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Crispian St. Peters
Birth name Robin Peter Smith
Born 5 April 1939 (1939-04-05) (age 70)
Swanley, Kent, England
Genres Pop
Occupations Singer
Years active 1964 – 2001
Labels Decca (UK), Square (UK), Jamie (US)

Crispian St. Peters (born Robin Peter Smith,[1] 5 April 1939, Swanley, Kent, England[2]) was a British pop singer of the 1960s. He is best known for his 1966 hit, "The Pied Piper".

Contents

Early career

As a young man, St. Peters performed in several relatively unknown bands in England. In 1956, he gave his first live performance, as a member of The Hard Travellers. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was a member of The Country Gentlemen, Beat Formula Three, and Peter & The Wolves. In 1964, as a member of Peter & The Wolves, St. Peters made his first commercial recording.

Decca label

St. Peters was signed to Decca Records in 1965. His first two singles on this record label, "No No No" and "At This Moment", proved unsuccessful on the charts.[1] He made two television appearances in England in February of that year, featuring in the shows Scene At 6.30 and Ready Steady Go!

In 1966, St. Peters' career finally yielded a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, with "You Were On My Mind"[3 ], a song first recorded in 1964 by the Canadian folk duo, Ian & Sylvia, and a hit in the United States for We Five in 1965. St. Peters' single eventually hit #2 in the UK and was then released in the U.S. on the Philadelphia-based Jamie Records label. It did not chart in the U.S. at first, however his fourth release, "The Pied Piper", became forever known as his signature song. Under manager David Nicolson's tutelage the shy star was momentarily transformed into arrogance incarnate and astonished the conservative music press of the period by his suggestion that he had written 80 songs of better quality than those of The Beatles.[2] Other stars were also waved aside as St. Peters announced that he was better than Elvis Presley: "I'm going to make Presley look like the Statue of Liberty . . . I am sexier than Dave Berry and more exciting than Tom Jones . . . and the Beatles are past it". Outraged readers denounced him in letters columns. However, St. Peters' comments were meant to be tongue-in-cheek as he explained in an interview by Douglas Antreassian entitled "Then and Now - Britain's Pied Piper Sets The Record Straight". St. Peters returned stronger than ever with "The Pied Piper", a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.[2]

"The Pied Piper" had been recorded in 1965 by its writers, Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, as The Changin' Times, but it was St. Peters' version in 1966 that made it into a hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #5 in the UK. No subsequent release would ever match the success of "The Pied Piper", although its success helped boost "You Were On My Mind" into the U.S. Top 40. Thereafter St. Peters was remembered more for his idle boasts than his music.[2]

In 1967, St. Peters released his first LP, Follow Me, which was followed by his first EP, Almost Persuaded, yet by 1970, he was dropped by Decca.

Square label

Later in 1970, he was signed to Square Records. Under this new record deal, St. Peters released a second LP, Simply, that year. Later still they released his first cassette, The Gospel Tape, in 1986, and a second cassette, New Tracks on Old Lines in 1990. His third cassette, Night Sessions, Vol. 1 was released in 1993.

Several CDs also came from this record deal, including Follow Me in 1991, The Anthology in 1996, Night Sessions, Vol. 1 in 1998, The Gospel Tape in 1999, and, finally, Songs From The Attic in 2000.

Personal life

From 1969 to 1974, St. Peters was married to Collette. The marriage produced a daughter, Samantha, and a son, Lee.

On 1 January 1995, at the age of 56, he suffered a major stroke.[2] His music career was severely weakened by this, and in 2001, he announced his retirement from the music industry.[2] He has been hospitalized several times with pneumonia since 2003.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Biography by Bruce Eder". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=CRISPIAN. Retrieved 4 December 2008.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Oldies.com biography
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 479. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links

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