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The Rock-itt : February 2010
This Month: One of Australia's favourite sons...Peter Allen One of my earliest recollections of "The Boy from Oz", Peter Allen was in black and white on our 21 inch Admiral television back in 1960 on that wonderful early Australian music show, Bandstand, which was hosted by the great Brian Henderson. Peter was doing a song and dance number called "Dallas" with the other half of the Allen Brothers act, Chris Bell and our own lovely young talented Aussie, the glamorous Patsy- Anne Noble. Peter even back then was a great artist and could sing, dance and pen some great numbers. Born in the rural NSW town of Tenterfield, Peter had a great ear for music and was able to play the piano by ear at age eleven entertaining in the ladies' lounge of the local New England Hotel. Peter and Chris eventually ended up in Sydney in 1960. They did regular television work, Bandstand being one of their spots, and in 1962 decided to give the road a go and set off for a tour of Asia. It was while appearing at The Hong Kong Hilton that the pair were seen by Hollywood legend, Judy Garland. Judy was so impressed by the two young Aussie entertainers that she invited them to be the opening act for her concert tour of America. As one thing led to another Peter eventually became engaged to Judy Garland's daughter, Liza and in 1967 they married. The 60s and 70s were a time of many changes for Peter for in 1968 he and Chris released their first album together but then in the early 70s Pete and Liza decided to go their separate ways and the Allen Brothers' partnership also broke up. With so many negatives going on around him, it still didn't stop Peter from putting his head down and doing some serious writing and re-launching himself into a solo career. He was lucky to be made support act for another legend of stage and screen, Bette Midler, where he was given the opportunity to showcase some of his self composed ballads. Gradually he developed his own particular style of stage act which was full of zest, vitality and energy. It was during the 70s that he began collaborating with other song writers co-writing such hits as "I honestly Love You", which our own Olivia Newton John made famous, and "I Go to Rio", which he himself recorded and became a great hit. Peter came back to Australia in 1980 and toured the country, performing and writing more original compositions, one being the patriotic and sentimental, "I Still Call Australia Home". Throughout the 80s Peter continued performing, having great success with his shows and song writing. He returned to the roots of his rise to success, the United States and continued performing until being stricken with throat cancer which developed into AIDS. He returned to Australia and performed a final concert on January 26 1992. A few months later Peter returned to America for treatment but died in June of the same year. Peter Allen was a very special Australian artist who gave everything to make others happy. His name will live on through his music for many years to come. Pete