Friday, 25 June 2010

Peter Allen - I Could Have Been A Sailor

I Could Have Been A Sailor/Don't Wish To Hard/Two Boys/Angels With Dirty Faces/Don't Cry Out Loud/If You Were Wondering/Don't Leave Me Now/I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love/We've Come To An Understanding/Paris At 21

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.

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