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Peter Allen

Peter Allen Woolnough
Artist and Entertainment

Peter Allen
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Peter Allen - Artist and Entertainment

A showmaster, a great musician,
a west coast music crooner...

Born Peter Allen Woolnough, Peter Allen was a songwriter and cabaret-style performer reaching the height of his fame in the 1970s and 1980s, gaining recognition both as a composer of romantic ballads and as a flamboyant stage performer.

Allen learned to play the piano and began entertaining people at the pub in his small Australian hometown when he was still a child. In Sydney in 1959, he became a last-minute replacement in a duo appearing on the television show Australian Bandstand with guitarist and singer Chris Bell. The act was successful and the two became known as the Allen Brothers. In the early 1960s, they had an Australian hit with “My Secret” and toured the Far East. Whilst in Hong Kong in the spring of 1964, Judy Garland saw them perform and was impressed enough to get them bookings and brought them to London, where they were her opening act. She also introduced Allen to her daughter Liza Minnelli. Allen was to marry Liza Minnelli in 1967, but were to separate in 1970.

The Allen Brothers made their American debut at the Diplomat Hotel in Miami in December 1964, then moved to New York. For the rest of the 1960s, they appeared in clubs around the U.S., notably at the various Playboy Clubs.

Allen co-wrote a number of hits including “Don't Cry Out Loud” for Melissa Manchester, “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia Newton John, and won an Academy Award for his contribution to the theme from Arthur, Minnelli's hit 1981 movie. (His co-writers on that tune were Burt Bacharach, Carol Bayer Sager and singer Christopher Cross.)

His own albums included Tenterfield Saddler (1972), Bi-Coastal (1980) and Not the Boy Next Door (1982). Allen also composed the short-lived Broadway musical Legs Diamond. He died in 1992 from AIDS after giving his final concerts in Sydney, Australia.

It is Allen’s song “I Still Call Australia Home” that has become a sentimental favourite in his home country of Australia, being used in a series of commercials for Australian tourism. A documentary video and a stage play, both titled The Boy From Oz, are based on Peter Allen's life and music.

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Here are a few of his songs:

Recorded and popularised by Peter Allen

  • I Go To Rio
  • Tenterfield Saddler
  • Everything Old Is New Again
  • If You Were Wondering
  • More I See You
  • Bi-Coastal
  • I Still Call Australia Home

Recorded and popularised by Peter Allen

  • I Honestly Love You - recorded by Olivia Newton John
  • Arthurs Theme - recorded by Christopher Cross for the movie Arthur with Dudley Moore
  • Don't Cry Out Loud - recorded by Melissa Manchester
  • You And Me (We Had It All) - Peggy Lee/Frank Sinatra
  • I Go To Rio - Peggy Lee/Frank Sinatra
If there are any factual errors, please email us.
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