(Australian 1967-1997, 2006)
Colleen Hewett was born in Bendigo, Victoria on April 16, 1950. At the age of twelve, her uncle took her to a local dance where she sang a number with the the group who were playing that night, The Esquires. She impressed both the audience and the group, so the band offered her a position with them as a vocalist. For the next three years Colleen worked regularly with the band.
The next stage of her career came in 1967 in Melbourne when she joined a vocal trio called the Creations with whom she toured Australia. From there she worked as a member of the Laurie Alien Revue and then with the Ian Saxon Sound.
In 1970 she embarked on a solo career under the management of Danny Finley who was later to become her husband. Her big break came later in the year when she won the Bandstand 1970 Best Female Newcomer of the Year award. By now she was gaining regular exposure on television as well as on the club and pop circuits. Colleen was then snapped up by Festival and her first single, 'Superstar' (from Joe Cocker's live album), which was suggested by Johnny Young, was released in June 1971.
She was well liked in the entertainment field and gained a reputation as an unspoiled, home-loving girl who was wary of the glamour and glitter of show business. Her popularity was also an important factor in her scoring a starring role in the stage production of Godspell, which opened at the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne during November of 71. As her second single, Colleen chose a song from the show entitled 'Day By Day' which was recorded using full orchestration and the Australian Boys Choir. The record became a national number one hit and the biggest selling Australian single of 1972. 'Day By Day' sold well over 50,000 copies and won a gold record for Colleen. As an interesting culmination to 1971, and as a sequel to her previous success on the Bandstand awards, she was this year elected Best Female Singer.
Colleen's commitment with Godspell made it difficult for her to get to the studios and record, but gradually she began assembling tracks for her forthcoming album. One of the songs, 'Carry That Weight', was released mid 1972 as her third single. Further recognition of her talent then came with her award as TV Week's 1972 Queen of Pop, and her win in the Go-Set national Pop Poll as Best Female singer.
The next step was to tackle the overseas market and Colleen negotiated with Paul Dainty to handle her affairs in London. Later in the year she left for the US and England. She returned on Boxing Day with the news that she had set the ball rolling regarding overseas recording and performances.
Early in 1973, Colleen took part in her second musical production with a starring role in the rock opera, Tommy. Because of the magnitude of the production, it was only presented twice. However, her performances were highly acclaimed. In May 73, she completed the recording of what was to be her first single for the year, 'Sit Yourself Down'. It was a lavish production which was reported to have cost $6,000. But in June she appeared in a TV special on the seven network and one of the songs she sang was 'Waltzing Matilda'. The reaction to the song was so great that Festival decided to release it and shelve 'Sit Yourself Down', which was finally released in December 73. Ironically, neither single made the charts.
Once again Colleen won the TV Week Queen of Pop award. Another piece of good news was that she had been chosen to co-star with Johnny Farnham in the stage show, Pippin , which was to start in February 1974.
Then, in January 74, it was announced that she had been signed to Atlantic Records by US director, Phil Rose. The agreement apparently involved a large sum of money (reported to be five figures), two albums per year and a trip to America when her contract with Pippin expired in February 1975. In the US Colleen found it difficult to make progress and eventually returned to Australia in May 1977, having produced one good album called M'Lady. She wasted no time in getting back to work and began playing clubs almost immediately.
In September 1977, Colleen was chosen for a lead role in a new ABC-TV series called 'The Truckies'
In 1980 Colleen made a welcome return to the charts with her first single in five years, "Dreamin My Dreams With You" (b/w "One Eyed Man"), her sole release on Robie Porter's Wizard label. It was the second biggest hit of her career, reaching #2 nationally in March 1980 and hitting #1 in Brisbane and Melbourne and #2 in Adelaide and Sydney. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press]
For more information about Colleen's singing and acting career, see the Midoztouch Website.
This post consists of an MP3 (320kps) rip from my A+ vinyl copy (found recently in an opp shop in pristine condition) and includes full album artwork. As a bonus, I am also including her 1980 single "Dreamin My Dreams With You" / "One Eyed Man" from my collection. Now, I'm gonna have to admit that I had a bit of a thing for Colleen when I was a teenager which was only exasperated when I saw her on stage in Melbourne's presentation of Godspell. More than 40 years later, I can still hear her Angelic like voice singing those magestical words "Pre-e-e-pare, Ye The Way, Of The Lord"..........
01. Day By Day (Album Version)
03. Waltzing Matilda
04. Can't Sit Down
05. By My Side
06. I'll Be Seeing You
07. Wish To Wish
08. Carry That Weight
09. Sit Yourself Down
10. More Today Than Yesterday
11. Danny Boy
12. Day By Day (Godspell version)
13. Dreaming My Dreams With You (A-Side Single)
14. One Eyed Man (B-Side Single)
Colleen Hewett Link (125Mb)