Peter Dawson: If In The Great Bazaars (date unknown)

 |   |  1 min read

Peter Dawson: If In The Great Bazaars (date unknown)

So who sold a lot of records then? Oh yeah Rihanna, right? And the Beatles and Elvis? And, of course, Peter Dawson.

Peter Dawson? Yep, according to the liner notes on the (possibly) mid-Seventies album this track is lifted from, Dawson -- born in Adelaide in 1882, died Sydney in 1961 -- sold at least 14,000,000 records in his long career. His career reached from cylinder discs with the Edison-Bell company (where he recorded under the name Leonard Dawson) into the vinyl album era, and he sang everything from opera to Australian folk songs.

He was hugely popular -- he appeared at the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden during his many years in Britain -- and also sang under a number of aliases: for lighter songs he was Frank Danby, for music hall material he was Will Strong and for Scottish songs he was Hector Grant. He was also JP McCall for some of his songwriting credits.

His company toured Australia and New Zealand in the years before World War I and he had been recording 78s since 1904.

He might not have seemed particular in his repertoire -- he sang Mendelssohn and German lieder but was equally at home on The Road to Mandalay and Waltzing Matilda -- but the clarity and power of his delivery is what endeared him to millions.

He also served in World War I and during the next big one -- for which he was too old -- he worked in his brother's metal factory.

Quite a life, and quite some sales figures too.

So here then is 1.30 seconds of a man the Guinness Book of Records places alongside Caruso and Presley as one of the top 10 record sellers of all time.

Rihanna? Ha! 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Dinah Lee: He Can't Do the Blue Beat (1965)

Dinah Lee: He Can't Do the Blue Beat (1965)

Answer songs or cash-ins were very common in the late Fifties and early Sixties (after success of The Twist it was time for Let's Twist Again etc) and the great and gutsy New Zealand singer... > Read more

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

In June 1964, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still only 20, the Rolling Stones took time out from their short American tour to head into the famous Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

New York, USA: Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning

New York, USA: Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning

Stanley liked to talk but, to be fair, he had a lot to talk about. Stanley -- portly, smiling, intense -- was the manager at New York's famous, notorious even, Chelsea Hotel at 222 West 23rd... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Bryce Wastney

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Bryce Wastney

Because Elsewhere will never (knowingly) fib to you, we're going to be straight-up and say . . . Bryce Wastney? Never 'eard of 'im, mate. That was until this New Zealand singer-songwriter... > Read more