PETER ALLEN Biography - Musicians


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Name: Peter Allen                                                                         
Born: 10 February 1944                                                                   
Died: 18 June 1992                                                                       
Peter Allen (February 10, 1944 - June 18, 1992) was an Australian songwriter and         
Born Peter Allen Woolnough in Tenterfield, New South Wales, Allen began his               
performing career as one of the "Allen Brothers" who were a popular cabaret and           
television act in the early 1960s. He was spotted by Mark Herron the husband of           
Judy Garland who is credited with "discovering" Allen while he was performing in         
Hong Kong, she invited him to return with her to the United States where he               
performed with her. He married her daughter Liza Minnelli in 1967. They were             
divorced in 1972.                                                                         
Allen recorded his first album, the autobiographical Tenterfield Saddler (1972),         
but he achieved more success writing for other performers. He wrote "Don't Cry           
Out Loud" recorded by Elkie Brooks and 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 1977 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 US never progressed, he performed in           
Atlantic City, Carneigie Hall,and had a long engagement at New York City's Radio         
City Music Hall. His most successful album was "Bi-Coastal" (1980) produced by           
David Foster and featuring the top hit "Fly Away" which became his only U.S.             
chart single in 1981 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 Minelli's 1980 movie Arthur. Cross'         
version of the song reached number one in the US, 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 Carole Bayer Sager co-wrote.                                                         
Peter performed on Australian Television at many important occasions: in front           
of Queen Elizabeth II in 1980 at The Sydney Opera House, Prince Charles and               
Princess Diana twice, once in Melbourne and again in Sydney, 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 out to Perth to sing before 100,000             
fans. 1988 saw him open for Frank Sinatra at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, where           
he was enthusiastically received. 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), which hinted at several adult contemporary themes. He then recorded a             
live album called "Captured Live at Carnegie Hall" where he previewed songs from         
his upcoming musical Legs Diamond, which opened on Broadway in 1988 with a book           
co-written by Harvey Fierstein.In 1990 he recorded his final album on RCA Making         
Every Moment Count which featured Melissa Manchester and Harry Connick Jr.               
Shortly before his death from an AIDS-related throat cancer, he gave his last             
performance in Sydney on January 25, 1992. His ashes were scattered at sea After         
his death, one of his older songs I Still Call Australia Home, became popular             
through its use in television commercials, initially for National Panasonic,             
then after 1988 Qantas Airlines, and came to be regarded as an unofficial                 
Australian national anthem.                                                               
Before the musical "The Boy From Oz" came out there was also a TV documentry of           
the same name. Featuring interviews with friends and colleagues such as                   
Bernadette Peters and Harry Connick Jr. A musical based on his life, titled The           
Boy from Oz, opened in Australia in 1998. Using his largely autobiographical             
songs to form the soundtrack, the production starred Todd McKenney as Allen, and         
Christina Amphlett of rock group Divinyls as 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.