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New Seekers: Peter Oliver

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Peter Oliver, characterised by Lyn Paul as "good looking, light-hearted and fun to be with", was a member of the New Seekers for less than a year. But during that short time he shared in some of the group's biggest successes - a US tour with Liza Minnelli, TV appearances on all the top light entertainment shows (with Lulu, David Frost and Morecambe & Wise to name but a few), two Top 10 hits including a UK number one single and the New Seekers' triumphant Farewell Tour of the UK.


When Will I See The Light (single cover).

When Will I See
The Light

(single cover)


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Peter, Paul & Marty (album cover).

Paul & Marty

Paul & Marty.

(album cover)

Together (cassette cover).

Peter Oliver
pictured on
the cover of the
New Seekers'

We've Got To Do It Now (single cover).

New Seekers
We've Got To Do It Now
single cover)

You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me (single cover).

New Seekers
You Won't Find
Another Fool Like Me

single cover)

I Get A Little Sentimental Over You (single cover).

New Seekers
I Get A Little
Sentimental Over You

single cover)


Peter Oliver (real name Larry Oliver) joined the New Seekers in June 1973 as Peter Doyle's replacement. Born in Southampton, England on 15th January 1952, Peter played guitar, bass, piano and organ.

Peter first made a mark in the music business as a fifteen-year-old, recording three singles under the name of Jonny Ross. Based upon his evident talent and good looks Beat Instrumental seemed convinced that he had a bright future ahead of him and posed the question: 'Is Jonny Ross the new Cliff?'

"A good-looking chap, you wouldn't take him for less than 19 and his voice kicked the age estimation scale right out of the window. His first record was played, the voice was that of a mature singer, a pro... Listen to the record, is he the new Cliff? He's certainly off to a good start."(Beat Instrumental No. 52, August 1967).

June Southworth from Fabulous 208, though similarly impressed, was more sceptical: "Stories filter through of massive film deals for Jonny Ross, TV series for Jonny Ross, a gold-plated future on every likely scene for Jonny Ross. But when are we going to see all this bear fruit?" (Fabulous 208, 18th November 1967) The conundrum, and perhaps the reason why all this did not bear fruit, was plain to the young Jonny Ross even before he'd been asked the question.

"I've been doing television shows... but almost every other means of making public appearances proves difficult.
Ballrooms are difficult, because I'm the sort of singer who needs to be listened to. The words really do matter in the songs I sing...
Clubs and cabaret are even more difficult. Being under eighteen, I'm either not allowed to sing because of licensing laws, or find myself singing to audiences who are predominantly in their mid-twenties or over."
(Fabulous 208, 18th November 1967)

In 1969, having failed to find the teen audience that could have made Jonny Ross a star, Peter joined the cast of the musical Hair! as an understudy. Within 18 months he was playing the lead role of Claude!

Following that success, Peter played electric and acoustic guitar with Sunshine, a six-piece group led by Jack Green and Gordon Edwards, who between them wrote all of the songs on Sunshine's 1972 album. The other members of the group were Terry Slade (drums), Ethel Coley and Joanne White, both of whom had also appeared in the London production of Hair!. For a short while after that Peter formed his own group, Succubus. At the time that he auditioned for the New Seekers Peter had abandoned Succubus and was earning a living as a session musician.

Peter Oliver.

Peter Oliver

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After his audition Peter flew out to the United States to join the rest of the New Seekers. There wasn't much time for him to settle in. As Lyn told it to Brian Matthew in 1974: "When he first joined we were working at Disneyland and we only had a 15 minute act. So he learned the 15 minute act first and then ... he's learned [the other] numbers as we've gone along."

Peter recorded four singles with the New Seekers - We've Got To Do It Now, You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me, I Get A Little Sentimental Over You and Sing Hallelujah. He appears on three of their albums - Peter, Paul & Marty, Together and Farewell Album. The power of Peter's voice and his ability to give a dramatic performance are showcased particularly well on the Together album. He gives great gusto to a translated version of Vado Via (originally a hit for Italian singer Drupi) and injects energy and charisma into Neil Diamond's Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show, a song that Peter also performed in his solo spot on the New Seekers' Farewell Tour.

When the New Seekers split up in May 1974 Peter went solo for a while, recording two singles for RCA and appearing on TV shows such as Lift Off with Ayshea (Granada, 5th November 1974), Magpie and Rock On With 45 (Granada, 14th June 1975). He then joined Paper Lace, best known in the UK for their number 1 hit Billy Don't Be A Hero (in the USA the song was a hit for Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods, though Paper Lace did score a hit on both sides of the Atlantic with their follow-up, The Night Chicago Died). At the time that Peter joined Paper Lace, the line-up included original members Cliff Fish and Phil Wright, plus fellow-newcomer Jamie Moses (ex-Merlin). The aim of the new group was to break free from the old Paper Lace formula, "to do it the way we want to do it" as Phil Wright put it. Speaking in an interview on Radio 1's Newsbeat, he said:

"I think the singles that we had got out put us in a rut from the word go and we became very frustrated at not being able to put material that we particularly liked into the act because people had come to see the singles ... We got very dissatisfied with what we were doing."

Speaking in the same interview, Peter Oliver said:

"I've always had a problem within myself of feeling that people didn't really see me as a musician and I'm out to get a bit of musical credibility."

