Peter Allen (musician)

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Peter Allen
Birth namePeter Richard Woolnough
Born(1944-02-10)10 February 1944
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia
Died18 June 1992(1992-06-18) (aged 48)
San Diego, California, U.S.
GenresPop
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsVocals, piano
Years active1968–1992
Labels Metromedia, A&M Records, Arista, RCA Victor

Peter Allen (born Peter Richard Woolnough; 10 February 1944 – 18 June 1992) was an Australian-born 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. [1]

Elkie Brooks English singer

Elkie Brooks is an English singer, a vocalist with the bands Dada and Vinegar Joe, and later a solo artist. She gained her biggest success in the late 1970s and 1980s and has been nominated twice for Brit Awards. She is known for her powerful husky bluesy voice and her 13 Top 75 singles such as "Pearl's a Singer", "Lilac Wine", "Don't Cry Out Loud", "Fool ", and "No More the Fool". Between her first chart album in 1977 and 1997 Brooks became the UK Female Artist with the Most Top 75 Chart Albums.

Melissa Manchester American actor and signer

Melissa Manchester is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Since the 1970s, her songs have been carried by adult contemporary radio stations. She has also appeared on television, in films, and on stage.

Olivia Newton-John English-born Australian singer, songwriter and actress

Olivia Newton-John, is an English-Australian singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and activist. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five number-one and ten other top ten Billboard Hot 100 singles, and two number-one Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles and 14 of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA. She has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. She starred in the musical film Grease, and its soundtrack is one of the most successful in history, with the single "You're the One That I Want", with John Travolta, one of the best selling singles.

Contents

Allen was the first husband of Liza Minnelli, with the couple divorcing after seven years of marriage; he later 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.

Liza Minnelli American actress and singer

Liza May Minnelli is an American actress and singer. Best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret (1972), she is known for her energetic stage presence and her powerful mezzo-soprano singing voice. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. She is of Italian and mixed European descent.

<i>The Boy from Oz</i> musical

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.

Hugh Jackman Australian actor and producer

Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, singer, and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in a variety of film genres. He is best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, for which he holds the Guinness World Record for "longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero". He is also recognized for his lead roles in films such as the romantic-comedy fantasy Kate & Leopold (2001), the action-horror film Van Helsing (2004), the magic-themed drama The Prestige (2006), the epic fantasy drama The Fountain (2006), the epic historical romantic drama Australia (2008), the film version of Les Misérables (2012), the thriller Prisoners (2013), and the musical The Greatest Showman (2017), for which he received a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album. His work in Les Misérables earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and his second Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2013.

Biography

Allen (seated) and Chris Bell as the Allen Brothers, 1967 Peter Allen and Chris Bell The Allen Brothers 1967.JPG
Allen (seated) and Chris Bell as the Allen Brothers, 1967

Peter Allen was born Peter Richard Woolnough in Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia. He was the grandson of George Woolnough, whom Allen immortalised in his 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.

Tenterfield, New South Wales Town in New South Wales, Australia

Tenterfield is a regional town in New South Wales, Australia. At the 2016 census, Tenterfield had a population of approximately 4,000. Tenterfield's proximity to many regional centres and its position on the route between Sydney and Brisbane led to its development as a centre for the promotion of the federation of the Australian colonies.

George Woolnough Australian saddler

George Woolnough was a saddler in Tenterfield, New South Wales from 1908 until his retirement in 1960.

Tenterfield Saddler (song) 1972 song performed by Peter Allen

"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.

Career

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.

I Honestly Love You 1974 single by Olivia Newton-John

"I Honestly Love You" was a worldwide pop hit single for Olivia Newton-John in 1974. The song was Newton-John's first number-one single in the United States and Canada.

Jeff Barry is an American pop music songwriter, singer, and record producer. Among the most successful songs that he has co-written in his career are "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", "Be My Baby", "Chapel of Love", and "River Deep - Mountain High" ; "Leader of the Pack" ; and "Sugar, Sugar".

The Grammy Award for Record of the Year is presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to sales or chart position." The Record of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

for commercially released singles or tracks of new vocal or instrumental recordings. Tracks from a previous year's album may be entered provided the track was not entered the previous year and provided the album did not win a Grammy. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) if other than the artist.

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". [2] This performance was broadcast live and exclusively on subscription television service WHT The Movie Network. [3]

<i>Taught by Experts</i> 1976 studio album by Peter Allen

Taught by Experts is the fourth studio album by Peter Allen, released in 1976. It spawned the hit "I Go to Rio". The album featured such musicians as Thom Rotella, Jerome Richardson, Lesley Gore and Dusty Springfield.

I Go to Rio 1976 single by Peter Allen

"I Go to Rio" is a popular song written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson, and performed by Allen. It became a signature song of Allen, as well as being covered by Peggy Lee and Pablo Cruise, among others, in addition to being subject to multiple soundtrack inclusions.

"The More I See You" is a popular song composed by Harry Warren, with lyrics by Mack Gordon, and was originally sung by Dick Haymes in the 1945 film Diamond Horseshoe.

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.

<i>Bi-Coastal</i> 1980 studio album by Peter Allen

Bi-Coastal is the sixth studio album released in 1980 by Australian singer and songwriter Peter Allen. The album is Allen's most successful and was produced by David Foster who also wrote many of its songs. The hit "Fly Away", originally by Japanese artist Mariya Takeuchi, was co-written by Foster and Carole Bayer Sager. The title tune co-written by Foster and Tom Keane is said to be about Allen's sexuality, who came out as gay after his marriage with Liza Minnelli ended.

David Foster Canadian musician, record producer, songwriter

David Walter Foster, OC, OBC, is a Canadian musician, record producer, composer, songwriter, and arranger. He has been a producer for musicians including Chaka Khan, Alice Cooper, Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli, Toni Braxton, Michael Bublé, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Kenny Rogers, Seal, Rod Stewart, Jake Zyrus, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Peter Cetera, Cheryl Lynn and Barbra Streisand. Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations. He was the chairman of Verve Records from 2012 to 2016.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

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". [4]

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. [5] [6]

Broadway

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. [7] Peter and Bernadette also performed in the early 1980s on the Academy Award broadcast in an extended musical tribute to Irving Berlin.

Other work

Personal life

Allen was born 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. [9] 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". 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. [2]

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". [10] Connell died from an AIDS-related illness in 1984 at their home in California. [11]

Death and legacy

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. [12] 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. [13]

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 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. [14]

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.

Filmography

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
AUS
[15]
US
[16]
1971Peter Allen
1972 Tenterfield Saddler
  • Label: Metromedia
95 [upper-alpha 1]
1974 Continental American 87 [upper-alpha 2]
1976 Taught by Experts
  • Label: A&M
11
1979 I Could Have Been a Sailor
  • Label: A&M
69171
1980 Bi-Coastal
  • Label: A&M
55123
1983 Not the Boy Next Door 36170
1990 Making Every Moment Count

Live albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
AUS
[15]
1977 It Is Time for Peter Allen
  • Label: A&M
30
1985 Captured Live at Carnegie Hall
  • Label: Arista Records

Compilation albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
AUS
[15] [17]
1982 The Very Best of Peter Allen / The Best
  • Label: A&M
9
1992 The Very Best of Peter Allen: The Boy from Down Under
  • Label: A&M
16
1993At His Best
  • Label: A&M
1998Singer-Songwriter: The Anthology
  • Label: A&M
200120th Century Masters: The Best of Peter Allen
  • Label: A&M
2006 The Ultimate Peter Allen 18 [upper-alpha 3]

Singles

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
AUS
[18]
US
[19]
US
AC

[19]
NZ
[20]
NLD
[21]
BEL
[22]
1971"Honest Queen"Peter Allen
1972"Just Ask Me I've Been There"Tenterfield Saddler
"Tenterfield Saddler"53 [upper-alpha 4]
1975"I Honestly Love You"Continental American
"She Loves to Hear the Music"Taught by Experts
1976"The More I See You"8010840
"I Go to Rio"1222730
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 [upper-alpha 5] Bi-Coastal
"Bi-Coastal"78
1981"Fly Away"5545
"One Step Over the Borderline"
1983"Not the Boy Next Door"76Not 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

Notes

  1. The album Tenterfield Saddler did not chart in Australia until January 1980.
  2. The album Continental American did not chart in Australia until October 1977.
  3. The album The Ultimate Peter Allen reached its peak position in Australia in September 2015.
  4. The single "Tenterfield Saddler" reached its peak position in Australia in September 2015.
  5. The single "I Still Call Australia Home" reached its peak position in Australia in September 2015.

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References

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  2. 1 2 He then became a Goodwill Ambassador for Radio City Music Hall. Peter Allen allmusic.com, accessed 2 December 2008
  3. Wometco Home Theater/Peter Allen and the Rockettes TV Commercial on YouTube
  4. Peter Allen - Topic (2014-10-11), Making Every Moment Count , retrieved 2017-01-09
  5. Duncan Macleod. "Qantas I Still Call Australia Home". The Inspiration Room Daily. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  6. McIntyre, Paul. "It's all aboard for a Qantas jumbo", The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2004
  7. Cudd, Bruce."Remembering Peter Allen" Archived 7 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine ., gmhc.org, 2003
  8. "Miss Universe 1981 Judges & Guest stars". bellezavenezolana.net. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  9. Service Record
  10. "Taught By Experts" LP back cover.
  11. Lucy E. Cross. "Peter Allen". Masterworks Broadway . Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  12. Lambert, Bruce (19 June 1992). "Peter Allen, Concert Entertainer And Songwriter, Is Dead at 48". The New York Times .
  13. The Boy From Oz listing amazon.com, accessed 2 December 2008
  14. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4401126/
  15. 1 2 3 David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970 - 1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  16. "Peter Allen - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic . Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  17. "Discography Peter Allen". Hung Medien. australian-charts.com. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  18. David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
    • "I Still Call Australia Home": Ryan, Gavin (19 September 2015). "ARIA Singles: Justin Bieber 'What Do You Mean' Keeps Top Spot". Noise11. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
    • "Tenterfield Saddler": Ryan, Gavin (26 September 2015). "ARIA Singles: Justin Bieber Maintains Top Spot After Four Weeks". Noise11. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  19. 1 2 "Peter Allen – Chart history - Billboard". Billboard . Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  20. "Peter Allen New Zealand Singles". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  21. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Peter Allen search results". Dutch Top 40 . Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  22. "Peter Allen Belgian Singles". ultratop.be. ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2015-09-03.

Further reading