10 Things You Didn’t Know about Tommy Emmanuel

tommy emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel isn’t the kind of man you know by name unless you are a fan of guitar players and songwriters. He’s written and performed his fair share of music over the course of his very long career, but that doesn’t mean he’s as famous by name as he is by his work; but hey, there are far worse things to be famous for than your good work in the music industry. For much of his adult life, he’s spent this time playing the guitar in many different bands, never headlining his own work or really making his name known. You’ve seen him. You’ve heard him. You know him. You just don’t know you know him. Does that make sense? To help you get to know Tommy Emmanuel a bit better, we thought we might make a few introductions so you know a bit more than you might think.

He was born in the 50s

Tommy Emmanuel was born in a different era than myself. He was born in 1955 when the world was all about living life a lot differently than we do now. It was all about rock and roll, there was a lot less fear in the world, and people weren’t so quick to conform to what the world told them was normal. It’s probably due to the fact that the world was not at their fingertips through social media, computers and the internet at that point.

He’s Australian

Born and raised in South Wales, Tommy Emmanuel has that amazing Australian accent we all want and cannot perfect. His family was a big one. His mom and dad had six kids. We are not entirely sure where he falls in that line of kids, but we know he’s got several brothers and sisters so he is not the only boy, nor is he a brother to only one sister.

He began playing guitar when he was four

By the time he was four, his parents gifted their son with his first guitar. It turns out that his mother played, and she played well. She took the time to teach her young son the strings (pun intended, seriously) and he took to it like a natural. He and his older brother were both quite good at playing, and their father had a great idea that their mother would continue to work with them and make them the best.

He was a pro by six

Can you imagine yourself at six becoming a professional anything? I was in kindergarten when I was six, and I’m pretty sure the only thing I was professional at doing was eating dirt and playing Barbies and begging not to eat my vegetables. Maybe not the eating dirt part, really, though. At six, Tommy Emmanuel was a professional guitar player already making a name for himself in Australia. We cannot lie about how impressed we are by this.

He lived in his car for many years

Because he and his brother were so good in the music business, their father decided it was time to take the bull by the horns, figuratively, and make a bold decision. He sold their house, he packed up their family of eight, and they moved into their two station wagons and spent many years living in those and touring the country of Australia. He created a family band highlighting the talents of his two sons, and he was certain they’d reach massive success because of it.

He did not go to school and his parents were in trouble

Unfortunately, it turns out that Australia has this little rule that kids need to go to school. Since none of the Emmanuel kids regularly attended school what with living in their station wagons and not living in any one place for more than a few nights, they simply did not attend school. It took a few years, but the Australian government caught up with them and demanded the kids go to school on a regular basis or risk the parents facing extreme legal troubles.

His father died when he was young

Tommy Emmanuel’s family patriarch died when he was only 11. It was 1966, and his father passed away. That was when his mother made the decision to keep them in one place, in a house, and make them go to school. However, he still played music and he still made a name and a good reputation for himself willing a number of talent shows and making himself more and more famous throughout his teenage years.

He performed at the Olympics

During the 2000 summer Olympics, Tommy Emmanuel and his brother performed in the Sydney Olympics. They were part of the closing ceremonies, and they rocked the house. People were very impressed by their talent and they were happy to hear them perform. Of course, by this time they’d already made quite a name for themselves in the music industry, and they were already very famous.

He has health issues

Sadly, Tommy Emmanuel is not a very healthy man. Back in 2007, he was not feeling well for some time. He went to the doctor to find out what his health issues might be, and it turns out that he was diagnosed with a terrible heart condition that forced him to take a year off work and learn to care for his health and his life before his music. He should have taken more time, but he chose to go back to work touring in 2008.

His net worth

He might not be a very famous man by name, but Tommy Emmanuel’s net worth of approximately $8 million tells a different story. It turns out that he is quite happy with his success, and he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself for the rest of his life with the money he has managed to amass throughout the long career he’s had much of his life. He’s a man who knows what he wants, and he goes for it.

Photo by Getty Images

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