Peter Allen – Boy From OZ

Picture1My personal impression from Australian mini-series tells the remarkable story about the late entertainer Peter Allen, screened on Channel 7 Network in 2015. This biopic focuses on early years, including his childhood in a small-vile Armidale, in northern NSW. His father became an alcoholic after returning from World War II, committed suicide when Peter was 15. He moves to Tenterfield live with his grandfather George Woolnough, a saddler, whom Allen immortalised him in the song “Tenterfield Saddler”. Felt unlucky, can’t find his hometown while I lived in Sydney around 2005. Having lived as teenagers through the 80’s, I distinctly remember many of songs I Go to Rio and The More I See You, also Peter’s hits were made popular by many recording artists such as Elkie Brooks, Melissa Manchester, Rita Coolidge, Frank Sinatra, and Olivia Newton-John won Grammy for “I Honestly Love You”. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed cabaret and concert career. An actress Judy Garland discovered then managed Peter Allen while he was performing in Hong Kong at 20. Peter married to Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli at 23. His struggle for success in USA was always over-powered by presence of Judy and Liza whom dominated at those time.

After divorced, Peter Allen takes different musical approach and switched genres for album “I Could Have Been a Sailor” was released as Adult Contemporary with Jay Graydon, Abraham Laboriel, Greg Phillinganes and others. It was notable as Peter’s first to make the US albums chart with hits Don’t Wish Too Hard, also his versions of Don’t Cry Out Loud and I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love which major successes as covered by another artist. His most successful album “Bi-Coastal” released in 1980 with super hits Fly Away, and my fave Pass This Time. It was produced by David Foster with West Coast musicians like Carlos Vega, Jay Graydon and TOTO. Rumors said Bi-Coastal was about Peter Allen’s sexuality who came out as gay after his marriage ended. He becomes the first Ozzy to win an Oscar for Arthur’s Theme from the 1981 film Arthur starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Peter was a person who lived his dream with iconic songs, died of AIDS related throat cancer at 48 in 1992. His life story was turned into Broadway Musical starring Hugh Jackman that give him Tony Award for Best Actor in The Boy From Oz. So I still can’t believe when my fellow Australian didn’t realize Peter Allen included his songs.  Have you ever heard “I Still Call Australia Home” through out the Qantas cabin? Yep, Peter Allen as the Australia’s most adored entertainers ever. (nDy)

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