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Peter Allen, Soft-Rock Superman

Published: 6/18/2012
Twenty years after his death, Peter Allen may not be a household name… but his songs are instantly recognizable to generations of music fans and moviegoers.

Australian entertainer Peter Allen, and his bride, Liza Minnelli, pose as they wait in a limousine following their wedding in New York, March 3, 1967. (AP Photo)
Australian entertainer Peter Allen, and his bride, Liza Minnelli, pose as they wait in a limousine following their wedding in New York, March 3, 1967. (AP Photo)


Though Allen was a recording artist, he found his greatest success as a songwriter. Both on his own and in collaboration with songwriting greats like Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, Allen gave us some of our favorite soft rock hits of the 1970s and '80s. The three songwriters, along with Christopher Cross, won an Oscar for their theme song to the hit Dudley Moore movie Arthur.



Peter Allen's songs helped win awards for others, too. "I Honestly Love You," co-written by Allen and Jeff Barry, became a No. 1 hit when Olivia Newton-John recorded it, and it won her Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.



But Allen didn't find success solely through writing for others. His recording of "Fly Away" made it to the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.



Allen's life – and his songs – made it to Broadway, years after his death. Jukebox musical The Boy From Oz won Hugh Jackman a Tony for his portrayal of Peter Allen.



Peter Allen made great music. Even if you don't know Allen's name, you're bound to recognize the folks who made his songs famous: Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Carly Simon, Dusty Springfield, Melissa Manchester, and many more.

Written by Linnea Crowther. Find her on Google+.

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