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Colleen Hewett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colleen Hewett
Born (1950-04-16) 16 April 1950 (age 71)
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
  • Singer
  • recording artist
  • theatre performer
  • television actress
Years active1962–present

Colleen Hewett (born 16 April 1950) is an Australian theatre and TV actress, and a popular singer and recording artist

Her top 40 singles on the Kent Music Report include "Super Star", "Day by Day" (both 1971), "Carry That Weight" (1972), "Dreaming My Dreams with You" (1980), and "Gigolo" (1981). Her version of "Day by Day" peaked at No. 1 on the Go-Set National Top 40 Singles Chart and was certified as a gold record.

At the TV Week King of Pop Awards she was voted Queen of Pop in both 1972 and 1973.

Apart from being a staple in theatre roles, she is probably best known for her brief tenure as guest character Sheila Brady in the international hit TV series, Prisoner, known internationally as Prisoner: Cell Block H

Early years

Colleen Hewett was born on 16 April 1950 in Bendigo.[1][2][3] She has an older sister, Glenys Hewett, who was a pop vocalist from the early sixties to mid-seventies.[4][5] Hewett began her music career at the age of 12 when she sang with The Esquires at the Bendigo YMCA.[2][6] At about 13 years old she appeared on TV pop music series, The Go!! Show, fifty years later she recalled "I wasn't of an age at that stage where I could go out on tour with anybody [...] I came down from Bendigo with a band I was working with there [...] then I came down again around my 14th birthday and did a solo spot on it ... they were just cover versions. I was just a little singer from Bendigo who came down on the train with the boys and did this amazing show that everybody watched".[7]

From 1964 to 1966 she regularly performed with The Esquires and, in 1967, she joined a vocal trio, The Creations, with her sister, Glenys, and Michelle Kennedy.[2][6][8] That group also backed various solo singers including Billy Adams and then Buddy England, and thereby toured Australia.[2][6] By April that year, with Kennedy, she joined a soul-based group, Dice, which were renamed as Laurie Allen Revue.[4][8][9] Other members were Laurie Allen (ex-Bobby & Laurie) on lead vocals, lead guitar and organ; Harry Henri on guitar (soon replaced by Phil Manning); Barry Rodgers on bass guitar (soon replaced by Wayne Duncan); and Gary Young on drums.[4][8]

In April 1967 Allen had told Go-Set: "I realized just a three piece group couldn't give me the sound I wanted, so I added two girl vocalists, [Hewett] and [Kennedy], they are an act in themselves and combined to give us a distinctive sound which can't be done by any Australian group".[9] As a member of the Laurie Allen Revue, Hewett was recorded on three singles, "Beautiful Brown Eyes" (August 1967), "Any Little Bit" (April 1968) and "As Long as I Got You" (June).[4][6][8] By mid-1968 Hewett had joined Ian Saxon and the Sound, with Saxon on lead vocals; Geoff Oakes on saxophone; Graeme Trottman on drums.[2][6] In 1969 Hewett left the group and was replaced on vocals by Marlene Richards (ex-Ivan Dayman Band) before the group recorded their debut single, "Home Cookin'" (1970).[10][11]

"Day by Day" to Queen of Pop

Hewett started her solo music career in 1970, appearing regularly on TV pop music series, Bandstand.[2] Her popularity with viewers resulted in her winning Best Newcomer Female Singer at the Bandstand Awards in December.[12] She signed with Festival Records and her debut single, which was a cover version of Delaney and Bonnie's track, "Super Star" was released in June 1971.[2] It reached No. 30 on the Go-Set National Top 40 Singles chart.[13]

From 15 November 1971 to 22 July 1972 Hewett acted in the Australian musical theatre version of Godspell, at the Playbox Theatre, Melbourne.[14][15] She recorded two versions of the show's tune, "Day by Day". The first on Godspell – Original Australian Cast had Johnny Young producing the cast album, which appeared in March 1972.[6] The second version was produced by Ian "Molly" Meldrum and was issued as her second single, in November 1971.[2] It peaked at No. 1 on the Go-Set charts and was certified as a gold record with shipment of over 50,000 copies.[2][13][15] In April 1972 Hewett was the featured artist on a half-hour TV special performing "Day by Day", "By My Side", "Hey Jude" and "Jesus Christ Superstar".[16]

