Roger Knox

The country music of Roger Knox, known as the Black Elvis, represents his personal history as an Aboriginal Australian who was born in 1948 in New South Wales, Australia. Knox’s parents were members of the “stolen generation” of Aboriginal children who were forcibly taken from their parents. He was raised on the Toomelah Aboriginal Mission and made to work unpaid at one of the mission’s properties instead of attending high school, from which he was barred. As a child he listened to gospel music with his grandmother, a Sunday school teacher. At seventeen he left the mission, went to Tamworth, and became a singer. At the Star Maker talent contest, which Knox entered when he was thirty-one, the singer received his nickname, “Black Elvis,” for his unique way of dress and hairstyle. Through the 1980s he released records ( Give It a Go and The Gospel Album; and a compilation, Warrior in Chains—the Best of Roger Knox) through Enrec Records. In the early 1980s he was involved in two plane crashes that left him badly burned and, subsequently, addicted to painkillers. An elder suggested an oil made from the euraba bush: it healed Knox, and the bush’s name became that of his backing band, the Euraba Band. Knox released Goin’ On, Still Strong in 2004 through Trailblazer Records but did not record again until he teamed up with Chicago’s Pine Valley Cosmonauts to release Stranger in My Land through Bloodshot Records. The album features Aboriginal traditional and country songs. Knox toured Australia’s prisons in an effort to bring awareness to the nation’s incarcerated Aboriginal population and has traveled to Canada for its incarcerated First Nation peoples.