PETER SULLIVAN

1958

He discovered Johnny Kidd and the Pirates who, according to Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, were one of first hard-rocking bands England produced before 1962 and were a prototype for the heavy-metal guitar trios it predated by nearly a decade.

1965

He reached international success when he discovered Tom Jones and produced the megahit It's Not Usual. That initial success was followed by other hits such as Green, Green Grass of Home, What's New Pussycat, Delilah, She's a Lady and many others.

1967

Peter Sullivan was recognized as an expert in his field, when the leading British music paper The Record Retailer gave him the honor of awarding him Top Singles Producer. The following year, 1968, he was once again voted the Top Singles Producer. 

Early Career

As a teenager in London, Peter played the drums with several jazz groups. That scene along with his passion for music led him to seek a job in music publishing.

His initial role as a song promoter exposed him to the complex world of promotion, teaching him the fundamentals of that industry.

This gave him hands-on experience on all aspects of the entertainment world: records, radio, television, advertising, commercials, and the theater. His success culminated in him being promoted to head of promotion for EMI Records’ HMV label.

After five successful years he pursued a position in the Artist & Repertoire (A&R) division of HMV, becoming the assistant producer to the head of the label.

Milestones

The Pirates’ initial recording of Please Don’t Touch charted at 25, but was followed by Shaking All Over, which became a huge hit in the UK and Europe. The popularity of the record was so great that bands including The Who recorded covers of the song, giving it international recognition.

A statement made by Keith Richards in Rolling Stone magazine said that the only record that influenced him more than any other, and before the Rolling Stones formed, was Johnny Kidd’s Shaking All Over. It also greatly influenced most of the British rock bands that followed.

Among other artists he discovered and produced were Carol Deene. Kenny Lynch which he produced his cover of Goffin and King’s “Up on the roof .”. Both these artists had record charting hits.

In 1963, he was offered the position of Senior Staff Producer at Decca Records. His first record for that label was with Kathy Kirby, an English singer who became a recognizable personality in British show business. He was instrumental in elevating her singing career with the revolutionary treatment of the Doris Day hit, Secret Love.

He subsequently produced five major top 10 hits with Kathy Kirby including, Dance On, Let Me Go Lover, You’re The One and I Belong. This latter record became the English entry for song of the year at the Eurovision Song Contest

Through the strength of these records she went on to became a major star with two T.V shows, one with the BBC and the other with ATV. These shows ran on a weekly basis for one year and included major guest artists from America and Europe.

On a visit to Scotland, Peter judged a talent contest and heard of a 15- year-old singer who was unable to enter the contest. Intrigued by the talk of her talent, he went to see her perform at a local club and was blown away. Although Lulu and was small and slight, she had an amazing voice. He recorded a song with her called Shout which became a top 5 hit and followed that hit with Leave a Little Love and To Sir With Love.

Other hits produced include: Engelbert Humperdinck’s Release Me, There Goes My Everything, The Last Waltz, Am I That Easy To Forget, A Man Without Love, Les Bicyclettes De Belsize; Solomon King’s She Wears My Ring; Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, Saved By The Bell; and St. Louis Union: Girl.

60

Years in the Industry

After more than 60 years in the industry, Peter Sullivan has gathered a large collection of experience and knowledge.

30

Songs on the Charts

With over 30 hits, Peter Sullivan has produced songs that consistently topped the charts.

7

Record Labels

Peter Sullivan has worked with a variety of record labels over the years, including 2 that he helped to start!

AIR

In the mid-sixties, Sir George Martin, the Beatles record producer, approached Peter with a proposition to form an independent record production company.

Alongside two other expert producers, Ron Richards and John Burgess, they formed AIR (Associated Independent Records), which became the most successful independent recording and producing company in the UK.

Incidentally, Peter's record of Engelbert Humperdinck singing Release Me was the only record ever to prevent the Beatles' Penny Lane from reaching the #1 position on the Billboard charts.

Apart from the Beatles, AIR’s roster included:

  • Tom Jones
  • Kathy Kirby
  • Lulu
  • The Hollies
  • Manfred Man
  • Freddie and the Dreamers
  • Jerry and the Pacemakers
  • Adam Faith
  • P.J. Proby
  • Billy J Kramer
  • Cilla Black
  • The Formost

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