Colleen Peterson

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Colleen Peterson
Birth nameColleen Susan Peterson
BornNovember 14, 1950
OriginPeterborough, Ontario, Canada
DiedOctober 9, 1996(1996-10-09) (aged 45)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active1976–1996
WebsiteColleen Peterson Tribute

Colleen Susan Peterson (November 14, 1950 – October 9, 1996) was a Canadian country and folk singer, who performed both as a solo artist and as a member of the band Quartette.[1][2]


Peterson began performing in coffeehouses in Ottawa in 1966.[3] She won an RPM Gold Leaf Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1967 and, in 1968, joined Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, Richard Patterson and Dennis Pendrith in a later version of the folk band 3's a Crowd.[4] She then joined the band TCB that recorded an album on the Traffic label. She left after that. In 1970, she was cast in the Canadian production of Hair.

She subsequently moved to Kingston in 1971, forming the band Spriggs and Bringle with Mark Haines. She then relocated to Nashville in 1974,[5][4] and released her first solo album, Beginning to Feel Like Home, in 1976.[6] She had a hit single on the Billboard country charts with "Souvenirs", and won a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1977.[7]

Following her 1978 album Taking My Boots Off, Peterson did not record new material for several years, although she appeared on two albums by the Charlie Daniels Band in 1980 and 1981. She continued to perform, however, touring with Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Waits and Ry Cooder, hosting television specials and appearing on Spirit of the Country and The Tommy Hunter Show, and working as a backing vocalist for Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Janie Fricke and Marty Stuart. Artists such as Anne Murray, Ronnie Prophet and Sylvia Tyson also recorded Peterson's songs.

In 1986 Peterson released the single "I Had It All", which was a hit on the Canadian country charts and launched the most successful phase of her career. She released the album Basic Facts, her first in ten years, in 1988, and had a string of ten hits, including "No Pain, No Gain", which hit No. 1 on the Canadian country charts in 1991.

In 1993, she joined Tyson, Caitlin Hanford and Cindy Church for a one-off concert at Toronto's Harbourfront, and the four later also appeared together on CBC Radio's Morningside and on A Prairie Home Companion in the United States. Due to favourable audience response to the collaboration, they continued to work together, adopting the name Quartette[8][9] and releasing their first album in 1994.[10]


Peterson toured and recorded with Quartette until 1996, when she was diagnosed with cancer. Unable to perform with the band during her cancer treatment, she chose her friend and collaborator Gwen Swick to fill in for her, and died in Toronto on October 9 of that year. She is buried in Little Lake Cemetery in Peterborough, Ontario.


Peterson was inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.[11] Additionally, she was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.[12][13] In 2003, the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, an award for young emerging songwriters, was created in her memory.[14] In 2004, her friend and songwriting partner Nancy Simmonds worked with several musicians to produce a new album, Postcards from California, from unreleased demos she had recorded with Peterson in the early 1990s.



Year Album Label
1976 Beginning to Feel Like Home Capitol
1977 Colleen
1978 Takin' My Boots Off
1988 Basic Facts Book Shop
1991 Let Me Down Easy Intersound
1994 Beginning to Feel Like Home (re-release) Capitol
1995 What Goes Around Comes Around (compilation) EMI
2004 Postcards from California EMI


Year Single Chart Positions Album
CAN Country CAN AC US Country
1976 "Don't It Make You Wanna Dance" Beginning to Feel Like Home
"Souvenirs" 38 100
1978 "Beginning to Feel Like Home"
"Delaney" Colleen
1986 "I Had It All" 50 Basic Facts
"What a Fool I'd Be" 20
1987 "Basic Fact of Life" 46 24
1988 "I Still Think of You" (with Gilles Godard) 14 single only
"Gently Lay Me Down" 55 Basic Facts
1989 "Weather the Storm" 44
1991 "No Pain, No Gain" 14 Let Me Down Easy
1992 "I'm Not Just Another April Fool" 69
1993 "Code of the West" 78 single only
"Deeper Waters" 68 Let Me Down Easy
"Crazy" 29 What Goes Around Comes Around
1994 "Let's Try Love Again" 43 single only
"Souvenirs" (re-release) 50 Beginning to Feel Like Home
1995 "What Goes Around Comes Around" 46 What Goes Around Comes Around


  1. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia: Colleen Peterson.
  2. ^ John Einarson (September 6, 2011). Four Strong Winds: Ian and Sylvia. McClelland & Stewart. pp. 296–. ISBN 978-0-7710-3040-6.
  3. ^ " Local music legend Bill Hawkins dead at 76". Ottawa Sun, By Norman Provencher, July 5, 2016
  4. ^ a b Lifelines. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 26, 1996. pp. 78–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Canadian – Coleen Peterson
  6. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Somebody's Waiting". People, June 30, 1980
  7. ^ Martin Melhuish (April 23, 1977). Juno 1977. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 76–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  8. ^ John Einarson (January 2001). Desperados: The Roots of Country Rock. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 233–. ISBN 978-0-8154-1065-2.
  9. ^ Jason Schneider (December 15, 2010). Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music... from Hank Snow to the Band. ECW Press. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-1-55490-552-2.
  10. ^ "Quartette brings Christmas to Morinville" Archived January 8, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. St. Albert Gazette, November 25, 2015 Anna Borowiecki
  11. ^ "Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame".
  12. ^ "Colleen Peterson". Hall of Fame Inductees. Canadian Country Music Association.
  13. ^ Phyllis Stark (July 22, 2000). Nashville Scene. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 58–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  14. ^ "Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award". Ontario Arts Council. Archived from the original on December 14, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.

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