Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Little Pattie

Today I'm going to be learning about Little Pattie. She's a singer. Or was a singer? I don't know if she's still alive or not.

I have some of her songs on my Aussie Spotify list.  They're kind of 1960's beach-party type songs. I don't know if there's a proper name for that type of music. Or maybe it's 1950's and not the 1960's?

I'm ignorant about all this.

The two songs of Little Pattie that are most familiar to me are "He's My Boy" and "Stompin' at Maroubra"

In my personal opinion, Little Pattie's songs are the type that bring about a mixture of pleasure and annoyance. Or maybe it's that they're lovely but cloying at the same time. They're the type of songs that make me cringe and want to roll my eyes; yet I keep wanting to hear them. I enjoy them despite myself.

It's kind of the same way I felt when I used to listen to the "Chocolate Rain" song. 

I just learned from Lord Wiki that Little Pattie is still alive. And her real name is Patricia Thelma Amplett. 

She was born in Paddington, Sydney on March 17, 1949. She's a month younger than my dad.

Lord Wiki provides the name for her type of music. He calls it Surf Pop, and he says it was popular from 1961-1966.  That would have been during my parents' teen years. I'm thinking that my mom liked that type of music, but probably not my dad.

I'm going to read Lord Wiki's personal and childhood information about Patricia Amphlett. 

She has an older brother named Joe.

She went to King Street Primary School, which I'm not seeing on Google. So I guess it's no longer with us. Little Pattie also went to Sydney Girls High School

Little Pattie's name came about during her school years. She had two friends named Patricia, and they were both taller than her. I wonder how they distinguished between the other two Patricia's. Maybe one was medium pattie and the other was large?

At the age of eight, Little Pattie began piano lessons. At the age of eleven, she started singing lessons. I wonder if her parents were supportive? Not supportive? Pushy?

Lord Wiki doesn't provide an exact age, but sometime in her early teens—or late childhood—she performed on a show called Saturday Date.

Man...Lord Wiki is being confusing. He makes it sound like Saturday Date was her first TV performance; well, because he mentions it first. But then he goes on to say that her first appearance was, at the age of thirteen, on a program called Opportunity Knocks.

Then, at the age of fourteen, she performed weekly at the Bronte surf club. That would have been 1963, I think.

One thing led to another, and Little Pattie got a recording contract.

During the month of Kennedy's assassination, Little Pattie's song "He's My Blonde-Headed, Stompie Wompie, Real Gone Surfer Boy" was the #2 song in Sydney.

I actually didn't have that song on my Spotify list. I just added it.

In 1965, Little Pattie was voted as Australia's most popular singer. By who?

Lord Wiki just sent me to a link to help answer my question. But I don't see the answer. Am I blind? I AM feeling a bit distracted today.

Little Pattie was a bit short. She was 4 foot 8 inches (147 centimeters).

Lord Wiki says she was the shortest and youngest person to perform for the troops in Vietnam.  She was seventeen.

The thing is, though, weren't there a lot of men actually fighting in the war that wouldn't have been too much older than her.

I guess I'm surprised they didn't have more performers of that age going to Vietnam. I don't think being there at seventeen is all that shocking.

As Little Pattie left her teen years and surfing music became less popular, Little Pattie moved into adult contemporary music. Was that successful?

Lord Wiki says Little Pattie was one of the featured singer in the Gough Whitlam "It's Time" video. I'm going to watch it now and see if I can spot her.

There's a lead singer. I don't think that's Little Pattie. Then there's a chorus of singers. She might be in the chorus.  Maybe that's her at 1:21?

That's a fun song and a fun political commercial.

If I'm understanding Lord Wiki right, Little Pattie started going by the name Pattie Amphlett.  Maybe she was trying to reinvent herself? Distance herself from her surfing music?

Now Lord Wiki is bombarding me with information. Is it him or me? Something is wrong with one of us.  I feel like there's so much information—little facts. And it's confusing.

I'm going to slowly try to get some of this.

In 1973, Amphlett got married to a bass guitarist named Keith Jacobson.

By 1977, she was doing country music.

In 1984, she divorced Jacobson.

In 1986, she married a drummer named Lawrie Thompson.  This led to her being known as Patricia Thompson. I'm getting confused. I don't know how to refer to her.  I think I'll just stick with Little Pattie, since I think that's what she's most famous for.

Oh! Here's something interesting. I think I actually read it before. But then I forgot. Little Pattie is (was?) a cousin of Chrissy Amphlett from the Divinyls.  You're still cousins with someone after they've died, but I'm not sure if it's proper grammar to say "is" instead of "was".

