’s stand out as the best days for many of us. Let's hope that the words of your song “Long Live Rock n Roll” are never forgotten and your challenge to have our music recognised internationally is not wasted. From before Beaumaris to Sydney and the journey along the way, may your next journey take you to the greatest jam session known.

Pity we missed catching up last Sunday at Westernport. Just shows why we all need to make the effort to stay in touch with friends.

Life is just too short.

Through it all you were always a true Australian – right down to the lyrics in “Back Home In Australia – your song for Lynn & Rusty.

May peace be with you my good friend, Thumpin’ Billy

Colin & Jan Ennis-Wert & family

A Tribute to a man whose music made my heart soar, how sad this world is without you, my condolences to his family, may your memories bring you strength and comfort.


What a shock this morning when I turned on the radio and heard the saddest news....Billy you truly are an Aussie legend and your music will live on with all your fans forever. Billy's version of Dancing in the Streets is still my favourite. Our love and thoughts are with Lynne, Lauren and Rusty, your family, friends and colleagues.... we are all saddened by Billy's passing.

Debbie and Family , Adelaide SA

I introduced my friend to Billy Thorpe playing a couple of years ago at the Palace playing with Alice Cooper. He rock and rolled that night and so did we! There gonna be a big party in heaven tonight!
from Helen and Kelly 


I am glad I got to see you perform one last time on Saturday night but I am sorry I won't see you launch another album. You are Australia's King of Rock and will be missed by many generations of fans.

Love, Bec

To Billy's family and friends,
There's gonna be a rockin party in heaven tonight! Sadly the legend has gone but not forgotten,

RIP - Helen

I was saddened and shocked by the news of the sudden death of our ‘Rock Legend’, Billy Thorpe. I grew up with his music and was going to see him for the first time tomorrow night at Logan Diggers in Qld. My deepest heartfelt sympathy to his wife and daughters, his closest friends and colleagues, we share your grief. Fortunately, Billy has left us all a legacy, his passion and dedication to music that will live in our hearts and minds forever…

The Francis Family, Beenleigh, Qld

Legends will always be missed, Billy enters the Heaven of Legends...

A sad day for music fans......

Tubby and Pam

Vale..Bill Thorpe..
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Love ya,
David and Pauline 

Thorpie you will forever live on in our memories. Thanks for all of the great music, the books and the best stage performances. You are one of the nicest people in the industry that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I will never forget you.
RIP somewhere over that rainbow. Condolences to the Thorpe family and Billy's close friends.

Sarah - Sydney

To the Thorpe family and his fans around the world. Billie it was a job well done, you were a legend in your own time. A professional who new his industry well. You will be much missed by your fans. Especially the 2nd of March at Wavell Heights where I hoped to be in the audience to see you for the umpteenth time. I hope they have guitars in heaven. With love and sorrow

Chris Morrow

We send our deepest condolences to Thorpe family. My daughter once met him in Byron Bay as she is a musician too and he gave her his card. She didn't know who he was then but once she saw him play she said that is the guy mum loves. That was many years ago.

Billy you where gave the Australian public great pleasure and happiness through your friendliness, your heart and your absolute great music from Sunbury to now.

Thank you so much Billy we will really miss you.

Love always, Ron and Lynn (Airlie Beach) and my daughter Sharon (Victoria).

Family and friends of Billy, A great inspiration to thousands of musicians all around the World. Condolences to you all. He will be remembered in spirit and in his music. I was lucky enough to meet him very briefly once. And that moment I will treasure always. Love and Peace to you all.

Chris McKenzie

thanks for a lifetime of music and entertainment. Thanks for making our industry what it is today. Thanks for the inspiration that you gave to so many of us. And thanks for all the laughs in your books, guess I better pull them out for the 3rd time. Thanks also for what you did for Lobby last year, it just shows what a mate you really were. Make sure I'm on the door list when I get up that way would you mate.

To the Thorpe Family
thanks for sharing your husband and father with us. He will be forever missed and always loved. My deepest and sincerest feelings are with you at this time.

The candle burned out long before the legend ever will.

Rest in Peace me ol'


Billy- you were one of the best. You'll be forever in our hearts mate

Ebony M xx

What a sad day. Another one of the true leaders of the 60's music explosion is gone.
My condolences to the Thorpe family.


