Joy McKean, the Australian singer, songwriter and country music scene builder who, along with her husband, the late Slim Dusty, formed one of this nation’s great creative partnerships, died Thursday (May 25) following a battle with cancer. She was 93.
“Joy passed away peacefully last night with family by her side,” reads a message from her family, issued Friday (May 26).
A trailblazer in the country scene, McKean enjoyed a career spanning more than 70 years, and composed some of the genre’s most celebrated songs, from “The Biggest Disappointment” to “Ringer from the Top End,” “Walk a Country Mile,” “Indian Pacific” and “Lights on the Hill,” an award-winning hit for her husband Slim Dusty, whom she married in 1951. Many others have covered the song, including Keith Urban.
Lauded as the “grand lady” of Australian country, McKean made cut her teeth in the 1940s and ‘50s, working alongside her sister Heather — as the McKean Sisters.
After teaming up with Dusty, Australian country music had its golden couple. McKean wrote many of Dusty’s iconic songs, managed him for half a century, and the pair toured…