It sounds like Little Pattie is passionate about helping to entertain the military. She sang in Iraq and has also returned to Vietnam to sing. I was thinking, wait? There are still troops there? What the hell? But I'm thinking maybe she was there were for memorial events.

Lord Wiki says that these days Little Pattie works as a singing teacher at various schools in Sydney.

Here's an article about Little Pattie teaching at Burwood Girls High School.  The students eventually learned she was Little Pattie, but to them she's Patricia Amphlett. Does that mean Mr. Thompson is out of the picture then?

The article is from 2002. I wonder if Little Pattie is still teaching there. Or should I call her Amphlett?

Well, it looks like she is still there. At least she was a month ago. She was part of an August 27th performance at the school

I think it's cool that she was a teen star, and now she's singing with teens.

I wonder if she's the type of teacher that's easy to like.

What should I look at now?

Maybe I'll see if I can find some of her unbeachy music.

I might actually have one of those songs on my Spotify.

No. I just checked.

I don't think I do. It's all under the name of Little Pattie. I'm guessing her adult contemporary and country would under one of her other names.

Here's a 1969 song. "The Penthouse". According to Lord Wiki and YouTube, she used Little Pattie for this recording.

The video reminds me of Dr. Who. And it's not just because I'm totally obsessed. There are mannequins in the video. Mannequins are totally a Dr. Who thing. And a Twilight Zone thing.

So far....I'm not having any luck finding Pattie Amplett videos on YouTube.

I should broaden my horizons. Look elsewhere.

I'm giving up. I can't find anything.

Maybe I'll run into it later.

You know...maybe I'll just search for Pattie Amphlett on YouTube, no specific song. I'll see what I come up with.

I found a video of a performance in Blacktown. Prime Ministers are there. Well, I saw Hawke and the description is promising Whitlam. In my mind, a few moments ago, I had a major Freudian Slip. I saw Hawke and was thinking prostitutes instead of Prime Ministers. Anyone want to psychoanalyze that?

Oh! They're doing an "It's Time"... homage? Memorial? No one has died.

Maybe I'll just call it a musical walk down memory lane.

"It's Time" has a very catchy tune—almost as catchy as Justine Clarke's watermelon song.

I think it would work well in a Disney movie...but maybe change the lyrics a bit.

I don't think Gough Whitlam is there. I misread the description. They're honoring a past event where Whitlam did an important speech.

For a moment, I thought Whitlam had died, and I wondered how I ended up ignorant of the fact. Well...because I was skimming this video from the event, and I think they talked about Whitlam in past tense.

I consulted Lord Wiki and he assured me Whitlam is still among the living.

I think I'll watch the whole video now. It's making me wonder if maybe the main singer in the "It's Time" video was Pattie, after all. I don't think it looked like her, though. But I was really only going by the hair.

Right now they're talking about how Whitlam tried to make things better for Australian performers—increase the amount of Aussie music being played on the radio. And Amphlett talks about Australian performers being able to stay and work in Australia. I think it's sad that it seems to be the goal of many actors (And maybe singers as well?) to come to America. If they have the American Dream, that's fine. Like I have the Australian dream. But if it's a matter of, I wish I could stay in Australia. I really love it. But if I really want my career to blossom, I have to move to America; then that's unfortunate.

There are actors though who are big in Australia. I can't imagine why they wouldn't be satisfied with the work they're already getting. Like Asher Keddie.  I know there's many more. But she the one who immediately comes to mind. I think she's huge in Australia. But I would guess about 99% of Americans have no idea who she is.

I'm not agreeing with what this guy (Col Jove) is saying. He said there's no platforms for all the talented young Australians.  He gave the example of Bandstand. I'm not a big fan of reality talent shows, but don't those count as platforms? And they have YouTube. There's also Triple J Unearthed, which I think is fantastic.

I think the problem is it doesn't matter if you have a platform. It's not going to help if Australians are ignoring the Australian stuff, and listening to American and British stuff instead.

I'm looking at the Triple J Top 100 of 2013 statistics. 43% of the songs are Australian. 24% are American, 23% are British, and 10% are other things.  I think it would be great if we could get to the point where the majority is Australian, even if it's a low 51%.

I'm going to be offensive now. I apologize in advance. But with something like movies. I can understand much more. I think there are a few good Aussie films, but I think a lot of it is just a bit too artsy and bizarre.  There's something about American films that you're not often going to get in Australian films.

Now some people hate the high budget sappiness of American movies, but I like that crap.  And I think a lot of people around the world do as well.