After leaving Godspell, Hewett toured Australia performing in clubs and during TV appearances.[15] Her debut self-titled album appeared in October 1972 and provided her next single, "Carry That Weight" – a cover of The Beatles track – which reached No. 29.[2][13] She toured the United States and United Kingdom at the end of the year.[2] At the TV Week King of Pop Awards she was voted Queen of Pop in both 1972 and 1973.[2][17]

In January 1974, it was announced that Hewett had been signed to Atlantic Records. She released her second studio album M'Lady in June 1974. She travelled to the USA in 1975, after her contract with Pippin expired. In the US Colleen found it difficult to make progress and eventually returned to Australia in May 1977. In September 1977, Colleen was chosen for a lead role in a new ABC-TV series called The Truckies

In late 1979 she issued "Dreaming My Dreams with You" – originally by Waylon Jennings – which reached No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[2][18] It was produced by Roger Savage and Robie G. Porter for Wizard Records.[2][19] In November that year she performed "Day by Day" at the Mushroom Records-sponsored, The Concert of the Decade, which appeared on the Various Artists' album of the same name in January the following year. Her version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" was released in February 1983, which did not reach the top 50.[2][18] During the federal election campaign from February to March that year, Hewett provided lead vocals for the Liberal Party's theme song, "We're not Waiting for the World".[20]

Stage, theatre and television

On 31 March and 1 April 1973 Colleen Hewett had the role of The Mother (Mrs Walker) in the local version of The Who's rock opera Tommy.[21] The other Australian artists were Daryl Braithwaite (as Tommy), Bobby Bright, Linda George, Jim Keays, Ian Meldrum (as "Uncle Ernie" in Sydney) Doug Parkinson, Wendy Saddington, Broderick Smith, Billy Thorpe, and Ross Wilson.[21] Hewett's other musical theatre credits include Pippin (February 1973, August 1974).[14] Hewett's role was Catherine who is described as "a wealthy, pretty widow with a young son".[22] While performing in Pippin, she and her co-star John Farnham (title role) also hosted a TV variety show, It's Magic, moving between the studio during the day and the theatre at night.[6]

From the 1970s to the early 1990s, Hewett was also acting in TV dramas: Matlock Police (1973), Homicide (1974–76), The Truckies (1977–78),[2] Carson's Law, Division 4, Young Ramsay (1977), Cop Shop, Prisoner (1984–85) and The Flying Doctors (1991).

Later work

Hewett was a guest vocalist with The Incredible Penguins in 1985 for a cover of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", a charity project for research on little penguins, which peaked at No. 10 on the Australian Kent Music Report in December.[18][23]

In January 1992 she appeared in the theatre version of Return to the Forbidden Planet.[14] In the 1990s she was working at radio station, Gold-FM.[2]

From 3 August to 14 September 2006 she played Marion Woolnough, the mother of Peter Allen, in the Australian tour of The Boy From Oz headlined by Hugh Jackman.[14] She also had a role as Matron "Mama" Morton in the musical Chicago with Caroline O'Connor and Craig McLachlan. In 2008, she played Johnny O'Keefe's mum in Shout! The Legend of The Wild One. In the 2011 movie The Cup she plays Pat Oliver, the mother of jockeys Jason and Damien Oliver.

In May 2015, Hewitt released her first album in 14 years, titled Black & White. The album included the first single "Shut Up and Let Me Breathe" which is about domestic violence. The album debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Jazz and Blues Chart.[24]

Personal life

Colleen Hewett married Danny Finley (ex-MPD Ltd drummer) in 1970, he was also her manager and agent during the 1970s and 1980s.[25] From 1978 Finley also managed John Farnham; in mid-1979 Hewett, Finley and Farnham were partners in a restaurant, Backstage in Melbourne.[26][27] Farnham described the venture "[they] were putting their names on the line for a product they had complete trust in. They would have complete control of the restaurant, but would leave the menu management to the master chef".[27] However the venture was "ill-fated" and became a "near disaster" financially.[28] In October 1980 Finley assisted Johnny Young on his Young Talent Time and related TV ventures.[29] Hewett and Finley divorced. She later recalled "I suppose you expect there to be something terrible or a nasty fight, but there wasn't ... I pulled the pin".[25] Finley subsequently became her manager again.[25][30]

