|Birth name||Peter Richard Woolnough|
|Born||10 February 1944|
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||18 June 1992 48) (aged|
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Labels||Metromedia, A&M Records, Arista, RCA Victor|
|Associated acts||The Allen Brothers|
Peter Allen (born Peter Richard Woolnough; 10 February 1944 – 18 June 1992) was an Australian singer-songwriter, musician and entertainer, known for his flamboyant stage persona and lavish costumes. His songs were made popular by many recording artists, including Elkie Brooks, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, with one, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" by Christopher Cross, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1981. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed a cabaret and concert career, including appearing at the Radio City Music Hall riding a camel. His Australian patriotism song "I Still Call Australia Home", has been used extensively in advertising campaigns, and was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry in 2013.
Allen was the first husband of Liza Minnelli, with the couple divorcing after seven years of marriage; he later[ when? ] came out as gay. He and his long-term partner died from AIDS-related illnesses eight years apart, with Allen becoming one of the first well-known Australians to die from AIDS. Several years after his death, the musical The Boy from Oz was written about his life. It ran on Broadway and earned Hugh Jackman a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Allen was born Peter Richard Woolnough in Tenterfield, New South Wales, a small Australian country town where his grandfather, George Woolnough, worked as a saddler. He grew up in nearby Armidale, where he lived from about 6 weeks of age until the age of 15. This is also where he first learned piano and dance. His father Dick became a violent alcoholic after returning from World War II.He committed suicide by gunshot when Peter was still young. George never understood or got over this devastating event. Soon after this the family moved to Lismore to live. This tale is told in the song "Tenterfield Saddler".
He began his performing career with Chris Bell as one of the Allen Brothers, who were a popular cabaret and television act in the early 1960s in Australia. He began performing as "Peter Allen" around the same time. Mark Herron, the husband of Judy Garland, discovered Allen while he was performing in Hong Kong.
Allen commenced releasing solo recordings in 1971, but throughout his career achieved greater success through his songs being recorded by others. He scored his biggest success with the song "I Honestly Love You", which he co-wrote with Jeff Barry and which became a major hit in 1974 for Olivia Newton-John. Her single reached number one in the United States and Canada and won two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Newton-John. Allen also co-wrote "Don't Cry Out Loud" with Carole Bayer Sager, popularized by Melissa Manchester in 1978, and "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love", also co-written with Bayer Sager and popularized by Rita Coolidge in 1979. One of his signature songs, "I Go to Rio", co-written with Adrienne Anderson, was popularized in America by the group Pablo Cruise.
In 1976, Allen released an album, Taught by Experts , which reached number one in Australia, along with the number one single "I Go to Rio" and the Top 10 hit "The More I See You". Although his recording career in the US never progressed, he performed in Atlantic City and at Carnegie Hall. He had three extended sold-out engagements at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, where he became the first male dancer to dance with The Rockettes and rode a camel during "I Go to Rio".This performance was broadcast live and exclusively on subscription television service WHT The Movie Network.
Allen's most successful album was Bi-Coastal (1980), produced by David Foster and featuring the single "Fly Away", which in 1981 became his only US chart single, reaching No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, Allen co-wrote the Patti LaBelle hit "I Don't Go Shopping", which reached the top 30 on the R&B chart in 1980.
Allen co-wrote the song "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Christopher Cross, for the 1981 film Arthur . The song reached number one in the US and the songwriters won an Academy Award for Best Song. One lyric for the song, "If you get caught between the moon and New York City", was adapted from an earlier song that he and Bayer Sager co-wrote. Allen and Bayer Sager also co-wrote "You and Me (We Wanted It All)", which was recorded by Frank Sinatra. A video of Sinatra singing the song at Carnegie Hall was included as part of the Sinatra: New York package, released in late 2009.
Allen performed on Australian television for many important occasions; in front of Queen Elizabeth II in 1980 at the Sydney Opera House, before Prince Charles and Princess Diana, once in Melbourne and again in Sydney in 1981, at the opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1983, where he unveiled for the first time his Australian "Flag" shirt, and the 1980 VFL Grand Final in Melbourne. His "Up in One Concert" of 1980 was a big ratings success across the country. When Australia won the America's Cup in 1983, he flew to Perth to sing before an audience of 100,000. In 1988, he opened for Frank Sinatra at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland. In America, he appeared at the 30th anniversary of Disneyland. He returned to recording on Arista with an album entitled Not the Boy Next Door (1983). In 1990, he recorded his final album on RCA Victor, Making Every Moment Count , which featured Melissa Manchester and Harry Connick, Jr. The song "Making Every Moment Count", a duet with Manchester, was co-written by Seth Swirsky, who also produced a number of songs he co-wrote with Allen, including Allen's last-released single, "Tonight You Made My Day".
