Friday, June 25, 2010
Peter Allen (10 February 1944 – 18 June 1992) was an Australian songwriter and entertainer. His songs were made popular by many recording artists, including Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, Elkie Brooks, and one, Arthur's Theme, won the Academy Award. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed a cabaret and concert career, including appearing at Radio City Music Hall riding a camel. He married Liza Minnelli but this ended in divorce .He was born Peter Richard Woolnough in Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia. Allen 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.
Allen commenced releasing solo recordings in 1971, but throughout his career achieved greater success through his songs being recorded by others. He wrote "Don't Cry Out Loud," recorded by Melissa Manchester, and "I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love," recorded by Rita Coolidge. One of his signature songs, "I Go to Rio," was a moderate hit in America for the group Pablo Cruise. Allen 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 in Canada and won two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Newton-John.
In 1976, Allen released an album Taught By Experts, which reached number one in Australia, along with the number one singles "I Go To Rio" and "The More I See You". Although his recording career in the U.S. never progressed, he performed in Atlantic City and 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."
His most successful album was Bi-Coastal, (1980) produced by David Foster and featuring the top hit "Fly Away," which, in 1981, became his only U.S. chart single, reaching #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
He co-wrote the song "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Christopher Cross, for Minnelli's 1981 movie Arthur. The song reached number one in the U.S., and the songwriters won an Academy Award for Best Song. He actually wrote one line for the whole song: "When you get caught between the moon and New York City" from an earlier song that he and Bayer Sager co-wrote. He 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 cd/dvd package, released in late 2009.
Allen performed on Australian Television at 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, at the opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, where he unveiled for the first time his Australia "Flag" shirt, and the 1980 Australian Rules Grand Final in Melbourne. His "Up In One Concert" of 1980 was a huge ratings success across the country. When Australia won The America's Cup, 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, Making Every Moment Count, which featured Melissa Manchester and Harry Connick Jr. One of his songs, I Still Call Australia Home, became popular through its use in television commercials, initially for National Panasonic, and then after 1988 for Qantas Airlines.This has since become an unofficial anthem for Australians abroad.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Just Like A Child/Where My Baby Goes (She Goes With Me)
Born in Sydney on April the 5th, 1940. The fourth son of five sons to Helena and John Williams he grew up in Matraville in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. His mother Helena was a well known classical piano and music teacher and from a young age taught all of her sons to sing.
From the age of four Warren competed in the Sydney Eisteddfod and won many gold medals as a boy Soprano. During his high school years at Randwick Boys High School he was the lead vocalist in many school musicals. It was then that Warren decided that he wanted to pursue a career as an Opera singer. This ambition was soon to change when in 1956 as a 16 year old, Warren went to see the movie “Blackboard Jungle” which featured the song “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. From that moment on he decided that he wanted to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll singer. He immediately bought himself a guitar and with a group of friends formed his first band called “The Squares”. They began to play at local youth halls and got their first regular dance at the Mascot Masonic Hall. Here hundreds of teenagers would come to watch The Squares play every Friday night. It was at this time that Rock ‘n’ Roll exploded into the Australia and dancing had become a favourite pastime for local teenagers.
In June of 1957 his solo career was launched when the King of Australian Rock 'n' Roll, Johnny O’Keefe came to Mascot to see him perform. O’Keefe was so impressed by what he saw that he offered the Warren an appearance on his television show “Six O’clock Rock”. On July 4 this performance made the young singer an immediate success. He was soon offered a recording contract with Australia’s leading record company Festival Records, and under the guidance of O’Keefe recorded his first hit record, the self-written “Where My Baby Goes” which shot to the top of the charts in late October 1957. O’Keefe soon discovered Warren’s classical training and came up with the concept for him to record famous classical songs in a pop style. A string of hits followed including “A Star Fell from Heaven” and “Girls Where Made to Love and Kiss”, both of which became top ten hits in the national charts. He followed these records with another self written song called “Just like a Child”. Throughout the late 1950’s and early 1960’s he toured the country with some of America’s biggest recording stars of the time including Little Richard, Fabian, and Jerry Lee Lewis. He appeared regularly at the Sydney Stadium and featured in a huge concert to 100,000 people and Sydney’s Hyde Park. During the 1960’s he was a regular on national television shows including Australia’s most popular show of the time “Bandstand”.
Throughout his life Warren has continued to perform in the music industry and and has donated his services to numerous charity events.
In 1985 he was rewarded with the release of an Album of his recordings to commemorate his work with Festival Records as a part of a collection known as “The Festival Files”. Then in 1995 he was honoured with a special display celebrating his contribution to Australian music at the Power House Museum in Sydney. He has also been nominated for seven Australian entertainment industry “Mo Awards”. Today Warren Williams continues to perform and is recognised for his life long achievements in music.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Diamond In The Rough/Firing Line/Stay Just A Little/In My Heart/Hearts Filled With Anger/If It's Not What You Say/Sleeping Child/Those Old Lies/Warm Blanket Of Love/Nearly Home/So Soon/Don't Take This Love Away
Debra Anne Byrne (born 30 March 1957 in Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian entertainer.
Byrne made her television debut on Brian and the Juniors, an early predecessor of Young Talent Time, which was hosted by a young Brian Naylor. She stayed with the show for 12 months. In 1971 she was cast as one of the original six Young Talent Time cast members. Byrne proved to be a popular cast member and in 1974 she won the Logie Award for Best Teenage Television Personality and the TV Week Queen of Pop Award.
In 1975, her final year with Young Talent Time, she released her first solo single, He's a Rebel, a cover of the Phil Spector produced hit by the Crystals. For seven weeks the song stayed at Number 1 on the Victorian pop charts. Her follow-up single was also a huge hit. It was a double A side consisting of a second Crystals cover, Da Doo Ron Ron, and another track called The Boogeyman. Later in 1975 she again won the Logie Award for Best Teenage Television Personality and the TV Week Queen of Pop Award.In 1994 she released her contemporary album Sleeping Child, which includes songs about her children, relationships, sexual abuse, addiction, loss and grief.