CRISPIAN ST PETERS
Crispian St Peters (or Robin Peter Smith, to give his real name) was born in Kent, the apple producing county just beyond the outskirts of London. He has always lived there and even when big success came his way he still lived in his mothers modest house at Swanley. It wasn't until he married two years ago that he moved a mile or two away to a big new house, where he now lives with his wife Collette and daughter Samantha.
Peter, as he is known to family and friends, has played guitar and sung songs since he was a schoolboy. When he left school and started work he began to compose his own songs in his mind, mainly to while away the boredom of the job - packing toilet rolls! After work had ended for the day he would rush home to write down the songs before he forgot them. Years later he recorded some of them on an LP.
Peter tried various other jobs until the time came for him to undergo service in the army. When he arrived at the depot he had his guitar slung over his shoulder and was promptly detailed to form a band to play at the weekly dances in the sergeants' mess. This not only got him off several odious army chores, but afforded a great opportunity to practise and gain experience.
He has little memory of the two years he spent in the army, but laughingly admits that the service failed to make a soldier of him but succeeded in moulding him into a singer and musician eager to get to the top.
On his way back home to Civvy Street he bought a copy of a music newspaper and searched through the 'wanted' advertisements. One particular ad caught his eye. It was for a singer to be discovered and groomed for stardom by a pop record producer. Peter lost little time in making a tape of his singing and sending it off to the box number.
The advertisment had been placed by David Nicolson, a 20 year old assistant in the EMI publicity office, and who was about to leave and launch his own company, Cash Records. David was impressed by the Smith tape and arranged a meeting with its owner, who further impressed David with his quiet manner, but obvious talent for songwriting, to say nothing about his beautiful singing voice.
David tried his hand at making a few records and they were released by Decca, but none was successful. After a year David was out of money, but desperately wanted to have a last try. He had found a song called "You Were On My Mind" in which he had great faith and he persuaded Kenneth Pitt, who was enjoying great success managing the Manfred Mann group, to finance the making of the record. "You Were On My Mind" was a smash hit and the follow up, "Pied Piper", an even greater one reaching number one in the world's charts, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Tasmania, Singapore and most of western Europe. In 1968 Crispian represented Britain at the Malta Song Festival and at the famous Sopot Festival in Poland.
In 1969 Peter retired from the music business to open his own recording studio and look after the hotel he and his wife had bought as an investment. He always said that he would return to recording only if he found a 'darn good piece of material'. He has found it in "RDM - The Ballad of Richard's Drivin' Machine".
DOLPHIN INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTIONS 1972
A publicity agency advertisement to promote RDM in Switzerland.
Courtesy of Kenneth Pitt