Current Traffic

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Post 281 - Normie Rowe - Piano Man LP

Normie Rowe was born Norman John Rowe on 1 February 1947. He was the pre-eminent male solo star of Australian music in the 1960s. Known for his bright, edgy tenor voice and dynamic stage presence, many of Rowe's most successful recordings were produced by Pat Aulton, house producer for the Sunshine Records, Spin Records and Festival Records labels. Backed by his band The Playboys, Rowe released a string of Australian pop hits on the Sunshine Records label that kept him at the top of the charts and made him the most popular solo performer of the mid-1960s. Normie's double sided hit "Que Sera Sera" b/w "Shakin' All Over" was one of the most successful Australian singles of the 1960s. Between '65 and '67 Normie was Australia's most popular male star but his career was cut short when he was drafted for compulsory military service in late 1967. He was discharged from the army in February 1970. His Vietnam experiences left a deep impression on him, and since that time he has worked extensively on behalf of other Vietnam veterans. Normie had one last minor hit in May 1970 with the song "Hello", written by Johnny Young, and he released an album of the same name. It was revealed many years later that Young's song "Smiley", a major hit for Ronnie Burns in 1969, was written about Normie. Unfortunately, his national service stint had effectively ended his pop career, and Normie was never able to recover the momentum and mass popularity he lost because of being enlisted. In his absence, Ronnie Burns and Johnny Farnham had taken over and Farnham was now the new King of Pop. The strong anti-war sentiment of the period affected him, and like many Vietnam vets, Normie suffered considerably because of his service, and regrettably, many people took out their anger about the war on veterans. Normie himself has said that he was treated like a pariah by the very people who had been buying his records and screaming at his concerts. Normie remained a popular attraction at clubs, corporate functions and on the rock & roll revival circuit in the 1990s. Here to download from 1985 is his LP "Piano Man" (HAM 123) on Hammard Records. Normie's most recent album, Missing In Action, includes his own version of "Smiley".

1 comment:

Brian said...

A great collection and yes I remember that stoush with Normie and Ron Casey on national tv. This is a great recording. I have the lp myself
We have had a great collection of artests here Australia. Cheers all. Brian.