You bought the house down at the Tsunami concert. I was so proud to witness it. I will never forget, thanks for the Music, thanks for the memories and thanks for being you. Rock on and on and on. PAF

It is a sad day and one finds all this hard to believe.....a true great and a wonderful ambassador for Australian Rock & Roll!
Peace be with you......and strength to the family!

Michele S

Our deepest condolences to the family & friends of Billy Thorpe, he certainly was a great man and a true legend on the music scene. He will be sadly missed but will live on in our hearts forever. Our prayers are with you all.

Kathy & Joe 

RIP Thorpie
To the family of Billy Thorpe, The world is a much sadder place today. Know that you are in many hearts, prayers & thoughts in the coming days.


At the risk of turning this into a message board, I have to say... I'm loving all these stories... Thank you so much for sharing. Group hug everyone.

I agree wholeheartedly... Please read his books... You won't regret it. I heard he was working on a third... I wonder if it will ever see the light of day.

Emily McPaul, Melbourne

We are all richer for having you as part of our lives. RIP Billy
Tony B 

Will always be remembered for those great concerts. RIP Billy

Jan a huge fan

I met Billy at a couple Ponde Music Festivals in SA – I then read his books and learnt about his amazing career and life – a real loss to the Rock and Roll industry of Australia and a culture that is only ours!! Let his memory ROCK ON!!


If birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can't I? Mate, you're flying as high as the highest and we're the poorer for it. A true bloody legend.

Mick Ray

You were one of the best, and so you will be sorely missed by many . My only regret was never seeing you in concert. I did see you once, I was a wee lass and you were, that clean shaven and suave Lad doing the Royal show in Adelaide, but I was too young and my mum would not let me go into see your show, but I did get a glimpse of you as you were standing outside the tent whilst the Carny guy was drumming up an audience for your next show .

"Be Bop A Lula " Baby, you will always be the best in my eyes, even though you have flown "Over the Rainbow" for the last time.

Forever & Always a Fan , adelaidean_lady.

I am so very sad to hear of the passing of Billy Thorpe. His music was a huge part of my life.

My condolences to his family,
Susan, Yokine WA.

I had the pleasure of meeting Billy when he did one of his Sth Australian tours in the sixties, he played at our local Pt P. Town Hall back then and he a group of us went swimming together at the local beach.

His music will live on forever in our home. Poison Ivy will always be played as it brings back fun memories to all of us. You are now "somewhere over the Rainbow" with the other Aussie greats, (what a party that would be).

Our condolences, prayers and thoughts go to the Thorpe family, his friends and people of the music industry who knew him and loved him.

Elizabeth, Dennis and Family Sth Aust.

Thanks for all those wonderful memories of the good old 'pub' days in Melbourne in the 70's.

Gone but never forgotten, you are a true legend of rock music Billy, have a jam session in heaven with 'Shirl' my two favorites now gone to rock heaven.

Condolences to the Thorpe family.
JB Queensland

I would come and see him at Surf City,those were the days. A legend that will be remembered

condolences to all J

It’s a sad day when anyone dies, young or old.
RIP to all the departed xxx 

To the family

I only saw Billy once at Moonee Beach, but always a fan. In 99 I had a spinal fusion and during my physio one of the ladies (LJ) told me she had these funny books by Billy Thorpe and suggested I read them as I had little else to do. So being a fan I decided to read them. As I began to read them I couldn't stop laughing, and if you don't know, laughing immediately after a spinal fusion is no fun. But being an aussie bloke I just kept reading and laughing (and crying from the pain). So to the family I say Billy gave me enjoyment from his music and attitude to life, and also gave me some of the funniest and most painful memories of my life.
He is a genuine aussie legend and character (and with respect was one of the funniest lunatics I have read about)
My thoughts are with you 

To Billy's family,

Our prayers and thoughts are with you on the sad day. He was a legend and will be missed by many many people.