One of his songs, '"I Still Call Australia Home", became popular through its use in television commercials, initially for National Panasonic and, since 1987, for Qantas Airways.
He made his Broadway debut on 12 January 1971, in Soon , a rock opera that opened at the Ritz Theatre and ran for three performances. He starred in his own one-man revue on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre, Up in One: More Than a Concert (1979), which ran for 46 performances.[ citation needed ]
Allen recorded a live album called Captured Live at Carnegie Hall where songs from his musical Legs Diamond , were previewed. Legs Diamond opened on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on 26 December 1988, with a book co-written by Harvey Fierstein. The musical ran for 64 performances and 72 previews. After Legs Diamond closed he returned to concert work, touring with Bernadette Peters during the summer of 1989.Peter and Bernadette also performed in the early 1980s on the Academy Award broadcast in an extended musical tribute to Irving Berlin.
On 26 November 2005 an extension of the Tenterfield Library was opened and named the "George Woolnough Wing".
Allen married Liza Minnelli in 1967; they were divorced in 1974.
Becoming more comfortable with his homosexuality from the 1970s to 1984, Allen had a long-time partner, Gregory Connell. Connell was a fashion model from Texas who designed the sound and lighting for Allen's shows and sang backup on his rendition of "I Go to Rio".Connell died from an AIDS-related illness in 1984 at their home in California.
Allen's last performance was on 26 January 1992 in Sydney. He died in San Diego, California, on 18 June 1992 from an AIDS-related throat cancer.He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
A documentary titled The Boy from Oz about Allen was produced after his death, featuring clips from his performances as well as interviews with performers who worked with him.
A stage musical based on his life, also titled The Boy from Oz , opened in Australia in 1998. Using his largely autobiographical songs, the production starred Todd McKenney as Allen and Christina Amphlett of the rock group Divinyls as Judy Garland. In 2003, the musical opened on Broadway, becoming the first Australian musical ever to be performed there. In this production Allen was played by Hugh Jackman, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal in 2004. Jackman performed this role again two years later when the show toured large arenas in Australia under the title The Boy from Oz: Arena Spectacular. A TV mini series, Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door , was broadcast in Australia in 2015 with Joel Jackson playing the adult Allen and Ky Baldwin playing him as a youth. Supporting roles were played by Rebecca Gibney as Marion Woolnough (Allen's mother), Sarah West as Liza Minnelli and Sigrid Thornton as Judy Garland.
During the closing few moments of the final episode of The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder , during a video/photo montage, Peter Allen's "Once Before I Go" played in the background
In the 1979 film All That Jazz , Allen's live rendition of “Everything Old Is New Again” is danced to by Ann Reinking and Erzebet Foldi for Roy Scheider’s character Joe Gideon based on Bob Fosse.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
| AUS || US |
|1972|| Tenterfield Saddler ||95||—|
|1974|| Continental American ||87||—|
|1976|| Taught by Experts ||11||—|
|1979|| I Could Have Been a Sailor ||69||171|
|1980|| Bi-Coastal ||55||123|
|1983|| Not the Boy Next Door ||36||170|
|1990|| Making Every Moment Count ||—||—|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
| AUS |
|1977|| It Is Time for Peter Allen ||30|
|1985|| Captured Live at Carnegie Hall ||—|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
| AUS |
|1982|| The Very Best of Peter Allen / The Best||9|
|1992|| The Very Best of Peter Allen: The Boy from Down Under ||16|
|1993||At His Best||—|
|1998||Singer-Songwriter: The Anthology||—|
|2001||20th Century Masters: The Best of Peter Allen||—|
|2006|| The Ultimate Peter Allen ||18|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
| AUS || US || US|
| NZ || NLD || BEL |
|1971||"Honest Queen"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Peter Allen|
|1972||"Just Ask Me I've Been There"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Tenterfield Saddler|
|1975||"I Honestly Love You"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Continental American|
|"She Loves to Hear the Music"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Taught by Experts|
|1976||"The More I See You"||80||108||40||—||—||—|
|"I Go to Rio"||1||—||—||22||27||30|
|1977||"The More I See You" (re-release)||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978||"Don't Cry Out Loud"||—||—||—||—||—||—||I Could Have Been a Sailor|
|1979||"Don't Wish Too Hard"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"I Could Have Been a Sailor"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1980||"I Still Call Australia Home"||60||—||—||—||—||—||Bi-Coastal|
|"One Step Over the Borderline"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983||"Not the Boy Next Door"||76||—||—||—||—||—||Not the Boy Next Door|
|"You Haven't Heard the Last of Me"||—||—||15||—||—||—|
|"Once Before I Go"||—||—||26||—||—||—|
|1984||"You and Me (We Wanted It All)"||—||—||41||—||—||—|
The Boy from Oz is a jukebox musical based on the life of singer and songwriter Peter Allen, featuring songs written by him. The original book is by Nick Enright, with a revised book by Martin Sherman. Premiering in Australia in 1998 starring Todd McKenney, the musical opened in a revised version on Broadway in 2003 with Hugh Jackman in the title role.
