Peter Doyle

Peter was born in Melbourne on 28 July, 1949. He started out in the music business when he was just a youngster. By the age of 9 he was already appearing on a television talent show called Swallow's Juniors. At 14 he was performing in Sunday afternoon pop shows at Melbourne's Festival Hall and by 16 he'd scored a solo record deal with Ivan Dayman's Sunshine label (whose roster included Normie Rowe) and Peter became a regular on Melbourne’s THE GO!! SHOW.

Between 1965 and 1967 Peter (backed by veteran Melbourne band The Phantoms recorded eight solo singles in Australia, six for the Sunshine label and two more for Astor. His first two singles were Top 20 hits: his debut single, a cover of Conway Twitty's Speechless (The Pick Up) peaked at #14 (May ’65) and the follow-up, Stupidity, peaked at #11 (July). His cover of the Small Faces' What'cha Gonna Do About It only got to #35 (Nov. ’65), but a version of The Platters' classic The Great Pretender fared better # 22 in Jan. ’66, although this proved to be his last charting solo single in Australia. His last two Sunshine singles were Something You Got Baby in May, and Mr Good Time in November 1966.

In 1967, Doyle moved to the Astor label and issued two singles You Can't Put That in a Bottle (April) and Neil Sedaka's Plastic Dreams and Toy Balloons (June). His backing band during this time was Grandma's Tonic, a group formed by ex-members of Tony Worsley's backing band The Fabulous Blue Jays).

Peter as he looked in the early ‘70s
[Photo courtesy of the Lyn Paul website]

In May 1968, with his solo career fading, Peter peroxided his hair and joined the Walker Brothers-styled vocal trio The Virgil Brothers. The other members were both formerly part of the original incarnation of The Wild Cherries – singer/guitarists Rob Lovett (The Loved Ones) and Malcolm McGee (Python Lee Jackson). The Virgil Brothers released two singles in Australia in 1968, Temptation's 'Bout to Get Me (a Top 5 hit), Here I Am and When You Walk Away. In 1969 McGee left and was replaced by Danny Robinson, vocalist extraordinaire and ex-frontman of the highly regarded “Mark II” version of The Wild Cherries with Lobby Loyde. The trio headed to the UK where they cut their third single with David McKay before Peter also quit and the trio dissolved.

Shortly after the Virgil Bros split in 1970 Peter joined Lyn Paul and Paul Layton in the second lineup of The New Seekers, replacing founding members Sally Graham, Chris Barrington and Laurie Heath. The clean-cut pop harmony group had been put together by former Seekers member Keith Potger who had retreated into the less public role of manager after initially performing with them. Although initially ignored in the UK, they broke through with a string of American hits, beginning with Top 10 cover of Melanie Safka’s What Have They Done To My Song, Ma. More hits followed, including I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (originally written as a soft-drink jingle), Beg, Steal or Borrow (the UK's Eurovision entry in 1972 on which Peter shared the lead vocal with Lyn Paul) and the New Seekers' valiant cover of Pete Townshend's Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me which featured Peter and Marty Kristian on lead vocals.

A talented singer and songwriter, Peter joined The New Seekers in 1970. Peter's songs, which included ballads such as I Can Say You're Beautiful and Lay Me Down, contemplative songs such as Move Me Lord and heavier rock numbers like Boom Town and Cincinnati. His powerful vocals gave the New Seekers' sound a tougher edge.

Peter's songwriting talents were first showcased on the New Seekers' album Beautiful People, which included Cincinnati. Subsequent albums up to and including the last one he recorded with them - The New Seekers Now - all featured at least one of his songs. New Colours featured three - Boom Town, Move Me Lord and Lay Me Down; Circles featured two - Holy Rolling and I'll Be Your Song, and We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing and Now included one song apiece.

Although the group enjoyed huge international chart success, The New Seekers themselves apparently saw little of the proceeds. Asked during a radio interview whether she'd made a fortune with The New Seekers, Lyn Paul replied:

"Absolutely not, no! ... We started off on a £50 a week salary. And when we had I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing in the charts we got £100 a week. And then every so often when we kicked up a bit of a fuss ... we'd get given, say £1,000, to go and buy clothes.”

Disillusioned, Peter quit the group in 1973 to pursue a solo career as a singer-songwriter. His cynicism showed through in lyrics like those of his song Sailor Man, which begins with the line "They took me for a ride" and ends with a stern warning to other would-be pop stars:

Stay at your school,
Don't be a rock'n'roll fool.
In the end your lawyer is the star.

© Copyright Peter Doyle Music / Heath Levy Music Ltd.

After leaving the New Seekers Peter 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.

By the time Peter quit The New Seekers, they were being represented in the US by former Masters Apprentices bassist turned manager Glenn Wheatley. He 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. One can only imagine how different things might have been if he had taken up the offer! 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 was a regular performer on the club circuit for some years. Sadly, he was sidelined by throat and lung cancer in the 1990s and he died in Castlemaine, Victoria on October 13, 2001. He is survived by his wife, Jane.

Out thanks to the Lyn Paul website for information


Solo singles 1965-68

Speechless (The Pick Up) / Like I Love You
(Sunshine QK 902) 1965

Stupidity / Heigh Ho!
(Sunshine QK 1001) 1965

What'cha Gonna Do About It? / Do It Zulu Style
(Sunshine) 1965

Great Pretender / Everybody Loves A Lover
(Sunshine) 1966

Something You Got Baby / Go Away
(Sunshine) 1966

Mr. Good Time / Tweedle Dee
(Sunshine) 1966

You Can't Put That in A Bottle / I'm Not The Boy You're After
(Astor) 1967

Plastic Dreams and Toy Balloons / You're My Reason
(Astor) 1967

with The Virgil Brothers

Temptation's 'Bout to Get Me / I See Her Face

Here I Am / Shake Me, Wake Me

When You Walk Away / Good Love

Peter Doyle solo 1973-

Rusty Hands of Time / And So In Life
(Polydor 2058 384) 1973

Friday On My Mind / We Believe In Lovin'
(RCA 2730) 1976

Skin Deep / We Believe In Lovin'
(RCA PB 5051) 1976

Do You Wanna Make Love / Wake Up With Me
(Limelight BULB 1) 1980

This and That / It's All Over
(Limelight BULB 2) 1980

as “Jungle Ted”

Jungle Ted and the Laceybuttonpoppers
(EMI 2213) 1974


Peter's First Album (Sunshine) 1966

Skin Deep
Side 1: Skin Deep | Harlem Dream | Sailor Man | Reel Back
Side 2: The Way It Goes | Heart Filled Up | Rocky Lady | One More River | Shangri La
(RCA LP PL25113) 1977


Christie Eliezer - Peter Doyle obituary, immedia Nov.30 - Dec 2 2001

Ian McFarlane – Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (1999)

Noel McGrath – Australian Encyclopedia of Rock (1978)

The Lyn Paul website

Chris Spencer & Zbig Nowara – Who’s Who of Australian Rock

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