But with music? I think whatever you seek in music can be found just as easily with Australian artists.

Back to film. I feel I must clarify so I don't offend too much. I think there are commercial mainstream films and artsy independent films. America has both.  So whatever type of movie you like, we have it. With Australia, I feel it almost ALL has that artsy, independent feel. So if you're in the mood for something like the The X-Men, you probably won't easily find an Aussie movie like that.

Okay...back to music and back to this video.

I kind of skimmed through the end, before it compelled me to stop and write another five paragraphs.

Here's a video of Amphlett rehearing a performance of the song "Downtown".  And because I just watched the other video, I'm wondering, why isn't she singing an Australian song?  But you can take that attitude too far.  Maybe.

Here's a Spicks and Specks video with Amphlett. She's talking about meeting the Beatles. The occasion was her song being # 2 and their song being #1.

Amphlett says the Beatles were shy, but fun and they had a good sense of humor. That's sweet.

Amphlett was only fifteen at the time.

It's a funny video. They watch an old clip of Amphlett's and have a fun discussion about it.

Here's a 1992 interview with Amphlett. It's about her time in Vietnam.

Amphlett talks about how her parents were assured their young daughter would be safe.

That's one thing I didn't think of before. If I think about MYSELF being seventeen and going off to perform in a war-torn country, it doesn't seem that shocking. When I think of myself as a parent of a seventeen-year-old going off to perform in a war country, it's quite a different thing.

Amphlett's smile reminds me so much of someone else's. But I can't figure out who. I'm thinking MAYBE Justine Clarke?


Maybe Melanie Griffith?

While she was in Vietnam, the Battle of Long Tan happened near her. I'm not actually sure what that battle was. I think this is the first time I've heard of it. But I'm assuming it was serious.

Let me ask Lord Wiki about it.

He says it was a battle that took place in a rubber factory. Australian soldiers were heavily involved.

I think it was something of a coming of age experience, because by the end of it, Amphlett saw dead Australians being brought back to where she was.

I'm imaging her having fun—an adventure, even though she knows, on an intellectual level, there's a war, and this is all quite serious. But then when she sees the bodies, it hits her. Emotionally.

Well, I'm getting tired of writing and we're going to eat dinner soon. So I think I'm going to say good-bye for now.


Andrew said...

I had to check who the lead female singer was as I had forgotten. Pattie can be seen at .46, 1.00 and properly at 1.20. What heady days they were, so full of promise and a new dawn.

Dina said...


Who is the lead female singer?

Andrew said...

I mostly had magazine centre page pinups of male pop stars on my bedroom walls, but I felt they had to be toned down by a female or two. Allison MacCallum was one of them. She was a pop star of my youth. But I when I saw her in the clip, I could not remember her.

Seems she is a marriage celebrant now.

Dina said...


I've never heard of MacCallum. Maybe I'll try to find some of her music today.

What male pop stars were on your wall? Do you remember? I think the only one I ever had up was Michael Jackson.

Robyn Fagan said...

A whimsical overview of the career of one of Australia's most enduring entertainers, mostly correct with a lot of research having been done by the blogger. As a friend of Little Pattie's for the past 50 years, I can assure you she is still very much in the spotlight in Australian entertainment circles - still singing, she is a music teacher at several Sydney high schools, has been the federal president of the major Australian entertainers union for the past 14 years as well as a board member on many other organisations. There are 100's of Youtube videos under the name Little Pattie plus several under the name Patricia Amphlett. And yes she is still married to drummer Lawrie Thompson. You can follow her on facebook at or on Twitter at

Dina said...


Thank you so much for reading! And thank you so much for your response!

I often miss stuff with my research, so it's really helpful when readers help fill in the holes : )

HowMac said...

We just watched a program called "Australian Story" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Tonight's episode was the story of Little Pattie and her time in Vietnam, entertaining the troops just as the Battle of Long Tan got underway. The battle caused the concert to be cut short. The 18th of August 2016 was the 50th anniversary of that battle and many Australian soldiers went back to Vietnam to honour their mates who died in that battle, and also show their respect for the Vietnamese who also died. The Vietnamese government, with little notice, cancelled the event. After diplomatic negotiations, the Vietnamese allowed a heavily modified and restricted ceremony. The concert in a hotel or hall in the city was (again) cancelled. The soldiers who missed Little Pattie's concert 50 years earlier because they were ordered out on patrol now had to miss her concert again! Little Pattie has been a staunch supporter of the men who were sent to Vietnam on behalf of our government, who came home to a population who treated them as monsters. Most unfair.