Yours sincerely, Lee-Anne

Although we are all greatly saddened by Thorpie's passing, we will always rejoice in the great music & times he gave us. Somewhere East Of Edens Gate....
John White 

My first album was Aztecs Live At Sunbury which I still own and still play, it has the original cardboard tent pop up that came with the album (am talking vinyl here). I saw Billy perform live in Tassie at the Burnie Park Football Oval and it was a great concert, he was a great performer and a great amabassador for Australian Rock "n" Roll. I will always remember one of Billys comment's at the concert. He was playing in the middle of the oval and the security would not let anyone get close to the stage and Billy said ( F#*k security if you want to get close you just come down here) and of coarse we all did, it was one hell of a concert. I could go on a lot more but, hey have to leave room for others
Rock on Thorpie

I was 14 years old in 1970 when I snuck into the Palais Theatre in Geelong to witness the amazing presence of Billy Thorpe playing in front of a wall of amplifiers. It was very exciting and inspirational as a teenager who had just discovered the guitar. It made we want to become a musician, which I have been for 35  years. Thank you - my condolences to the family - he may be gone but will never be forgotten.
Kenny Miller 

A Legend,

The sad loss of an Australian music industry icon and a unique voice.

I am a 63 year old bass player who matured (?) listening to Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs through the 70s. I remember the early hits well and the band playing on TV with their awesome looking black Burns Bison guitars, backing the spectacular Billy Thorpe vocals.

I have been playing bass since 1964 and recently acquired a Burns Bison bass which triggered a renewed interest in Thorpie and the Aztecs and re-listening to that unique sound that they had back then. Only last month I re-watched his mind boggling rendition of "Somewhere over the rainbow" on the ABC telecast of the "long Way to the Top" concert. His vocals had lost nothing over the years and the tune was delivered with all the passion and depth that was always Billy Thorpe's hallmark.

I was deeply moved by this morning's devastating news. Billy Thorpe will certainly leave a void in the aussie music scene. His legacy will be that his music, his lyrics, and his other achievements for the community and the music industry will live on in our hearts and minds for as long as we draw breath.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Noel Annett (Canberra ACT) 

The first album I can remember being owned in our household was Poison Ivy.

To Billiy's family may we express our deepest thoughts to you on the passing of another rock icon, not just in Australia but worldwide. He will be sorely missed both by the industry and the public. He did so much and brought so much joy to all Aussies that words cannot express. We thought of him as " crazy " but that was Billy and we hope that he is at peace " somewhere over that rainbow "
Starks & Helen. RIP BILLY.

A very sad day for Australian music. Billy was a true legend and pioneer. His music always inspired me

I had the privilege of being in a backing band for Thorpie in the early seventies in Sydney, he blew me away then even though he was already blown away, man the cat could belt it out. In the long way to the top tour, through bluey and vince, I met him again in wagga wagga he pretended to know me and talk of the good old days, even though we both knew he wouldn't remember, but man he made my day. The legend lives on!!!!

I am so sorry to hear of Billy's passing. The world was a happier place yesterday because he was in it. My love to all of you, his family and friends.
Anne Baum

Hey Thorpe,

From those early days in Sydney – Surf City, The Beach House, Sound Lounge, Whiskey A Go Go, etc, I cannot believe you are gone. Always true to yourself and a total larrikin to the end. You were a huge part of my teenage years growing up in Sydney, and it was certainly a crazy and amazing time being associated with you and the music madness which was “all happening” then. To say you will be missed is an understatement – The music industry will never be the same again, and your memory – and your music, will live in our lives forever. To all Billy’s family, friends, fans and colleagues, my sincere condolences go out to all of you on this very sad day.

Thank you for the fond (and amusing) memories.
A former mate from Sydney
Miss Whispee (Wendy)

Billy Thorpe - you rocked my world. I will always remember that classic sound you produced.My deepest sympathies to all of his family and friends.

Mike Snoxall

I will miss Billy, he has been such an integral element to my identity as an Australian music lover. My love of music was formed on the last night of Sunbury '73 when the crowd sat down and became one with him while he sang Over The Rainbow. Such fond memories.

Deborah Leigh

To the Family

I can still see Billy on bandstand, standing behind the microphone, one arm tucked behind his back singing Poison Ivy. I still hum it to myself to this day. As we aged we all changed, except Billy. He always stayed Thorpie to us. We will miss him and his outlook on life. I hope he finds interesting times on the other side. I just know he will certainly liven the place up.

Love Lyn Purcell

So very saddened to hear of Billy's passing. Saw him in "Long Way to the Top", in Townsville, Billy certainly "stole the show". Having been hanging out to see him live ever since, and hold tickets to see him this Friday performing in Brisbane, was so looking forward to it. To Lynne, Rusty and Lauren, "thanks for sharing this great man with us", he certainly will not be forgotten.

Sleep well Billy, that rock n' roll heaven, certainly has a helluva band!!!!! Till we meet again.

