Australiasian tours, 1965, 1966

1965 Australasian tour
Support act: Dinah Lee

30 August -- Palais Royal, Adelaide
1 September -- Festival Hall, Melbourne
3 September -- Festival Hall, Brisbane
4 September -- The Stadium, Sydney
6-8 September -- New Zealand
10 September -- Festival Hall, Melbourne
11 September -- The Stadium, Sydney

1966 Australasian tour
(no information available)


Texas-born singer, songwriter and actor P.J. Proby (real name James Marcus Smith) became a major solo star in the mid-1960s, scoring numerous international hits and touring around the world. After several years as a struggling actor and singer in Hollywood in the late '50s and early '60s, Proby shot to international prominence in 1964. 

Thanks to his friends, songwriter Sharon Sheeley and recording star Jackie De Shannon, he was introduced to TV producer Jack Good (Shindig). Good was impressed by Proby's talent and included him in a couple of TV pop shows he produced in the States. Shortly after meeting Proby, Good was approached by Brian Epstein to produce a British TV special called Around The Beatles. Good realised that this would be the perfect vehicle to launch Proby in the UK and after listening to tapes Epstein agreed to include him.

Proby's performed three songs on the television special, which also featured Sounds Incorporated, Cilla Black, Little Millie Small, Long John Baldry, Andrew Tayir, American DJ Murray "The K" Kaufman, The Vernons Girls, The Jets and Trevor Peacock. The program -- -- the first to be relayed internationally using the new Telstar communications satellite -- was also shown in Australia on the Nine Network, introduced by Bandstand's Brian Henderson.

Proby won renown -- or infamy, depending on your generation -- for his outrageously long hair, which he usually wore in a ponytail, and for his wild stage act. He began wearing velvet outfits with skin-tight pants, and at a gig in London in January 1965 his pants ripped open during the show, and two days later it happened again. Proby always denied that the pants were deliberately made to split, but when they did it caused a sensation among his teenage female fans, while predictably outraging their parents and generating headlines in the British music press. 

Proby made two tours 'downunder' at the height of his fame. The first in August-September 1965 (supported by Dinah Lee) was marked by drama and controversy. 300 fans gave the exhausted star a wild reception at Sydney Airport on his arrival, with the Daily Mirror reporting that a contingent of 20 police was on hand to keep order. His arrival triggered howls of outrage from self-appointed moral guardians -- commentator and radio host Rev. Roger Bush penned a Sunday Mirror column, headlined "Go home Mr Proby: The Merchant of Obscenity", which blasted the singer for his appearance and attitude and denounced him as "an end product of 20th century materialism and cheap, tawdry sexuality".

Proby returned to Australia for a second tour in 1966, but we have so far been unable to locate any details of this visit. Unfortunately his stage act proved a little too risque for the time -- in 1967 he was dropped from a UK tour with Cilla Black after being banned by the UK theatre chain they were booked with, and he was also banned from performing live on UK television.

His popularity nosedived in the late Sixties, largely as a result of the industry boycott against him in the UK. He went on to work in the musical theatre in the Seventies and Eighties, winning acclaim for his portrayals of Elvis and Roy Orbison. After a battle with alcohol in the 1990s he bounced back with a role in the Jack Good musical Good Rockin' Tonight in the late 1990s. He has also appeared in the stage version of The Who's Quadrophenia, toured with The Searchers and The Troggs and in August 2004 he returned to tour Australia for the first time in almost forty years.

References / Links

P.J. Proby Downunder fan site

P.J. Proby official website

Wikipedia - P.J. Proby