Sunday, March 14, 2010

Peter Allen

Who is Peter Allen?

I'm joking. I know who he is. He was a singer/songwriter person.

He's responsible for that Qantas chorus song. "I Still Call Australia Home."

Hugh Jackman portrayed him in the biographical musical The Boy From Oz. I'm not sure if Peter Allen wrote the musical, or if someone else wrote it, using Allen's songs.

And I know Peter Allen is gay, but I'm not sure how I know that. I guess I read it before.

Now I shall go and learn more.

Oh. Before I do that, I love this song that I found when I was researching Olivia Newton John. It's her singing with a recording of Peter Allen. It's so beautiful.

Baby Peter was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales on 10 February 1944.

Tenterfield doesn't sound familar to me.....


Well, it should though, since Lord Wiki just pointed out that the song I listened to three minutes ago is called "Tenterfield Saddler".

What is wrong with me? Really!

I'm looking at Google Maps now. Tenterfield is far up north, about three hours west of Byron Bay. Byron Bay is where Bridie Carter has her restaurant. Funny. I remember THAT.

Peter's birth name wasn't Peter Allen. It was Peter Richard Woolnough. In the 1960's, he joined a performing group called The Allen Brothers. So I guess he just took on the name.

Here's a video of the Allen Brothers performing with Liza Minnelli. I'm guessing before that performance, the Allen Brothers met Minelli's mother. Judy Garland's husband saw the Allen Brothers performing in Hong Kong. He liked what he saw, and soon had them performing with Garland. I guess then later, they performed with the daughter.

Oh, well Lord Wiki is being chronologically confusing again. I just glanced down, and there's some childhood information close to the bottom. It's not happy stuff. Allen's father was a violent alcoholic who eventually killed himself.

The song Tenterfield Saddler talks about his grandfather who was a saddler. It also talks about his father.

The son of George Woolnough went off and got married
And had a war baby
Though something went wrong and it's easier to drink than go crazy
And if there were questions bout why the end was so sad
Well, George had no answers bout why a son
Ever had need of a gun

I never really paid much attention to the lyrics. Now I doubt I'll be able to hear the song without crying.

It's so sad.

But beautiful too.

There will probably be one of those crazy association things too. I bet I'll be watching X-Men one day. I'll see Hugh Jackman, think of how he was in The Boy From Oz. Then I'll think of Peter Allen and "Tenterfield Saddler", and start crying.

Peter Allen married Liza Minnelli in 1967. I guess he didn't know he was gay? Maybe he knew it, and was trying to hide it? Maybe he loved Minnelli despite his homosexuality? Or he could have been bisexual.

I wish I was bisexual....a bisexual bigamist. Then I'd try to get Anna Paquin to marry us. See that's why I might end up watching the X-Men stuff. I used to not really care about those movies, but now I have a thing for Anna Paquin. She's just so damn adorable.

Let's look at Peter Allen's career.

Lord Wiki says, Allen commenced releasing solo recordings in 1971, but throughout his career achieved greater success through his songs being recorded by others. I didn't know if commenced meant begin or end, so I had to look that up to remind myself. It's begin.

I'm not sure if these are in order. I'm a bit confused.

The first song that Lord Wiki names is "Don't Cry out Loud". It was made popular by Melissa Manchester. I think my dad liked her. Was she as cute as Anna Paquin? I doubt it!

There's "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love" which was done by Rita Coolidge. Debbie Gibson did the song too.

You know what....Lord Wiki's way of presenting the info is annoying me for some reason. I'm going to try to find a list of Peter Allen songs elsewhere. Before I go though, I shall report the other biography stuff from Lord Wiki.

Allen had a long-time lover/companion from Texas named Gregory Connell. He did the sounds and lights for Allen's show. Both men died of AIDS in 1992. Peter Allen's ashes were scattered at sea.

Oh. Here we go. After his death, a documentary was made about him. This was called The Boy From Oz. Then someone adapted the documentary into a musical. I don't know why, but that just gave me goosebumps.

This website has a biography of Peter Allen, and a list of his albums. I'm beginning to think this guy has a ton of songs, and I won't be able to name all of them. I think what I'll do is mention the ones I've heard of. Then I'll go on YouTube, and just look up his name. That might work.

First I'll read the little biography part.

They say as a child, Allen learned to play the piano. He would perform at a pub. So I guess he got an early start. It would be so awesome to see a recording of him singing. I'm doubting that's available though. It's not like people in those days carried around phones with movie-taking capabilities.

This website differs from Lord Wiki. It says it was Judy Garland herself (not husband) who discovered the Allen Brothers. Then later she introduced him to his daughter.

The Allen Brothers had their debut US performance in Miami in the 1960's. Then they moved to NYC.

