Home Up

LeGarde Twins

 

Home


Tom & Ted

Tom & Ted, The World Famous LeGarde Twins or Australia, as they are sometimes known, are one of Australia's most successful Tom & Ted, The LeGarde Twinscountry music exports to Nashville. Their brand of Australian Bush music blended with no-nonsense American Country music has endeared them to audiences throughout the world. Tom (the elder by 30 minutes) and Ted were born of a French father (Edward) and English mother (Ada). Their father was a dairy and sugar cane farmer while their mother had been a nurse. Growing up on the farm, they soon became adept horsemen and later won many prizes riding broncos. When they were age 9, their elder brother, George, bought a portable gramophone and some records and they were immediately turned on to the singing and yodeling of Canadian Wilf Carter (Montana Slim). 

They both decided that they wanted to become cowboy stars. That same brother (who would later die in an accident) bought them a guitar. When they were age 13, the twins saw a Hopalong Cassidy movie and they were totally hooked. They left school and home at age 15 and with one guitar and less than $10 between them, they headed northwest. They got jobs on Queensland’s biggest cattle station, Rocky Ponds, where they worked for almost a year. While on a cattle drove to the Merinda Meat Works, they learned of a rodeo in Bowen and entered every event without winning, but they also sang to the crowd and got a very positive response. In the audience was the ringmaster of Buddy Williams’ Circus and Rodeo, and Tom and Ted were engaged as rough riders for a tour of Northern Queensland. By the time they were 17, they were the youngest professional riders in rodeos and began developing their interest in showmanship that included whip cracking, rifle-shooting and card tricks. They then decided to go to Brisbane to see what a big city was like. It was, also, an education for Brisbane, as the two young boys arrived wearing flycatcher hats and hobnailed boots. At the time, the Brisbane Exhibition was taking place and Tom and Ted got to meet the legendary Tex Morton. Morton hired the twins to sing and ride during the Exhibition week. In 1949, they went to Melbourne to work again with Buddy Williams as advance agents and entertainers. They arrived back in Brisbane in 1950 and decided to go to Sydney, which was starting to boom as an entertainment center. 

They were signed to the fledgling Rodeo label. They released five singles on the label, One Little Letter/The Sunset Yodel, Echo Yodel/Pony Boy, Before the Dawn/There’s a Bridle Hanging on the Wall, They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree/Gallop Along and The Sinner’s Prayer/Ting A Ling A Jingle, all of which did well. As their appeal widened, the LeGardes were billed as "Australia’s Yodeling Stockmen." During 1951, the twins spent 10 months studying dramatic art. In 1952, they signed with the prestigious Regal-Zonophone label and released a string of singles through 1957, including Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine, There Stands The Glass, I Don’t Hurt Anymore, In The Jailhouse Now, Release Me and The Waltz You Saved For Me. They started to work a lot with disabled children and have helped the Crippled Children’s Appeal. In 1954, the twins appeared with Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) when he toured Australia. 

In 1957, they decided to try their luck in the U.S. and after a period of time in Canada went to Hollywood, where they worked on Doye O’Dell’s Western Varieties TV shows and hosted their own TV series on KTLA-TV Los Angeles. By 1958, they were settled in Nashville and they released Freight Train Yodel on Dot. In 1960, Joe Allison produced them on their single, Baby Sitter, which was released on Liberty. The following year, Earl Palmer produced them on Roll Rock And Roll That Hula Hoop, which was released on Bel Canto Records. While in Nashville, they appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, singing their self-penned song, Cooee Call. The LeGardes returned to Australia in 1963 with the intention of opening the equivalent of the Opry in Sydney. They acquired an old theater in Paddington, Sydney, called Wests and began shows there. They brought in Marty Robbins, Speedy West and Lorne Greene. The twins began recording for Columbia and cut three albums, Ballads Of The Bushland, Twincerely Yours, and Songs Of Slim and Dusty as well as a quartet of singles, I’m Moving On, Don’t Let Me Cross Over (with another Australian star, Reg Lindsay), Faded Love, and Trouble’s Back In Town. 

They also began emceeing two Country music shows, Studio A, which was built around them, and Country Style, which they took over. By 1965, their business interests had come to an end and they returned to the U.S. For a while, they were managed by Colonel Tom Parker and appeared in Las Vegas. They, also, appeared in the Star Trek series as androids. Over the next few years, the LeGarde Twins recorded singles for Era (1968), Enity (1968), Dot (1972), American Heritage (1972) and Edge (1974). In 1975, they recorded True Love with Gary Paxton producing, which was released on Raindrop Records. In 1978, this single became a Top 90 Country hit. In the meanwhile, the twins had recorded for Koala in 1976 and then in 1979, again with Gary Paxton producing, they had another Top 90 single, I Can Almost Touch The Feelin' on Four Star. The following year, The LeGardes scraped into the charts with Daddy’s Making Records In Nashville, which was released on Invitation. On January 27, 1987, they imprinted their hands in Tamworth’s Hands of Fame, being recognized as significant contributors to the history of Australian Country Music. During the 80’s, The LeGarde Twins became very popular in Britain, appearing at the Wembley Festival and in 1988, hosting one of the concerts. That year, they made another basement entry on the country chart with Crocodile Man From Walk-About Creek on the Bear label. In recent years, the LeGarde Twins have operated their own LeGarde Twins Country Music Theatre out of Twitty City in Hendersonville, Tennessee. With the death of Conway Twitty and the sale of Twitty City, The LeGardes relocated their theater to the Quality Inn Hall of Fame Hotel close to Nashville’s Music Row. The LeGarde Twins are currently touring doing Western Festivals.

 

 

Send mail to rhoysted@bigpond.net.au with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2005 Ron Hoysted
Last modified: October 02, 2006