Howard McCallum (no relation to Alison)
22 Aug 2016

Caro Bird said...

Just so you know. Gough Whitlam was one of the worst Prime Ministers Australia has ever had. He spent money when it wasn't there and left the country with massive debt and worst of all introduced policies that are keeping the country poor. He did things quickly and with little thought.

Today he has fellow Prime Ministers from his party who have continued to ruin the country and due to their policies debt keeps increasing. Australia with private and public debt has the world debt on the earth. Our country has many people who think the country owes them a living. The debt has spiralled under the Labor Party once again. Trouble is our current PM is just as hopeless - wants the limelight and will not make the hard decisions this country needs.

I do not know where you get your information from but Little Pattie supported a disgustingly bad PM.

Yes, she entertained the troops but was only popular in the years you mentioned. I remember her singing on a show called Bandstand. You may get video from that. She has travelled doing concerts with the Joy Boys in more recent years.

Enjoyed your blog despite the gloss painted in it.

Dina said...

Howard: Yes, that's very unfortunate and unfair that the memorial concert was cancelled. Worse, I'm guessing some of the veterans had already paid a lot of money to go to Vietnam. I'm hoping they got together on their own and did something nice/meaningful.

Caro Bird: I do not see Whitlam as the savior that some people make him out to be. But I also don't see him as some kind of horrible villain that stains Little Pattie just because she supported him.

I think most politicians are pretty mediocre when it comes down to it.

What Prime Ministers of Australia do you prefer?

Dina said...

Caro Bird,

I followed your name to your blog and I'm intrigued. A blog about Janette Howard? So does that mean you're a fan of John Howard. Is he the Prime Minister you prefer?

AND I'm wondering why you didn't write any posts....

Caro Bird said...

Diana, the only good prime ministers I admire are Howard and Tony Abbott. Howard obviously had great successes. As he has said, he learnt from former mistakes and feels if he had been a PM any earlier he would have made mistakes. Mind you, a little known fact is that he wanted to do all the things Hawke and Keating did when he was treasurer under Malcolm Fraser. Howard backed Hawke/Keating and that is why they got their positive policies through.

I adore Tony Abbott. I think he is the most decent PM ever. He was trying to stop the spiralling debt. I believe his idea of the $7 co-payment for health was brilliant and if anybody else had introduced it they would have been praised. Welfare recipients, under Abbott, were given a yearly $550 extra, due to the Carbon Tax being abolished. That would have covered any additional co-payments. Medicare is out of control. $2 went to the doctors and $5 to a Future Fund, until it reached $20b for medical research. Once the Future Fund was established - only taking a few years - the additional $5 would be put into funding ever increasing medical bills. When Medicare was established, in Qld our health fund paid the gap, so it was worthwhile. Medicare changed that. I believe the states should have supported this and charged $10 for each hospital visit. Obviously people who are very ill would be exempt, as Abbott said.

I cannot really think of any other decent PM. Both Hawke and Keating were deceitful in their marriages and I cannot hold them in high regard. They did restructure some things that people think are great. I personally would like some protection for Australia's companies. They should not be propped up, but let's use Australian steel, by setting standards for the type of steel we use. I would like all firms to pay 10% tax on their turnover, no deductions. That way everyone should pay a fair share of tax. Hawke was right to introduce an Australia Card - 40 years ago I was taught at university that within 10 years there will be no cash and everything would be on a card - this would take care of people who do not have a Medicare Card using someone elses. I would like to see an Aussie Card that recorder our fingerprints and iris.

As to Little Pattie, every time I see her support of Gough I cringed. The It's Time ad was brilliant, but it just reminds me of the mess Gough left this country in. People still carry on about him being thrown out of govt by Fraser - Fraser, who I have never admired, did not sack Gough Whitlam, the people of Australia sacked Gough because he was doing such a lousy job. That is a fact that all the "It's Time" people will not admit. I cringe when I hear the song and Gough's name is mentioned.

Sorry - not a great fan due to that... something I am passionate about..

Dina said...

Caro Bird,

Yes, you do seem very passionate. I'm not educated enough on economic policies to fully know if I agree with you or not on the above paragraphs. some degree. I think it's about needing to balance lowering the debt with taking care of the people in the community.

A 7 dollar copayment for health doesn't sound bad, though...compared to what we have here. It's nuts here.

As for Whitlam. I think the queen/Governor General sacked him. But I think the people voted to keep him out and Fraser in. And I do feel people/history tend to forget that. IF they really wanted Whitlam back, he would have become PM again.