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Creator : Dawson, Peter, 1882-1961
Place Of Creation : Sydney
Publisher : Chappell
Date of creation : c1941
Additional Creator : Baxter, Harry
Format : Sheet music
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Peter Dawson was born in Adelaide in 1882 and became known as one of the greatest baritones of his generation.

'His parents encouraged his appreciation of music, and when 8 he sang as a boy soprano at a social at the College Park Congregational Church, St Peters, and was later in the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church choir. When 17 he began taking singing lessons from C. J. Stevens and sang at concerts with the Adelaide Grand Orchestra. In 1900 he was a soloist in their performance of Handel's Messiah, was successful in several local contests, and won the bass solo section at the South Street Competitions, Ballarat, Victoria.' (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

He travelled to England in 1902 and his first professional engagement was at a church in London's east end. In 1904 his big chance came when he was asked to tour of the west of England with Madame Albani, a singer much in favour at the time.
In 1904 James Hough, manager of the Edison Bell, company asked him to make a test record and he chose the song Navaho. Released under the name Leonard Dawson, it was successful. One of the first cylinders to come out under his own named was The Bandoliero. Two years later he signed a contract with HMV, with whom he remained for the rest of his life.

In recording he adopted several pseudonyms: Frank Danby (for light songs), Will Strong (music hall ditties) and Hector Grant for Scottish songs. In all he recorded about 3,500 titles with total sales of his records exceeding 12 million by 1940.
He also composed under several names including Peter Allison, Denton Toms, Charles Webber, Arnold Flint, Gilbert Munday, Geoffrey Baxter, Alison Miller and JP McCall. He wrote over thirty songs including the music for this piece and setting Rudyard Kipling's Boots to music.
He died in Sydney in 1961.

Coverage year : 1941
Period : 1939-1945
Further reading :

The Oxford companion to Australian music, Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1997

Currency companion to music & dance in Australia, Sydney : Currency House in association with Currency Press, 2003

Glennon, James. Australian music & musicians, Adelaide : Rigby, c1968

Smith, Russell Hugh. Peter Dawson : the world's most popular baritone : with complete song title discography, Strawberry Hills, N.S.W. : Currency Press, 2001

Dawson, Peter. Fifty years of song, London : Hutchinson, 1951

Snell, Kenneth R. Australian popular music composer index, East Bentleigh, Vic. : Quick Trick Press, 1991

Internet links :

ScreenSound Australia : go to The Collection; Digital Works in the collection/Digital Spotlights; Digital Spotlights; Click on Peter Dawson (located under the heading Audio Visual.

Music Australia

Treasures of the State Library : click on Treasures of the State Library; Peter Dawson



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