Paper Lace.

The 1976 line-up of Paper Lace
featuring Peter Oliver (far left).

Musical credibility was one thing, hit records quite another. The more sophisticated sound of the new Paper Lace did not catch the public's imagination and in 1978 Peter returned to musicals. He recorded a track for the Don Black / Geoff Stephens musical Dear Anyone... and appeared on the soundtrack of the London Studio Cast recording of The Barrier - A Love Story.

Peter has since returned to performing under his real name of Larry Oliver. In 2006 he performed with The Rubettes as the band's lead singer, though he opted not to join the band on a permanent basis. The Rubettes had topped the UK singles chart with Sugar Baby Love on 18th May 1974. The band subsequently had Top 10 hits with Juke Box Jive, I Can Do It and Baby I Know. Following a legal wrangle in 1999 two versions of the band were giiven permission to use The Rubettes name, provided that it was made clear which band was which.- "The Rubettes featuring Alan Williams“ or “The Rubettes featuring Bill Hurd”.

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The Barrier (album cover).

Elaine Paige /
Peter Oliver

Ireland /
We're Only
Flesh And Blood

The Barrier:
A Love Story

(single cover)

Consciously (CD cover).

Cornelius Cardew
& Others

(CD cover)


Jonny Ross


Too Much Love
/ Forget About Him
(Columbia DB 8225) 7th July 1967

Push A Button / Along The Way
(Columbia DB 8282) 13th October 1967

Don't Stop Your Lovin’ / Silent Voices
(Columbia) 1967



When Will I See The Light
/ Sing Your Song
(Warner Bros. K 16199) 1972



(Warner Bros. K 46169) 1972

Side 1: Sing Your Song | Long Haired Lady | Landscape and Return | Advert | If You'll Be My Lady
Side 2: When Will I See The Light | It's Over | Relics | Leeds - Ever So Lightly - If You'll Be My Lady

Advert for 'Loving You Is Killing Me' (Record Mirror, 2nd November 1974).
Peter Oliver


Lovin' You Is Killing Me
/ Losing You
(RCA 2481) 1974

Love Ship / If Only I Knew
(RCA 2550) May 1975

Paper Lace


I Think I'm Gonna Like It
/ Lost Love
(EMI 2486) July 1976

Grateful Amarillo (Peter Oliver)


Sleeping Like A Baby Now
/ All Rocked Out
from 'Dear Anyone ...'
(DJM Records DJS 10877) 1979

Elaine Paige and Peter Oliver


(Elaine Page and the Peter Knight Orchestra and Chorus) /
We're Only Flesh And Blood (Elaine Paige and Peter Oliver and the Peter Knight Orchestra)
from 'The Barrier'
(Eurodisk WHS 101) July 1980


Dear Anyone...
(DJM Records LP DJH 20541 / Cassette DJH 40541) 1978

Side 1: I Don't Know the Answer | I'll Put You Together Again | You'd Be Amazed | Sleeping Like A Baby Now | Shortcomings | What About Us? | One Sided Love | Dear Anyone
Side 2: All Rocked Out | Don't Stop Him If You've Heard It | Pandora | Why The Panic? | Have You Heard About Pandora? | I Don't Know The Answer | Orange County | My Turn

The Barrier – A Love Story
(Eurodisk WH 1001/2) July 1980

Tracks: The Marge Of The Orangemen | Listen To Me | I'm Only Trying To Make You Understand | The Barrier | Ireland | Welcome To My Home | Belfast Party | We Can Live Together | Battle Of The Self-Righteous | I'm Glad I'm An Atheist | We're Only Flesh And Blood | Have You Heard The News? | Morning Light | You Have Betrayed Us | Think It Over | You Killed Our Jesus Christ | My Dream | We're Children | I'm Happy | Teenage Rebels | We're Giving Our Blessing To You | Goodbye To Those Days

Cornelius Cardew, Peoples Liberation Music, Progressive Cultural Association Band, Fight Back Band and others

(CD Baby) 8th November 2007

This album is a tribute to the collective Cornelius Cardew was a part of. Peter Oliver (Larry Oliver) sang backing vocals on the track Mr. Media Man.

Tracks: Consciously | The Spirit Of Cable Street | We People | Solidarity Song | Bold Fenian Men | Join In The Fight | Take Up The Fight | Himno de Riego | We're Not Afraid | Golden Mountain In Beijing | The Blackleg Miner | Mr. Media Man | Fight The Cuts | The Lords Of Labour | Cripplin' Blows | The Workers' Song | Hammer Of The Working Class | People Of St. Pauls, Bristol | In Imperialist Wars | Song For The British Working Class | The Workers Of Ontario | Montréal Textile Worker | The Dream Of The Generations | There You Will Find My Bones | Song Of The CYUB | Founding Of The Party | We Sing For The Future

Sleeping Like A Baby Now (single cover).

Peter Oliver
Sleeping Like A Baby Now (single cover)

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Vivien Banks
Chris Barrington
Peter Doyle
Brian Engel
Danny Finn
Mick Flinn
Eve Graham
Sally Graham
Mark Hankins
Laurie Heath

Vikki James
Donna Jones
Nicola Kerr
Marty Kristian
Paul Layton
Peter Oliver
Keith Potger
Kathy Ann Rae
Francine Rees
Caitriona Walsh


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