Pop Archives

Normie Rowe - Penelope (1968)

(Brian Peacock)
Australia Australia
#9 Melbourne

Original released version

Single on SunshineMarch 1968. Normie Rowe had been called up in September 1967, and entered the Australian Army in January 1968. (See also: Turn Down Day, from that period.) Penelope was written by a former member of Normie's band The Playboys, Brian Peacock, who by this time had co-founded Procession.

Melbourne singer Normie Rowe became Australia's top teen idol of the late 60s and the star of Ivan Dayman's Sunshine label. He had a string of hits in Australia from 1965, recorded four singles in London, toured Britain and America, and even inspired a tribute song, Norman-Normie. After he was conscripted to serve in Vietnam he never regained his earlier 'King of Pop' status, but he re-established himself as a respected performer, especially on stage, starring in such productions as Les Miserables and Annie.

See also, for example, his hits Que Sera Sera and It Ain't Necessarily So.

Further reading: 1. Normie Rowe biography at Milesago. 2. Official site at NormieRowe.com at Milesago.

Procession - Penelope (1968)

(Brian Peacock)
Australia Australia
Original version?

Written by Procession founding member Brian Peacock, a track on the Festival album Live at Sebastians.

Recorded April 1968 at Melbourne discotheque Sebastians, released May 1968

Procession was formed late in 1967 by Brian Peacock and Mick Rogers, members of Normie Rowe's band The Playboys, after Normie was drafted into the Australian Army.

Original version? Although Live at Sebastians came out after Normie Rowe's single of Penelope, it is likely that the song had been performed live by Procession before Normie's release. From November 1967 Procession appeared regularly on Channel 0's four-hour Saturday morning pop show Uptight, and by December they were busy with constant appearances at Melbourne venues as well as visits to Sydney and Adelaide.

Procession was an innovative, experimental band. On their first single, the a cappella Anthem (1968, #7 Melbourne), Milesago quotes Go-set's Lily Brett: The backing track is all vocal; all the intricate sounds usually provided by bass, rhythm and lead guitars, organ and drums, are mimicked by the voices of The Procession; with a sad, almost cynical, message sung through and over the involved backing.

Reference: I have drawn mainly on Milesago's history of Procession by Nick Warburton which explores every detail of the band's history, but any errors of interpretation here are mine.