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Peter Skellern
Pride of Manchester's guide to...  
born in 1947 in Bury, Lancashire
Biggest Songs...
You're A Lady - UK no.3 (Sep 1972)
Hold On To Love - UK no.14 (Mar 1975)
Love Is The Sweetest Thing - UK no.60 (Aug 1978)
Pride Of Manchester's Guide to Manchester Music
Buy Peter Skellern albums
Peter Skellern

From the heart of Lancashire, Peter Skellern was born in 1947 and bred in Bury. Starting out his musical career he played the organ in his local church and became the choirmaster. Apparently, musical talent ran in the Skellern family with many generations interested in music and his own Grandfather playing the Grand Piano.

Skellern graduated from the Guildhall School of music in 1968. Here he studied piano and soon after he joined the vocal harmony band March Hare (which later changed their name to Harlan County). However, soon after they had completed their first country/pop album the group spilt. This band though unsuccessful launched Peter Skellern’s musical career.

Skellern soon shot to fame with his first hit in 1972, the ballad 'You're a lady' which got to number three in the UK Charts and number fifty in the US. It became a world-wide hit. He wrote the lyrics while working as a hotel porter in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It was later covered by fellow Mancunian (and ex-Monkee) Davy Jones.

In 1975, Skellern released a follow up hit to his song ‘You’re a lady’. This time the song ‘Hold on to love’ hit the charts at number 14. Skellern was an expert at writing love songs as well as being able to write ballads, which were often witty but still had that homely feeling. He was always able to maintain the old folk traditions that Lancashire folks love. Around this time he was well known for his regular appearances on television until finally deciding that he was not as interested in the charts as once thought, and so concentrated more on composing and recording with brass bands.

A minor hit 'Love is the Sweetest thing' in 1979 won him a Music Trades Association Award for Best MOR album.

Skellern continued to make records on and off during the Seventies and Eighties, but concentrated more on developing his career as a stage writer and composing scores for musicals.
He wrote and performed six autobiographical programmes for the BBC followed by a series of musical plays called 'Happy Endings'. In his career he has composed the theme music for several television shows including ‘The life and times of Henry Pratt’, ‘Me and my girl’ and ‘Flesh and Blood’.

Skellern performed at The Royal Variety Performance in 1982 which was named the ‘Magical World of Musicals’ for ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’. Here he performed one of his well-known hits ‘I get a kick out of you’.

In 1983 Skellern hosted the Private Lives chat show. A year later he formed the first Oasis band from Manchester and became the lead singer. 'Simpergroup' Oasis was formed with Julian Lloyd Webber, Mary Hopkin and Bill Lovelady. The group released a self-titled album, Oasis in 1984 on Warner Brothers, which earned silver record acclaim. The group actually never performed live together although they did assemble three times to record their music. They made many attempts to combine classical and popular music genres, but their attempts failed to impress the public.

Skellern became disinterested with the recording industry for a long time, and after eight years out of the business he released his 1995 album, a tribute to an American vocals group, The Ink Spots.

Peter Skellern performed at the BBC Live event in Manchester with musicians from Radio Lancashire. You also may have spotted him playing on ‘Songs of Praise’! He then began to make broadcasts on BBC Radio.

In 1997, Skellern criticised the now new Oasis - the Gallagher brothers - as 'louts' saying: "While it's obvious that they revere the Beatles, the Beatles were bright people and never rude. You didn't see photographs of John Lennon sticking two fingers up at everyone." He went on to say,
"My Oasis never had the same press coverage when I was lead singer - but then again, I'm not Liam Gallagher."

Skellern went on a 60-date tour in 1997, performing with Richard Stilgoe. The tour included the Manchester venues the G-Mex and the Bridgwater Hall. The two performed their last show (or so we thought) in 1999 working on the principal that it is better to quit while your ahead. The tour was entitled ‘A quiet night out’.

In 2000, Skellern once again appeared at The Royal Variety Performance at the Dominion Theatre in London. This time for His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales. He headlined amongst stars such as Dame Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue, Westlife, Ronan Keating, Jane Horrocks and Elaine Page, which were only a handful of the stars that were performing.

Surprising everybody, Peter Skellern returned in 2002 and performed another tour, which proved that his career still has not come to an end 30 years later.

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