|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Obituaries|
Singer, songwriter (1949-2001)
Peter Doyle was born in Melbourne on 28 July, 1949. A naturally gifted singer and performer, he started in showbusiness as a child; by the age of 9 he was already appearing on the Melbourne TV talent show, Swallow's Juniors, and at 14 he was performing in Sunday afternoon pop shows at Melbourne's Festival Hall. By 16 Peter had scored a solo record deal with Ivan Dayman's Sunshine label (whose roster included Normie Rowe) and he became a regular on Melbourne TV pop series The Go!! Show. Between 1965 and 1967 Peter was one of Australia's most successful solo artists, recording eight solo singles, six for the Sunshine label, backed by veteran Melbourne band The Phantoms, and two more for Astor.
In May 1968, as the Beat Boom and his solo career faded, Peter joined The Virgil Brothers with Rob Lovett (Wild Cherries, Loved Ones) and Malcolm McGee (Wild Cherries, Python Lee Jackson). They released three singles; the first, Temptation's 'Bout to Get Me was a Top 5 hit. In 1969 McGee left and was replaced by Danny Robinson, ex-frontman of “Mark II” version of The Wild Cherries with Lobby Loyde. The trio headed to the UK where they cut their third single with former EMI producer David McKay before Peter also quit and the group dissolved.
Shortly after the Virgil Bros split in 1970 Peter joined the second lineup of The New Seekers. The clean-cut pop harmony group (put together by former Seekers member Keith Potger) was initially ignored in the UK, but broke through with a string of American hits, beginning with US Top 10 cover of Melanie Safka’s What Have They Done To My Song, Ma. More hits followed: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (originally a Coca-Cola jingle), Beg, Steal or Borrow (the UK's Eurovision entry in 1972) and the New Seekers' cover of The Who's Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me.
Also a talented songwriter, Peter began writing for the group, contributing ballads such as I Can Say You're Beautiful and Lay Me Down, contemplative songs like Move Me Lord and rockier numbers like Boom Town and Cincinnati. His powerful vocals gave the New Seekers' sound a tougher edge. Although The New Seekers enjoyed huge international chart success the members apparently saw little of the proceed. Disillusioned, Peter quit the group in 1973 to pursue a solo career as a singer-songwriter.
After leaving the New Seekers, he recorded advertising jingles for Ribena and Sugar Puffs and provided the vocal for a childrens' single, Jungle Ted and the Laceybuttonpoppers. He also provided backing vocals for Lyn Paul's 1975 single It Oughta Sell A Million. Peter continued to work in the UK until 1981, issuing five solo singles, including a cover of Friday On My Mind, and one album, Skin Deep.
At the time Peter quit The New Seekers, they were being represented in the US by former Masters Apprentices bassist Glenn Wheatley. When he went solo, Wheatley became Peter's personal manager and in the formative days of LRB, around 1975, Peter was in fact offered the job as LRB's lead vocalist, but he turned it down. In 1981 he returned to Australia where he worked with a band called Standing Room Only. A year later, in 1982, he received an offer from Steve Holly (formerly the drummer with Paul McCartney's Wings), asking Peter if he'd like to join the group Regis. He accepted and went to the United States, where he worked for the next five years.
Peter returned to Australia in 1987 and performed on the club circuit for several years. Sadly, he was forced to retire in the early 1990s after he was dignosed with throat and lung cancer.
Peter died in Castlemaine, Victoria on October 13, 2001. He is survived by his wife, Jane.