William Victor Simms, known as Vic Simms and Vicki Simms, is an Australian singer and songwriter. He is from La Perouse, New South Wales, and is a Bidjigal man.[1]

Simms performing


Simms began his singing career at age 12 at the Manly Jazzorama Music Festival in 1957,[2] soon after Col Joye heard him as an 11-year-old singing at a football social. He released his first single (as "Vicki Simms"), "Yo-Yo Heart" (Festival Records), at age 15. He performed with Johnny O'Keefe, Shirley Bassey and Robie Porter among other prominent singers.[3]

After getting into alcohol and committing a robbery, he was sent to prison.[1] Whilst incarcerated in the notorious Bathurst Gaol[4] he learnt how to play guitar and started writing songs. In 1973, his music was heard by a Robin Hood Foundation and they sent a tape to RCA who organised to have him record an album. This album was recorded in one hour with a mobile studio in the prison dining room and was released as The Loner. It has been described as "Australia's great lost classic album of black protest music".[4] After the release of the album he was sent on tours of other prisons, shopping malls and the Sydney Opera House as an example of a model prisoner. After he was convinced he was being used he refused to continue the shows.[2]

After his release from prison, he reentered the entertainment industry. He has toured Australian prisons and, in 1990, he toured Canada with Roger Knox and Bobby McLeod where they played in prisons and on reservations. In 1996, he released a covers album, "From The Heart".

Simms was given a Deadly in 2001 for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Music.[5]

In 2009, The Loner was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.[6] In 2013, it was re-released by Sandman records.[7][8]

"Selections From the Loner" was released by Painted Ladies 6 June 2014.[9] Songs from the original album were re-recorded by artists including Luke Peacock, Paul Kelly and Vic Simms himself.[10][11][12]

Simms sang "Stranger in My Country" in both the SBS documentary and accompanying cd, Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music.


  • "Yo-Yo Heart" (1961) - Festival
  • "I'm Counting Up My Love" (1961) - Festival
  • Yo-Yo Heart ep (1962) - Festival
  • The Loner (1973) - RCA
  • "Back Into The Shadows" (1973) - RCA
  • "Koala Bear" (1988) - Enrec
  • From The Heart (1996) - Bunyip


  • Walker, Clinton (2000). "Prison Songs". Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Pluto Press. pp. 119–137. ISBN 1-86403-152-2.
  1. ^ a b Message Stick, "Once in a Lifetime" the story of Vic Simms
  2. ^ a b Deadly Vibe Archived 7 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine Vic Simms
  3. ^ Mess and Noise "Vic Simms: ‘I Wasn’t In The Position To Make Demands’", 30 July 2013 Retrieved 21 March 2015
  4. ^ a b The Age Jailhouse rocker
  5. ^ Deadly Vibe Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine The 2001 Deadlys
  6. ^ National Film and Sound Archive Sounds of Australia registry Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Sandman Records website Vic Simms - The Loner Retrieved 18 March 2015
  8. ^ Discogs website Vic Simms - The Loner (CD, Album) at Discogs Retrieved 18 March 2015
  9. ^ "Reviving The Tunes Of Vic Simms". 27 June 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  10. ^ ABC website Vic Simms album The Loner revived by Australian musicians including Paul Kelly Retrieved 18 March 2015
  11. ^ Painted Ladies website Recording Info Retrieved 18 March 2015
  12. ^ "Musicians Vic Simms and Luke Peacock bring new life to 'The Loner'". 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.

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