Colleen Hewett’s Interesting Journey
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 23 March 2021
Colleen Hewett was born on April 16 1950 in Bendigo, Victoria and like her sister Glenys went into a singing career at a young age.
The Esquires were the first band she performed with when she was twelve and they performed down at the YMCA in Bendigo, Colleen stayed with The Esquires until 1966.
While with The Esquires, Colleen performed on The Go!! Show which was one of Australia’s best music programs on TV at the time.
Colleen joined The Creations in 1967 with her sister and Michelle Kennedy backing up the likes of Billy Adams and Buddy England but Colleen and Michelle didn’t stay in the group long as they moved on join Dice in April 1967.
Dice (later called the Laurie Allen Revue) had plenty of talent as Laurie Allen, Harry Henri, Barry Rodgers and Gary Young made up the original group with the likes of Phil Manning and Wayne Duncan joining later.
Gary Young and Wayne Duncan later became members of Daddy Cool and Phil Manning later became a member of Chain, both of those bands are well remembered today for their hits like “Eagle Rock” (Daddy Cool) and “I Remember When I Was Young” (Chain).
Colleen recorded three singles with Dice/Laurie Allen Revue, Colleen before moving on to the group Ian Saxon and the Sound in mid 1968 but she had left the group in 1969 before they had recorded their debut single.
A new decade brought a new change for Colleen as she went solo in 1970 and made appearances on Bandstand, she was so popular on the show that she won Best Newcomer Female Singer at the Bandstand Awards in December that year.
Bigger things were to come in 1971, her debut single “Superstar” peaked at No. 30 and No. 32 on the Go-Set and Kent Music Report respectively.
Her second single was “Day by Day” and it rocketed up the charts after its release in November to become No. 1 on the Go-Set chart and No. 2 on the Kent Music Report chart and is perhaps her best remembered song.
Fans of The Simpsons may recognize “Day by Day” as Homer sang his own version of the song in the episode where Homer is doing all the jobs Ned Flanders done at Church.
Back to the music and Colleen’s third single and her only single for 1972 was a cover of “Carry That Weight” by The Beatles and just snuck into the Top 30 as it achieved a peak of No. 29 on both of Australia’s popular charts.
The readers of TV Week voted for Colleen to be the new Queen of Pop in 1972 replacing Allison Durbin who had long reigned as the Queen.
Colleen’s debut album “Colleen Hewett” was released in October 1972; it peaked at No.28 and featured twelve songs including the hits “Superstar” and “Day by Day”, the album “Godspell – Original Australian Cast” was also released in 1972 and peaked at No. 18
1973 saw the release of three singles “Waltzing Matilda”, “A Wish to Wish” and “Sit Yourself Down” with “Waltzing Matilda” doing the best of the three with a peak position of No. 80
It was back to back Queen of Pop honours for Colleen in 1973, she would make way for Debra Byrne to have a two year stay as Queen of Pop in 1974.
Festival Records released a Greatest Hits album in 1974 even though Colleen packed her bags for Atlantic Records and she had recorded only one album and a stack of singles with Festival, the album came out in May and her first album with Atlantic “M’Lady” came out in June.
”M’Lady” peaked at No. 44 and it was her last album until “Colleen” in 1984 and she wouldn’t release another single until 1979, the singles “Pippin (Finale)”, “I Believe When I Fall In Love” and “If You Could Read My Mind” were also released in 1974 with “I Believe When I Fall In Love” peaking the best at No. 51.
”Pippin – Original Australian Cast” was also released in 1974 and peaked at No. 60 on the charts.
After a couple of years appearing on multiple TV shows, Colleen was back in 1979 with “Dreaming My Dreams With You” and for music lovers this song was in their dreams and soon in their collection as the song peaked at No. 2, her best single on the charts since “Day by Day”.
“Gigolo” was released in 1981 and peaked at No. 28 before a single was released in 1982 two singles were released in 1983 including “Wind Beneath My Wings”.
Believe it or not, this song later made famous by Bette Midler and was offered to Kamahl and while he recorded it, it was not commercially released and while Colleen was not the first person to release the song, her version was the first one released as a single and the first version to chart when it reached No. 52 on the charts.
The 1984 release of “If You Ever Feel the Need” was Colleen’s tenth and final single to chart in a period between 1971 and 1984 ranging from No. 1 to No. 94 but it wouldn’t be the last we would see Colleen on any chart.
The album “Tenterfield Dreams: The Musical Journey of Peter Allen” was released in July 1997 and peaked at No. 67 giving Colleen her first charting song since “If You Ever Feel the Need” after its release in 1984.
Colleen appeared on RocKwiz in 2014 singing “Superstar” and “United We Stand”, Colleen has appeared on many TV shows from Good Morning Australia to Studio 10 over the decades delivering entertainment to the masses and more.
Colleen scored a No. 1 album in 2015 when “Black & White” topped the ARIA Jazz & Blues chart; this triumph came forty-four years after “Day by Day” topped the Go-Set chart in 1971.
Hopefully this story tells you something about Colleen Hewett so give the videos a watch and listen to her voice, perhaps you’ll become a fan or at the very least learn something new which is what this column is all about.