The website says Minnelli and Allen were married in 1967, separated in 1969, and then divorced in 1974.

I'm looking at photos of Peter Allen. You know who he kind of looks like to me? Kelsey Grammer.

Kelsey Grammer is also on X-Men!

I'm not really recognizing many names of songs. It's probably that I'd know the songs if I heard them, but I don't know them by name.

I'm just going to do YouTube.

Here's Peter Allen singing "I Go To Rio". I think I've heard this song before...or something that sounds like it.

Here's "I Go To Rio" on The Muppet Show. That's cute.

The First Fleet went to Rio de Janeiro. Maybe someone should make a video with all the convicts and officers singing that song. It would be fun to see Arthur Phillip dancing.

Here's Hugh Jackman doing the song. He's cute when he's being Peter Allen.
I am totally loving Hugh Jackman and Peter Allen.

Now I'm picturing Wolverine singing. Wolverine singing and Arthur Phillip dancing....Peter Allen is making my imagination go all over the place this morning.

Here's "I Could Have Been a Sailor".

Here's "Once Before I Go". I have the Hugh Jackman song on my iTunes. The video is nice. It has pretty scenery pictures. I'm not sure if they're all Australian or not. I recognize the Twelve Apostles.

What's that at 1:19?

Here's some people doing a cover of "Tenterfield Saddler". I think I could listen to this song all day.

Maybe I will.

Here's a guy named Damien Leith singing it at Australia Day Live.

Here's Tim Freedman doing it...... Oh! Tim Freedman. He's the guy from The Whitlams. I thought his name sounded familar. The singing here doesn't really begin until 2:09.

I personally prefer Freedman's performance over Leith's.

Tim Freedman is pretty adorable.

Here's a guy named Chris Fatouros doing the song. I think he does a good job. I'd give him a gold sticker.

Pablo688 sings the song in honor of the people hurt in the bushfires. His voice is really beautiful sometimes.

Here's John Bowles singing it. That's impressive! He sounds like a musical/Broadway singer. Has he been in anything?

Oh okay. Yes. Here's his website. He's done Phantom of The Opera.

Liwinyip sings the song in his kitchen. I like his performance as well. Only thirteen people have watched his video so far. It's a shame. I think he definitely deserves more attention. Go listen to him, people! Please?

Here's the song sung by Peter Allen AND Hugh Jackman.

Oh no. I'm going to probably start crying. The video has all these tear-jerker photos and info.

At :28, is a photo of Woolnough's saddle shop place. Or maybe it's just supposed to represent it?

No. It seems whoever made this video is a real Peter Allen expert/fan. I think that was really the shop.

This is a great tribute video. So far, I only hear Hugh Jackman singing. Or at least I think it's Jackman.

At 3:09, Allen totally looks like Kelsey Grammer.

At 3:24, he kind of looks like Sean Penn.

The video has a photo of Allen towards the end of his life, and he's with Minnelli. I guess they remained friends.

All right. Now I get it. The video first has Jackman singing the song, and then they have Allen singing it.

They sort of sound a like, but there's a slight difference. I guess it's good they sound a like though....well, since Jackman was portraying Allen.

Now that Allen is singing, they're showing pictures of Jackman. That's a clever way of doing it. Or maybe I got it wrong, and Allen was the one singing it first.

Please go listen to the song, and tell me if I'm right or not. Thanks!

I'm going to go make us some lunch. Then I'm going to come back and listen to lots of versions of "I Still Call Australia Home".

Of course, I must start with The Chaser's version. Too funny.

Here's a group called The Outback Singers doing the song.

Here's Kylie Minogue. I think she's performing for a Bush Fire benefit concert. Yeah. Here it is: Sound Relief.

Here's Wolverine singing the song at some party. Have any of you seen Wolverine: The Musical? Oh and this is classic... It might be one of the best things I've ever linked to. Start at 3:51.

Let me get back to the Australia song......

Here's The Ten Tenors singing "I Still Call Australia Home".

Here's Olivia Newton John singing it in Sydney's Royal Botanical Garden. My parents are going to be there next week sometime!

Here's a guy name Johnnyonline doing the song. He's pretty cool. He also sings "Wonderwall". I love that song. It reminds me of Charlie from Lost. I'm so nostalgic for old Lost.

Here's an opera singer singing "I Still Call Australia Home".

Here's a video that an Australian girl made for her sister going off to college in America. That's a very sweet gift. I think she used the Qantas singers for the song.

I do think she needed a more emotional photo at 1:37. There should be something there with a bite.

Here's a young teen named McKenzie Comer doing the song.

Before we get overly sentimental and patriotic, here's an Aboriginal version of the song. It's brilliant.

