At the age of 91, Chad Morgan OAM is the world’s only continuously performing entertainer who is still plying his trade.
Up until very recently, the Sheik of Scrubby Creek has maintained a gruelling schedule, touring constantly and, for more years than he can recall, completing a punishing 10-day stint at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
This was regrettably cancelled when Chad received advice from his doctor not to proceed with the commitment due to his deteriorating health condition. He has chronic arthritis throughout his body. While Chad is still well enough to attend a performance, and share a song or two, he will, so his friends are gathering at Twin Towns Services Club from 2pm on Sunday, April 21 for a concert to remember.
There are few, if any, who can recall Chad’s earliest performances, as they too, are now reaching their golden years. The thing with Chad Morgan fans is it’s usually a multi-generational thing. Great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and their daughters will invariably become Chad Morgan fans if they grew up in an ordinary, everyday house in Australia in the 1950s and ’60s. His greatest satisfaction is in seeing a row of happy little faces in the audience singing along with his songs.
The Sheik rose to prominence in 1952 on Australia’s Amateur Hour, becoming the radio talent search’s most successful runner-up in the competition’s history. This was the first of many accolades to come his way in a career that’s spanned seven decades … and counting.
The ultimate recognition any country music artist in Australasia can earn is elevation to the Roll of Renown. Chad received this honour in 1987. Eleven years previously, his palm prints were placed in cement at Tamworth’s Hands of Fame, where he joins more than 300 of his fellow artists and friends in one of the Country Music Capital’s most popular tourist attractions. His quirky single, The Sheik of Scrubby Creek, sent hitmakers like Doris Day and Bing Crosby scurrying down the charts so he could take over his rightful place at the top.
In 2023, Chad launched his autobiography, Chad Morgan: Seventy Years in the Making, written by Anna Rose. The limited-edition collector’s item is close to selling out of the original print run of 1000.
Seventy years later he’s still packing out country halls and commanding festival mosh pits. The Sheik is a force of nature, legendary in every sense of the word. Once seen, never forgotten.