On hearing the name Peter Allen many people would ask, Who? Peter Allen was a prodigious songwriter and flamboyant cabaret performer most widely known for his signature song, the 1976 hit, I Go To Rio.
- Born in Tenterfield, Australia, Peter Allen (real name: Peter Richard Woolnough) was performing in Hong Kong when Mark Herron, the husband of Judy Garland, discovered him. Mark invited Peter to join him and Judy in the United States. Peter went on to perform with Garland.
- That was in the early 70s. Peter began a solo recording career but found his greatest success in writing songs for others.
- Perhaps Peter’s greatest song writing successes were, Olivia Newton John’s, I Honestly Love You – which hit #1 in the US and won two Grammy Awards – and Allen Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) which he co-wrote with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Christopher Cross. It hit #1 in the US also and won the 1981 Best Song Academy Award.
- Peter was Liza Minnelli’s first husband. After seven years of marriage they divorced and Peter later declared that he was gay.
- Peter died in 1992 of an AIDS-related throat cancer.
- A musical, The Boy from Oz, was written about his life. It ran on Broadway for some time and earned Hugh Jackman a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
- Peter’s songs were recorded by some of the best known showbiz names including:
Bobby Sherman (Jennifer, Just Ask Me I’ve Been There)
Carole Bayer Sager (I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love, Don’t Cry Out Loud, You’re Interesting, You and Me, etc.)
Anne Murray (Everything Old is New Again)
Peggy Lee (I Go to Rio)
Dusty Springfield (Quiet Please There’s a Lady on Stage, I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love, (But It’s A) Nice Dream)
Carly Simon (Someone Waits For You)
Pablo Cruise (I Go to Rio)
Frank Sinatra (You and Me, We Wanted It All)
Dionne Warwick and Sarah Dash (Somebody’s Angel)
Patti LaBelle (I Don’t Go Shopping)
Maureen McGovern (I Could Have Been A Sailor)
Olivia Newton-John (I Honestly Love You)
Melissa Manchester (Don’t Cry Out Loud, You and Me)
Judy Collins (I Could Really Show You Around)
Rita Coolidge (I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love)
- I Go to Rio was written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson.
- I Go to Rio was released on Peter’s 1976 album, Taught By Experts – it became Peter’s signature song.
- I Go to Rio was covered by Peggy Lee and Pablo Cruise (peaking at #46 on the US charts).
- While never charting in the US or UK, Peter’s version hit the #1 spot in Australia and sat there for five weeks.
- As well as featuring in The Muppets, I Go To Rio has featured in a number of movie soundtracks including: One Crazy Summer, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Muriel’s Wedding and Strange Bedfellows
- Coldplay used the song’s opening piano riff in their song, Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.
- I Go To Rio lyrics.
i go to rio – peter allen – video
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