Clipping 5
It's a very well-worn cliché in show biz that an artist particularly a male solo singer - must have an "image" - whatever that may be.
After just three weeks, high in the Pop 50, Crispian St Peters' image seems to be taking shape as a pint sized Proby, a controversial swiper at the hallowed stars - to the dismay and indignation of that stars fans.
But Crispian - Peter Smith, as he's really called - doesn't see it that way. he claims that any controversy that has bubbled up over his statements is purely incidental and is not designed to build him an image.
"I've never tried to be deliberately controversial," he said relaxing on a divan in his dressing room at Top Of The Pops, his third in a row. "But when I'm asked my opinion, I give it , what else can I do? I'm not knocking the journalists. They did their jobs very well and of course the publicity is very valuable, but some people think stars shouldn't be criticised and people shouldn't have opinions about them. For instance, I said that some of the Beatles songs were excellent, some were mediocre. I believe that's true. I also think that my songs are better than theirs. They would obviously think differently. But that's my opinion. I'm not just saying controversial things for the sake of them. I think it would do my career a lot of damage, particularly at this crucial stage, to go around knocking everyone along the line. People would soon get fed up of that. But you can't expect me to change my opinions just because they might upset a few people."
With "You Were On My Mind" a racing hit - "it's done far better than I ever expected" - Crispian is rushing everywhere doing one-nighters, TV shows and all the vast volume of appearances, interviews, photo sessions, etc. that follow hard on the heels of a hit.
"Since it happened," he said, in his quiet voice with it's underlying humour, "I've been terrifically aware that the hard training I've had is helping me. I'm thankful I've had plenty of experience. I've played rough pubs, poor clubs and worse ballrooms - and though it wasn't always pleasant at the time, I'm feeling the benefit now. I've proved I can entertain the kids, but I can also entertain old people if I have to. Now I'm knocking up a bit of money, I'm making sure I get plenty of food. I'm a five meals a day man now."
As a solo singer, did Crispian have any objections to miming on TV? Or did he always prefer singing live? "I don't mind. Either suits me. They're both easy as far as I'm concerned. When I'm miming I usually sing a different harmony to the record and doing a live show isn't very difficult. If you make records, it should be taken for granted you can sing anyway.
Obviously, though, if it were a long spot on TV I'd prefer to do it live, because you can move better and get more emotion into it. But for a one song pop show, I don't mind."
Crispian is certainly the first solo star breakthrough of 1966 and wants to consolidate his career here in Britain with a view to expanding later into the continental and American scenes. "I'd like to make it in the States," he said. "One of the things I'd really like to do is play a gunslinger in an American TV western. That's always been one of my ambitions."
Crispian is honest enough to realise that the life of a pop singer is often - though not always - short. How long did he give himself - and what of the future? "I'd say about two years in the pop field and perhaps another five in cabaret," he said. After that? "Song writing, I think. I realise that I'll have to step aside some day. I'd like to concentrate on writing songs when that day comes.
                         'Melody Maker'  12/2/66

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