Friday, June 11, 2010

Pied Piper Singer Crispian St. Peters Passes Away at 71

Crispian St. Peters, the singer who took the song "Pied Piper" to the top ten in 1966, has passed away at the age of 71. While no cause of death was announced, it is known that he had been a long-time sufferer of Emphysema and had been on permanent oxygen for some time.

St. Peters was born in Kent, England as Robin Peter Smith and originally played in a number of local bands including the Two Tones, the Country Gentlemen and Beat Formula Three. He broke away in 1965 when manager Dave Nicholson saw promise and changed directions to a folk-rock sound. Crispian signed with Decca Records and, after a few unsuccessful releases, he came upon the Ian & Sylvia song You Were On My Mind. Already a big hit for the We Five in the U.S., he and Nicholson recorded a slightly slower version. The song took off in the U.K., peaking at number 2 in early 1966.

With the hit came a great deal of focus by the press and St. Peters started to make outlandish statements to get publicity, including a statement that the Beatles were "past it" and that he was a better singer than Elvis Presley and more exciting than Tom Jones.

At first, the statements kept him in the public eye and he followed up his initial success with the single The Pied Piper which went to number 5 in the U.K and number 4 in the U.S. Unfortunately, his outlandish comments in the press and a lack of musical identity sank his chances of another hit on either side of the Atlantic.

In 1968, he tried to move to country music with no success and has since been a fixture on the British oldies circuit along with occasionally reentering the recording studio with his band Old Crow. Over the years, he suffered three nervous breakdowns, a stroke, a divorce and the emphysema that may have taken his life.


No comments: