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Julie Covington

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Julie Covington
Born (1946-09-11) 11 September 1946 (age 77)
London, England
  • Singer
  • actress
Years active1967–present

Julie Covington (born 11 September 1946) is an English singer and actress, best known for recording the original version of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina",[1] which she sang on the 1976 concept album Evita.

Early life[edit]

Julie Covington was born in London. Her parents were Ernest Gladden and Elsie Gladden (née Moody). Her parents divorced and her mother married Leslie Covington in 1957. She attended the girls' grammar school Brondesbury and Kilburn High School in Kilburn, northwest London, then studied at Homerton College, Cambridge. She started acting at school, and performed both acting and singing at two Edinburgh festivals.[2] She won the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe Best Actress Award.[2]


Covington started singing songs written by Pete Atkin and Clive James after joining the Footlights while still at teachers' training college in Cambridge.[2] She toured North America with the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company.[2] Covington's break came in 1967 when, as a student at Homerton College, she was invited to sing on David Frost's television show.[3] After the show, she secured a recording contract with Columbia.[3]

In 1971, she was cast in the original London production of Godspell at The Roundhouse, alongside David Essex, Jeremy Irons and Marti Webb. A recording of the production, featuring Covington's lead vocal on the track "Day by Day", was released in 1972. This was followed by a role in the hit Australian comedy film, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie. She was then cast as Janet Weiss in the original production of The Rocky Horror Show in 1973.[1] Between 1974 and 1984 Covington appeared regularly in the companies of the National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre, creating such roles as Alice in Plenty, Vivienne Eliot in Tom & Viv (for which she received an Olivier Award nomination)[4] and Edward in the original production of Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine.

During the early 1970s she appeared in and sang in the children's television programme Play Away. She starred in the BBC's 1975 Christmas production Great Big Groovy Horse, a rock opera based on the story of the Trojan Horse, shown on BBC2.[5] (It was repeated on BBC1 in 1977.)[6] 1976 and 1977 saw her appearing in both series of the primetime British television musical drama Rock Follies.[1] In 1976, the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber saw her perform in cabaret, and recognising her from Rock Follies, suggested to lyricist Tim Rice that she might be the actress to play the title role in their original studio recording of their musical Evita.[1] The singer Elkie Brooks had previously turned down an offer.

Covington's recording of the song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1977.[7] Later offered the opportunity to originate the role in the stage production of Evita, she declined, which led to Elaine Paige being cast.[8] Speaking in 1985, Covington expressed some regret at this decision, but explained that she did not like Eva Perón and that without some positive feeling for the person she preferred to turn the role down.[9]

As Evita opened in 1978, she instead appeared with the English National Opera as Anna in The Seven Deadly Sins.[10] Paige's successor in Evita, Marti Webb, later also played Anna in the ENO's production of The Seven Deadly Sins.

In 1978, Covington performed the role of Beth, wife of Parson Nathaniel (Phil Lynott), on the recording of "The Spirit of Man" from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.[1]

Covington achieved chart success with a cover version of Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed", which reached No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart.[7] It is included on reissues of her eponymous 1978 album.[1]

After recording a second solo album[citation needed] and guesting on other artists' albums, she returned to the theatre,[1] starring in the 1982 National Theatre production of Guys and Dolls, playing Sister Sarah opposite Ian Charleson's Sky Masterson. Russell Davies said that her performance "is of such a special timbre that she isn't easily matched."[11]

In 1989 she took part in a British television special with Colm Wilkinson, Carol Woods and Paul Jones called Let's Face the Music of Lennon and McCartney.[12] Her solo performances of "If I Fell" and "In My Life" are available on YouTube.[13][14]


Solo albums[edit]

  • While the Music Lasts (1967)
  • The Party's Moving On (1969)
  • The Beautiful Changes (1971)
  • Julie Covington (1978)
  • The Beautiful Changes Plus (1999)[1]
  • Julie Covington Plus (2000)

Cast recordings and soundtracks[edit]


Year Single Chart Positions
1970 "The Magic Wasn't There"
1972 "Day by Day"
1973 "Two Worlds Apart" (Demo only)
1976 "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" 1 1
1977 "OK?" (with Rula Lenska, Charlotte Cornwell, Sue Jones-Davies) 10
"Only Women Bleed" 12
1978 "(I Want to See the) Bright Lights" 58
1982 "Housewives' Choice"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Eder, Bruce. "Julie Covington – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Jeff Wayne - War of the Worlds (Media notes). CBS. 1978.
  3. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 310–1. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ "The Nominees and Winners of The Laurence Olivier Awards for 1984". Official London Theatre Guide. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
  5. ^ "Great Big Groovy Horse". 25 December 1975. p. 51 – via BBC Genome.
  6. ^ "Great Big Groovy Horse". 21 December 1977. p. 47 – via BBC Genome.
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 124. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ Bogdanski, Jennifer J (30 May 2007). "Evita – a Concept Album About Who?". Sir Tim Rice – Evita. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Observer: Covington interview". The Observer. 17 March 1985.
  10. ^ Challis, William (October 1978). "Ordinary Sins". Third Way Magazine. 2 (17). Hampstead, England: Thirty Press: 26. …the considerable talents of Julie Covington as Anna…
  11. ^ The Guys and Dolls Book. NHB Books. 1997. p. 56.
  12. ^ "TV - Let's Face the Music Of Lennon & McCartney: Yesterday par Carol Woods". Fandewilkinson.com. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Julie Covington performing If I Fell". YouTube.
  14. ^ "Julie Covington performing In My Life". YouTube.
  15. ^ "JULIE COVINGTON - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 74. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "Julie Covington". London: Brit Awards Ltd. Archived from the original on 2 February 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.

External links[edit]