12-9-41 Died 16-2-83
At a time when
there were few local rock singers, he stood out with his stunning good looks,
leopard skin suit, & moccasins. He formed a band, the "R’Jays"
in 1958 & began playing dances
in town halls around Sydney. With primitive
electric instruments & sound equipment,
they were rock ‘n’ roll
pioneers, playing their first dance in August 1958.
In 1959 he obtained an audition with "Festival Records." His singing
did not impress,
but the way the girls yelled & screamed as soon as he went
on stage did.
"Ken Taylor" the boss of Festival said, "Even if
you haven’t got a voice, my eyes tell me
I could sell your records on your
looks if nothing else."
They became the third Australian rock act signed
by Festival; following,
"Johnny O’Keefe," & "Col Joye."His first record,
"I WANNA LOVE YOU"
was written by his 16 year old brother
"Doug." Regular appearances on "6 O’clock Rock"
popularity, & by August 1959 he had his own tv show, "TEENTIME" on
the 7 network.
Festival’s Pyrmont studio was so unsophisticated; the ‘echo
chamber’ was an unused lavatory.
Whenever the toilet was flushed, it would be
heard on the recording.
"Lee Gordon" booked him for the big shows, "Lloyd Price"
July 1959; & "Ricky Nelson," 1960.
In October 1959 he smashed his
car on the approaches to Sydney Harbour Bridge.
It was feared the man with the
"James Dean" looks, was following closely in his footsteps.
‘R’Jays’ became the house band at "Festival" & provided the
backing to various artists,
including "Noelene Batley’s" ‘BAREFOOT
BOY;’ the first national hit by an Australian female rock ‘n’ roll singer.
In March 1961 "Dig" headlined a show at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in
Melbourne, with support acts, "Johnny Devlin" & "Lucky Starr.
He did 12 encores.
Chasing an adult audience in the mid 1960’s he changed his name to "Digby,"
learned guitar, & took up singing lessons at Sydney’s Conservatory of
After returning from overseas in 1971, his work was considered country &
He died of
The story of
"Dig Richards & the R’Jays" is told in, "BEHIND THE ROCK:
The Diary Of A Rock Band," by "Jon Hayton" & "Leon
Isackson" (Select Books, 1990).
Peter Baker, bass
Bob Bertles, sax (1960)
Jay Boogie, piano (1959-61)
Peter Cross, sax (1960)
Laurie Goodfellow, sax (1959)
John Haydon, guitar (1958-61)
Leon Isackson, drums (1960)
Brian Kelly, bass (1961)
Kerry Konyard, guitar (1958-59)
Barry Lewis, drums (1958-1959)
Peter Maris, sax-clarinet (1958-59)
Ron Patton, sax (1960)
Roger Paulfreman, bass (1958-59)
Dig Richards, vocals
Brian Smith, sax (1960)