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

Joe Tex: I Gotcha (1972)

Joe Tex: I Gotcha (1972)

You could never say Joe Tex didn't live an interesting life, if being shot at by James Brown (who said Tex was copying his moves) constitutes something "interesting". Things weren't... > Read more

Blind Blake: He's in the Jailhouse Now (1927)

Blind Blake: He's in the Jailhouse Now (1927)

As with many blues artists of his era -- he died in 1934 in his late 30s - not too much is known about the early life of Arthur "Blind" Blake. And at the time of this writing there... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Matthew Smith: Matthew Smith (Lyttelton/Southbound)

Matthew Smith: Matthew Smith (Lyttelton/Southbound)

Former rock frontman (of the atmospheric and crunching Von Voin Strum), Matthew Smith here (mostly) gets the knobs turned down and – with a small band, some important and sympathetic... > Read more

EDDIE KRAMER INTERVIEWED (2013): Wingman for the genius of Jimi

EDDIE KRAMER INTERVIEWED (2013): Wingman for the genius of Jimi

Some people get to sit at the right hand of genius. Eddie Kramer is one of those. As a producer/engineer he has worked with a glittering galaxy of rock's stardom: Led Zeppelin, the Stones, the... > Read more