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Crispian St. Peters

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Crispian St. Peters
Background information
Birth nameRobin Peter Smith[1]
Born(1939-04-05)5 April 1939
Swanley, Kent, England
Died8 June 2010(2010-06-08) (aged 71)
Kent, England
Years activelate 1950s–2001
LabelsDecca (UK), Square (UK), Jamie (US), London (Canada)
WebsiteOfficial website

Crispian St. Peters (born Robin Peter Smith; 5 April 1939 – 8 June 2010)[2] was an English pop singer-songwriter, best known for his work in the 1960s, particularly hit songs written by duo The Changin' Times, including "The Pied Piper", and Ian & Sylvia's "You Were on My Mind". His popularity waned after he claimed he was a better performer than other well known singers and declared that he was a better songwriter than the Beatles.[3]


Early career[edit]

Robin Peter Smith was born in Swanley, Kent, and attended Swanley Secondary Modern School. He learned the guitar and left school in 1954 to become an assistant cinema projectionist.[4] As a young man, he performed in several relatively unknown bands in England. In 1956, he gave his first live performance, as a member of The Hard Travellers. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as undertaking National Service, he was a member of The Country Gentlemen, Beat Formula Three, and Peter & The Wolves.[4][5]

Decca label[edit]

While a member of Beat Formula Three in 1963, he was heard by David Nicholson, an EMI publicist who became his manager. Nicholson suggested he use a stage name, initially "Crispin Blacke" and subsequently Crispian St. Peters, then promoted his client as being nineteen years of age, shaving off five years from his actual age of 24.[4] In 1964, as a member of Peter & The Wolves, St. Peters made his first commercial recording. He was persuaded to turn solo by Nicholson[5] and was signed to Decca Records in 1965. His first two singles on this record label, "No No No" and "At This Moment", proved unsuccessful on the charts.[1] He made two television UK appearances in February of that year, featuring in the shows Scene at 6.30 and Ready Steady Go!

In 1966, St. Peters' career finally yielded a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, with "You Were on My Mind",[6] a song written and first recorded in 1964 by the Canadian folk duo, Ian & Sylvia, and a hit in the United States for We Five in 1965. St. Peters' single eventually hit No. 2 in the UK and was then released in the US on the Philadelphia-based Jamie Records label. It did not chart in the US until a year after his fourth release, "The Pied Piper", became known as his signature song and a Top 10 hit in the United States and the UK.[7] Although his next single, a version of Phil Ochs' song "Changes", also reached the charts in both the UK and US, it was much less successful.[4] In 1967, St. Peters released his first LP, Follow Me..., which included several of his own songs, as well as the single "Free Spirit".[8][9] One of them, "I'll Give You Love", was recorded by Marty Kristian in a version produced by St. Peters, and became a big hit in Australia.[4] St. Peters' album was followed by his first EP, Almost Persuaded, yet by 1970, he was dropped by Decca. "You Were on My Mind" was featured in the 1996 German film Jenseits Der Stille (Beyond Silence).[5]

Claims about his talent[edit]

After the success of "You Were on my Mind", St Peters gave an interview to the New Musical Express claiming that he was a better song-writer than the Beatles and that his performance on stage made Elvis Presley look like the Statue of Liberty.[10] After just one hit single, he claimed he was going to be “bigger than Presley, was more talented than Sammy Davis Jr.”, “sexier than Dave Berry” and “more exciting than Tom Jones”. These comments did not go down well in the pop music press, who began to treat him as a conceited outcast. After his fourth single flopped, work and money dried up, and he became depressed. In 1970, he was dropped by Decca and admitted to hospital suffering from a nervous breakdown.[11]

Square label[edit]

Later in 1970, he was signed to Square Records. Under this new record deal, St. Peters released a second LP, Simply, that year, predominantly of country and western songs. Later still they released his first cassette, The Gospel Tape, in 1986, and a second cassette, New Tracks on Old Lines in 1990. His third cassette, Night Sessions, Vol. 1 was released in 1993.

Several CDs also came from this record deal, including Follow Me in 1991, The Anthology in 1996, Night Sessions, Vol. 1 in 1998, The Gospel Tape in 1999, and, finally, Songs From The Attic in 2000. He also performed on various Sixties nostalgia tours, and continued to write and arrange for others until his later ill health.[4]

Personal life[edit]

From 1969 to 1974, St. Peters was married to Collette. The marriage produced a daughter, Samantha, and a son, Lee.[12]

On 1 January 1995, at the age of 55, he suffered a stroke[7] which, along with emphysema, severely limited his music career.[12] He announced his retirement in 2001.[7] After 2003, he was hospitalised several times with pneumonia.

St. Peters died on 8 June 2010, after a long illness, at the age of 71.[2]



Year Album Record Label
1966 The Pied Piper Jamie Records
1966 Follow Me... Decca Records
1970 Simply Square Records


Year Title Peak chart positions Record Label B-side Album
US[13] UK AUS[14] CAN
1965 "At This Moment" Decca Records "You'll Forget Me, Goodbye"
"No, No, No" 44 "Three Goodbyes"
1966 "You Were on My Mind" 36 2 45 29[15] "What I'm Gonna Be" Follow Me...
"The Pied Piper" 4 5 5 1[16] "Sweet Dawn My True Love"
"Changes" 57 47 62 35[17] "My Little Brown Eyes"
"But She's Untrue" 33 "Your Ever Changin' Mind"
(US #106)
Follow Me...
1967 "Almost Persuaded" 52 94 "You Have Gone"
"Free Spirit" 90 "I'm Always Crying"
1968 "That's the Time" "The Silent Times"
"Low Bad Hurting"
as Country Smith
"No Longer Mine"
"Look into My Teardrops"
(US release only)
133 Jamie Records "Please Take Me Back" Simply
"Carolina" Decca Records "That's Why We Are Through"
1970 "So Long" "My Little Brown Eyes" Follow Me...
"Wandering Hobo" Square Records "Love, Love, Love" Simply
1974 "Do Daddy Do" Santa Ponsa Records "Every Time You Sinned"
1975 "Carolina"
Route Records "Samantha"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bruce Eder. "Crispian St. Peters | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Crispian St Peters – 60's Hits Pop Star Died 9th June 2010". Mi2N.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  3. ^ Singer had too much competition on his mind, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June 2010
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Crispian St Peters: Pop singer whose Sixties hits included 'The Pied Piper' – Obituaries – News". The Independent. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952–2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 674. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 479. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ a b c "Crispian St. Peters Biography". OLDIES.com. 5 April 1939. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  8. ^ Billboard – 9 December 1967 – Page 97 PETERS-FREE SPIRIT (Prod. David Nicolso) (Writers: Kornfeld-Duboff) (Chardon, BMI)-"The original "Pied Piper" should be riding right up the Hot 100 once again with this easy-going folk-rock item, and should quickly surpass the success of ..."
  9. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions Library of Congress. Copyright Office – 1967 – Page 1747 FREE SPIRIT; (She comes on), w & m Steve Duboff & Artie Kornfeld (Arthur Kornfeld) 1 p. © Chardon Music, Inc.;
  10. ^ Crispian St Peters obituary, The Guardian, 14 June 2010
  11. ^ Crispian St Peters, The Telegraph, 14 June 2010
  12. ^ a b Laing, David (15 June 2010). "Crispian St Peters obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  13. ^ Crispian St. Peters, US and UK chart positions Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 3 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  15. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - August 5, 1967" (PDF).
  16. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - July 18, 1966" (PDF).
  17. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - November 7, 1966" (PDF).

External links[edit]