They invaded, degraded, and polluted our land.
Stole all the children, and raped all our woman.
But no matter how far and how long I roam I still Call Australia home.

Here's an Aussie expat singing the song just before returning to Hong Kong. Do American expats in Australia have themselves a theme song like that? I should ask my cousin.

This is cute. Here's some teens singing the song while visiting Uluru. They're not quite the PS 22 chorus, but it's all fun.

Anyway, Jack wants to have a Mario Kart Wii race with me, so I'm going to quit here.

I had a LOT of fun with this post.


  1. Hi Dina, I just discovered your blog. I'm going to read more of it. I love this article. You certainly did a lot of research.
    I have one little tidbit for you. You mentioned "Judy Garland's husband saw the Allen Brothers performing in Hong Kong. He liked what he saw, and soon had them performing with Garland. I guess then later, they performed with the daughter."
    Mark Herron was one of Judy's gay husbands and met Peter while he & Judy were in Hong Kong. He and Judy went to see the Allen Brothers show in Hong Kong after Mark and Peter had already met. It's unclear whether it was Mark who wanted to see the show in order to see Peter again but that is where she "discovered" Peter. She is always credited as the one who "discovered" Peter for obvious reasons. She also introduced him to Liza. Liza was 18 he was 20 when they met.

    I made the Peter/Hugh tribute video so thank you for the kind words. Yes it's Hugh singing the first half with images of Peter and Peter singing the second half with images of Hugh performing in The Boy From Oz. I'm a fan of both but more a fan of Hugh these days. There are lots of videos of both of them performing on YouTube for anyone who wants to see more of them. Two very talented guys.

    Can't wait to read more of your blog.
    Continued success, Sue

  2. Birchie,

    Hi! I am so honored to get a comment from you. I love your video, and glad to get the answer to my question straight from the source. I think it's really neat that you arranged it that way. It kind of looks like Jackman and Allen have a sort of partnership. It's like they're singing in honor of each other.

    Thanks for clearing up who discovered the Allen Brothers. So what was with the gay husbands? I'm guessing Garland and her daughter knew they were gay. Was it a matter of helping them hide their homosexuality? Were they in the closet? Or was it a partnership. "I know you're gay, but we get along so who cares. Let's get married."

  3. Hi again, I don't think anyone but the two people involved can ever truly know their motivations. There certainly are a lot of women who marry gay men knowing they are gay. Cole porter had a 50 year marriage to someone who knew he was gay and from all reports they were very happy and in love. He discretely lived his gay lifestyle on the side.

    Presumably it was pretty common knowledge that Peter was gay. Peter and Liza seemed to have genuine love for each other. Liza has married at least one other person who most people believe to be gay and, of course Judy was married to Vincent Minnelli who was also rumored to be gay. I don't know if it's true. I do know someone who was around him at the end of his life and involved in the LA gay community who confirmed that he was gay, but that's just one person.

    There is a scene in The Boy From Oz where Peter tells Judy he's going to marry Liza and they banter about biology/astronomy and she says something like "Your heart is in Venus but your p**is is in Mars" And the scene where Liza leaves she comments on the fact that he's much more than a friend "you're really a terrific brother"

    Liza did a tour in Australia last year and did some of Peter's songs and spoke lovingly about him. I think she always loved him.

  4. Birchie,

    I didn't really know about these types of relationships. It seems pretty cool to me though. In the end, that's what marriage is about really. Friendship. If a homosexual is best friends with a heterosexual, why not marry each other? I think as long as each party is okay with stuff happing on the side.

    I'm wondering though if it could also be about a gay person wanting that traditional domestic type of life... Now that gay marriage is becoming more accepted...and even legal, maybe there'd be less of a need for homosexual-heterosexual relationships.

    As you say though....only the people in the marriage know the truth behind the relationship.

  5. I love your blog. I actually know a couple of people you mention in it in the past personally, and your inquiries are charming and strangely rather accurate. Let's just say, for discressions sake, that I was a young Lawyer in 1994, and had the good fortune of being able to brief a very brilliant, charismatic, and humble Barrister as lead counsel in a difficult Murder Trial. We won hands down of course, but you couldn't tell her that half way through, so I just bought coffee to keep her in an up mood (her nick name (an acronym of her initials) around the traps was VB, short for a famous Australian beer, Victoria Bitter. I drove through Tenterfield a couple of years ago on my way to Central Western Queensland from New South Wales. Blink and you'd miss it, but it's a nice little town. Let's also just say that I like the theatre, and Dining in Byron Bay as well.

  6. DumpsterDiva,

    Hi! I'm so glad you love my blog.

    Your comment is so mysterious and intriguing!

    I'd love to see Tenterfield.