Peter Dawson (born in Adelaide, South Australia, on 31 January 1882) was a popular baritone singer who sang professionally from the early 1900s to the 1950s. After winning various singing contests, he was encouraged to travel to England, where he received further training in music. He was well-received in Britain, and his popularity is credited with assisting the survival of concert recitals and the older style of ballad songs. He was one of the first singers to recognize the potential of putting songs onto recording discs (gramophone records); by the end of his career, it is estimated that he recorded about 3500 songs and sold over 13 million records.
During the First World War he joined the army (the Australian Imperial Force), although he was not sent overseas to fight; whilst in the Second World War he helped to entertain the troops and assisted with recruitment efforts in both Australia and New Zealand.
As well as singing, Peter Dawson also wrote songs and music, often using pseudonyms. In 1951 he published the story of his life in his book, Fifty Years of Song. Fifty Years of Song. Dawson died on 27 September 1961 in Sydney and was buried in Rookwood cemetery.
Peter Dawson – Advance Australia Fair
Peter Dawson – The A.I.F. Is Marching
Peter Dawson – Along the Road to Gundagai
Peter Dawson – On The Road To Mandalay
(UK song, based upon the poem “Mandalay” by Rudyard Kipling)
Peter Dawson – The Riveter
Peter Dawson – Song of Australia
Peter Dawson – V is for Victory; In Memory of You; Whalin’ up the Lachlan; Lassiter’s Last Ride
(V is for Victory: words and music by Peter Dawson, 1941; In Memory of You: words by Harald Bowden, music by Peter Dawson, 1941; Whalin’ up the Lachlan: words by Louis Esson, music by Peter Dawson, 1923)
Peter Dawson – Waltzing Matilda
References and further information:
James Glennon. Dawson, Peter Smith (1882–1961), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (accessed 8 October 2012)
Peter Dawson (bass-baritone), Wikipedia (accessed 8 October 2012)
Peter Dawson 1882-1961, Live Performance Australia (accessed 8 October 2012)