Marianne, Brisbane

'heaven done called another six stringer back home' rock in peace thorpie--cs
Thanks for all the great hits. Sadly missed…
Jason C. Noble Park. Victoria.

We are deeply saddened by the unexpected death of Billy ‘Our Aussie legend in Rock’. I don’t think I have ever read such funny and amazing books as the ones that he wrote on his life. I couldn’t put them down he was a brilliant writer as well as the best musician Australia had the privilege of producing. You will live on forever in our hearts and music. You will never be forgotten Billy thank you for enriching and exciting our lives with your presence all these years.

Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Raffaella from Austral (NSW) 

Such a sad loss. I'm so very hurt by this news. To his family I offer my deepest sympathy as I too lost my father. Billy will certainly leave a void in the aussie music scene not to mention many many hearts. Simply devestating news. Billy, you certainly won't ever be forgotten, till we meet again Mr Thorpe. Bec

Too young to die, Billy. I first saw you at Bendigo QEO in 1973, I'll never forget the energy & volume, and how you could work a crowd, we have your music to remember you by.
Ron Vaitkus, Bendigo, Vic.

Dear Lynn, Rusty and Lauren,
Mick and I are saddened by the loss of Billy. We have very fond memories of all the great times shared over the years, and we will miss our occasional catch up with you both....
Love always Mick and Jan Cox Coffs Harbour

What a terrible loss for Australia. Having every Thorpe LP and seen him live on 10 occasions I will miss him.
A truly great Australian

As another famous Billy once sang " Only the good die young "

So true ...... read Billy's books, have his records and remember listening to the Aztecs rehearsing in a hall in Wickham ( Newcastle ) back in the middle 60's.

Our thoughts go out to all the family especially to Lynne, Rusty and Lauren.
John & Dianne

I have been a great fan of Billy Thorpe since the mid sixties. I have seen him live a number of times...what a great act! As good, if not better than any overseas act I have seen. He will be sadly missed. Max

Oh Billy! The void you have left can never be filled. Deepest sympathy to your family and the Australian music industry. I hope you have found your rainbow.

Vale Billy Thorpe, I am now 72 years old and yet I still remember the good old rocking days when I attended your many concerts and rock and rolled along with all the other Thorpie fans, your music was full of strong
inspirations to any muso's starting off, I remember it well... You have now crossed "Over The Rainbow Billy Thorpe "
Thanks for the memories............Faye Collins 

Firstly, I would like to extend my condolences to Billy's family.

I only saw Billy once in concert a couple of years ago at Crown in Melbourne with Richard Clapton. It was the most amazing night. We were all his friends and for me it was like we were just having a chin wag down
at the local... and I am only 32! That is how easy it is (or rather was) to be in his company. I feel very fortunate to have such wonderful memories of that night. The man and his voice blew me away... How many people can look back and truly say they have done and seen it all? I know one man who can.

I hope his legacy of support in the industry will continue. The benefit concerts he was planning would be a fantastic tribute. If there is any kind of contribution I can make towards this or any other project, I hope the family or his management will contact me.

I also want to thank the family for sharing this wonderful man with us for so long. Let's not remember him with sorrow, but rather be thankful for the bright star he was. When I look at the night sky I picture him smiling back and thinking to himself... "Strange life... ain't it?" How I wish he could tell us of his new adventures on the other side... I'm sure he does too. I will miss him forever.

Lots of love to everyone...
Emily McPaul, Melbourne 

I first saw you at the nambour rsl in '97 I think, a late comer to your rockin ways i ended up following your tours, i saw you at toorak civic centre where it was so loud my vision blurred and many different places also, i went through a big "Thorpie" phase when I lived in melbourne, hunting down all the places mentioned in your books, it was my pleasure to meet you a few times also, you were a good man, a rockin man, a driven man a man I maybe biasedly think never got the real kudos deserved in the wider public, but a man who will be sorley missed and never replaced.
Keep Rockin !!

Kenneth Harris

Sincere condolences to Billy's family, loved ones, friends, former band members/musicians and fans.
The Australian Music Industry has lost not only a consumate performer and rock legend, but a huge shaker and mover, who injected energy and inspiration in to anything he set his mind to. To me Billy rewrote the phrase living in the moment and takin it to the max, and as he matured, with an exquisite sense of style and elegance, and an awesum collection of shoes! so sad ....

