Ninety-year-old Tom LeGarde, the last surviving member of Australian country music duo the LeGarde Twins, died on July 30: almost three years to the day of his identical twin brother Ted's Aug. 1, 2018 passing.
Born on March 15, 1931 in Mackay, Queensland, Australia, Tom and Ted LeGarde left home at age 15 to become rodeo circuit cowboys. In line with the life stories of Cody Johnson and others, that goal would soon give way to music as the brothers became skilled guitarists and singers. They went on to tour their home country in the '50s with their childhood hero, Hopalong Cassidy, and recorded sides for Regal Zonophone.
"Australia's Yodeling Stockmen" would later move to Canada, the home country of one of their musical cowboy influences, Wilf Carter (also known as Montana Slim), before finding television exposure in Los Angeles.
During their first stay in Nashville in the late '50s and early '60s, the twins debuted on the Grand Ole Opry, opening their set with the song "Cooee Call."
The brothers returned to their home country during the '60s, where they ran a venue in Sydney and recorded multiple sides and albums for Columbia (namely discography highlight Ballads of the Bushland).
During one of their stints in the states, the brothers were managed by Col. Tom Parker and made regular appearances in Las Vegas. Their made-for-Hollywood good looks made them ideal guest stars on such TV shows as Star Trek.
In the '70s and beyond, they found success in Tennessee, scoring their biggest hits stateside (their highest-charting crossover single, "I Can Almost Touch The Feeling," was issued by Four Star Records in 1979) and running the LeGarde Twins Country Music Theatre out of Conway Twitty's Twitty City in Hendersonville. Following Twitty's 1993 passing, the theatre relocated to the Quality Inn Hall of Fame, adjacent to Music Row in Nashville.
No word on the cause of Tom LeGarde's death.