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News August 23, 2022

ARIA-Winning Margaret Urlich Dies Age 57

ARIA-Winning Margaret Urlich Dies Age 57

ARIA-winning singer-songwriter and muti-instrumentalist Margaret Urlich passed away on August 22, aged 57.

She retreated from public view to her home in the NSW Southern Highlands with her husband and manager George Gorga, after being diagnosed with cancer over two years ago.

She was best known for 90s hits such as “Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night)”, “Boy In The Moon”, “Only My Heart Calling” and “Escaping”, and a brief run of platinum albums.

Born in Auckland to a musical family, her stand-out singing voice and flair for performing saw her find success in New Zealand early.

She fronted Peking Man and joined supergroup When The Cat’s Away which had a chart-topper in 1988 with “Melting Pot” and took Group of the Year at the NZ Music Awards a year later.

The group was inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame in December 2021 but due to her ill health, she could not join the others at the ceremony.

Urlich moved to Sydney in the late 1980s. 

Her debut solo album “Safety In Numbers” on Sony Music reached No.5 in Australia, was certified triple-Platinum, and won her the 1991 ARIA for Best Breakthrough Artist.

Follow-up “Chameleon Dreams” also went Top 5 and saw her visit Europe and Japan.

Her androgynous look made her stand out, her short haircut adopted as a statement of trying not to look the archetypal female singer.

“It is such a male-dominated industry that I didn’t want to be a bimbo,” Urlich explained to Rip It Up in October 1992. “I’m a serious musician first, that’s my job, whether I’m a male or female is of no consequence.

“I got to the point where I thought, ‘Margaret, you’re attractive, why are you trying to make yourself not be attractive’.”

She did backup vocals on Daryl Braithwaite’s chart-topper “The Horses”.

She declined to return from London, where she was promoting her album, to appear on the video, and was replaced by model Gillian Bailey riding bareback on a horse on the beach.

Years later she would admit it was a bad call on her part, given how massive the record was.

Her third album “The Deepest Blue” only made it into the Top 20, and in 1998 she parted from Sony Music.

Her final album “Second Nature” in 1999 was made in her home studio with Split Enz’s Eddie Rayner and consisted of covers of her favourite New Zealand songs.

It reached Number 11 in NZ where it went platinum.


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