Thank you Billy for giving so much of yourself, and thank you to the Thorpe family for supporting him to do that
Angie, Melbourne 

“It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock & roll” – but Billy you will already be “Somewhere over the rainbow”. I know that “Some people I know think that I’m crazy” but “Somebody left me crying”.

Rest in peace & thanks for the music & memories. xx

To Billy’s family,

We saw him at Doncaster Shoppingtown last Friday night. He looked and sounded fabulous. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very sad time. Almost incredible to think he has gone. Thank you Billy for the professional, nothing but the best attitude to your craft.

Regards, Brusnahan family

We recently saw Billy at the Lobby Loyde benefit concert and it is something neither of us will ever forget. What a fantastic rock legend. I have been sitting out the backyard listening to Billy and having a cry but also remembering the great time he had whilst performing with his mates. We will truly miss him. Deepest sympathy to his family. Lots of love Amanda and Steve (Melbourne, Vic)

I love your wicked smile and your music I always turned up full blast. I always wanted to go to one of your concerts and I never did. I wish I had the chance to see you in person, I loved you Billy and I shall miss you.

An aging fan of the Sixties. Rest in Peace Billy,
Patricia from Watsonia xx

Rock On Billy. It’s a bit cliche, but Thorpie has gone to join the Big Aussie Band in heaven …one hell of a gig It’s a long way since Salisbury High School.

Will miss you mate
Peter Broughton

Billy It's not crazy to think we will meet you somewhere over the rainbow. GW
Billy - what a rock legend - you will be sadly missed. Deepest sympathy to your family & friends. Your music will never die Billy, so therefore you will live on forever!

To Billy’s family – I am so sorry – he was a true blue Australian Rock legend. I first saw Billy when I was 16 at the Adelaide Town Hall and still remember it as if it was yesterday (now 50 years young). I will treasure the photos and memories I have of meeting, listening and watching him perform. His music and legend will always be with me. It is a sad day for Australian rock, but what a party when he gets with the rest of the rock legends. Live on!

We all grew up in the same era, thanks for the great music, Rock On Billy.
Cheryl, Melbourne Victoria

To All Billy's Loved Ones & Fans,
My deepest sympathy to all, What sad shock I awoke to this morning, He was the "Greatest Rocker".I will always remember seeing Billy perform in my small country town when I was a teenager, oh how I screamed!!

Fantastic memories.
Regards Gail

To Billy's family

My condolences to you at this time.

Although I am saddened and shocked with his sudden death as you must be - remember this - you lived with him and loved with him whilst I could only do it from afar.

However, I was a member of the Whitehorse Hotel in Boxhill where I saw Billy perform every Thursday night for about 4 years and anywhere else I could find him in Melbourne. Sunbury was awesome as were his recent gigs. He was my life for as long as I can remember.

Rock on Billy, you will be sorely missed.
Vicki Tierney (Hervey Bay Qld).

What a shock, and what a loss !!! Thorpie - you've been a legend to me since I first saw you at the first Sunbury festival in 1972, when I was 16, to the "Last Blast Tour" with Lobby at Churchill in October last year. I'm glad to have spoken to you and to Lobby after that last gig and to have shaken your hands - as you wrote when you autographed your book "Sex, Thugs and Rock 'N' Roll" for me, "Keep on Rockin' " !!!

Vale Thorpie
Ray J

Keep Rockin' Thorpie

Will never forget you or your music
Forever in our hearts
Donna, Mark and Layla Travers 

So sad to wake to the news Billy Thorpe had passed away.

I came to Australia in December 1964 as an 11-year-old. I think I was about 14 when I attended a Billy Thorpe concert that he was giving around Liverpool, Sydney, where we lived. I was born legally blind and wore very thick glasses. as we waited to get his autograph, the other kids pushed and shoved and mocked me. Billy Thorpe waited till the crowd had gone, then he called me over and asked my name. He said I had a pretty name, and he signed my autograph book. I still have it. He really brightened my day and made me feel good. I'm so sad this morning. Hope you are somewhere over the rainbow, Billy Thorpe. Thank you for your words all those years ago. My thoughts to the family, band members, his fans and all those who loved him.

Gisele Mesnage, Sydney

A truly great musician who will be missed by one and all. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. Rock on in heaven Billy.

My sincerest condolences - Ann Simpson

I think happiness when I think of Thorpe
Benes family

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