"September Song" is an American standard popular song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. It was introduced by Walter Huston in the 1938 Broadway musical production Knickerbocker Holiday. After being used in the 1950 film September Affair, the song has been recorded by numerous singers and instrumentalists. It was also used during screen credits in the British television series May to December, the name of which quotes the opening line of the song.
Legs Diamond is a musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and Charles Suppon based on the Warner Brothers film The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), with a screenplay by Joseph Landon. The music and lyrics are by Peter Allen, who starred as the title character in the Broadway production.
Rick Allan Price is an Australian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. His debut album, Heaven Knows, was released in July 1992, which peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It provided two top ten singles, "Not a Day Goes By" and the title track (July). At the APRA Music Awards of 1992 "Heaven Knows" won Song of the Year for Price and his co-writer, Heather Field. His second album, contained the single "River of Love" (April), which peaked at No. 18. Since 2009 he has been a resident of Nashville, Tennessee. He was worked with numerous artists, as a vocalist and songwriter, including Tina Arena, Tommy Emmanuel, Mitch Grainger, Jack Jones, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and numerous others. Whilst as a music producer he has worked for Girlfriend and Dami Im.
George Woolnough was a saddler in Tenterfield, New South Wales from 1908 until his retirement in 1960.
Dean Pitchford is an American songwriter, screenwriter, director, actor, and novelist. His work has earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award, as well as nominations for three additional Oscars, two more Golden Globes, eight Grammy Awards, and two Tony Awards.
Spirit of the Bush is the eleventh studio album released by Australian country musician Lee Kernaghan. The album peaked at number five on the ARIA Charts. The album features seven new recordings including John Schumann’s track, "I Was Only 19 " and Peter Allen’s "Tenterfield Saddler". The album was certified platinum in 2009.
The 2006 World Tour was the twelfth concert tour by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John. The tour had two legs, first in Japan, and second in Australia. A tour recording in Australia was released on DVD and CD, by EMI.
"Don't Cry Out Loud" is a song written in 1976 by Peter Allen with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager that is best known as a hit single for Melissa Manchester in the US and for Elkie Brooks in the UK.
Continental American is the third studio album by Peter Allen, released in 1974. The album was his first for A&M Records, and is notable for the inclusion of Allen's version of his co-authored hit for Olivia Newton-John, among others, "I Honestly Love You".
"Tenterfield Saddler" is a song written by Peter Allen in 1970. It was released in 1972 as the second single from his second studio album of the same name.
Not the Boy Next Door is the seventh and penultimate studio album by Australian singer and songwriter Peter Allen released in March 1983. This was his first release for Arista Records.
The Very Best of Peter Allen: The Boy from Down Under is a greatest hits album by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, released in Australia in August 1992 through A&M Records.
Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door is a two-part Australian miniseries about music legend Peter Allen that screened on the Seven Network in 2015.
Two Strong Hearts Live is a live album by John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John recorded in Melbourne with Philharmonia Australia in April 2015. During the concert, the two performed a set spanning their hits over five decades along with several covers.
The Very Best of Peter Allen is the first compilation album released by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen. It was released in 1982 through A&M Records, completing the deal with the label. The album peaked at number 9 on the Australian Kent Music Report..
It Is Time for Peter Allen is the first live album by the Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, released in 1977. The album peaked at number 30 on the Australian Kent Music Report.
The Ultimate Peter Allen is a greatest hits album by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, released in Australia in July 2006 through Universal Music Australia.
Hugh Jackman: in Concert is a music concert by Australian actor, musician and dancer Hugh Jackman.
Tenterfield Dreams: The Musical Journey of Peter Allen is the fifth studio album by Australian recording artist Colleen Hewett, released in July 1997. The album is a tribute album to Australian musician Peter Allen who died in 1992.