Hewett was married a second time, and then divorced; her second husband (to whom she referred to as "the Frenchman") had died by 2013.[25][31][32] For her third marriage, in 2002 to Ian Aiken, a former Australian businessman: they generally lived in Fiji.[31] In early 2006, Aiken left Hewett and they subsequently divorced with Aiken remarrying his former wife of 30 years, Eva Aiken;[31] Aiken died in Fiji in early 2008.[30]

Hewett is the great-granddaughter of Edward Rollins, an Australian middleweight boxer who ran away from his native Guyana in the 1860s and first arrived in Australia via Britain in 1881. Her grandmother on her maternal side is of African American descent.[32][33]

As of 2000 Hewett has been in semi-retirement, spending time in Melbourne, Bendigo, and Fiji, with family and friends.[citation needed]



List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Colleen Hewett 28
Greatest Hits
  • Released: May 1974
  • Format: LP
  • Label: Festival Records
M'Lady 44
  • Released: May 1983
  • Format: LP
  • Label: Avenue Records
Power of Love
  • Released: June 1986
  • Format: LP
  • Label: J&B Records
Tenterfield Dreams: The Musical Journey of Peter Allen
  • Released: July 1997
  • Format: CD
  • Label: MRA Records
  • Released: December 2001
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Colossal Records
Black & White
  • Released: 22 May 2015
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Bilarm Music Pty Ltd
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.
with Various Artists
  • March 1972, Godspell – Original Australian Cast (Festival Records) (Australia #18)
  • July 1974, Pippin – Original Australian Cast (EMI) (Australia #60)


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1971 "Super Star" 30 32 Colleen Hewett
"Day by Day" (with Boys of the St Paul's Cathedral Choir) 1 2
1972 "Carry That Weight" 29 29
1973 "Waltzing Matilda" 80
"A Wish to Wish"
"Sit Yourself Down" 94 Greatest Hits
1974 "Pippin (Finale)" Pippin – Original Australian Cast
"I Believe When I Fall in Love" 51 M'Lady
"If You Could Read My Mind"
1979 "Dreaming My Dreams with You" 2 'Non-album single'
1981 "Gigolo" 28
1982 "Hearts" Colleen
1983 "The Wind Beneath My Wings" 52
"I Hope I Never"
1984 "If You Ever Feel the Need" 72 'Non-album single'
1996 "Street Angel" Tenterfield Dreams: The Musical Journey of Peter Allen
2000 "Reconciliation" Bulamama
2015 "Shut Up and Let Me Breathe" Black & White
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.

Awards and nominations

Go-Set Pop Poll

The Go-Set Pop Poll was coordinated by teen-oriented pop music newspaper, Go-Set and was established in February 1966 and conducted an annual poll during 1966 to 1972 of its readers to determine the most popular personalities.[35]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1970 herself Girl Vocal 3rd
1971 herself Best Girl Vocal 3rd
1972 herself Best Female 3rd

King of Pop Awards

The King of Pop Awards were voted by the readers of TV Week. The King of Pop award started in 1967 and ran through to 1978.[35]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1972 herself Queen of Pop Won
1973 herself Queen of Pop Won

TV Week / Countdown Awards

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974–1987, it presented music awards from 1979–1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week. The TV Week / Countdown Awards were a combination of popular-voted and peer-voted awards.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1979 herself Most Popular Female Performer Nominated


  • Australian version of The Boy From Oz program
  • Kimball, Duncan. "MilesAgo – Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975". Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-86508-072-7. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2014. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • Spencer, Chris; Nowara, Zbig; McHenry, Paul (2002) [1987]. The Who's Who of Australian Rock. notes by Ed Nimmervoll. Noble Park, Victoria: Five Mile Press. ISBN 978-1-86503-891-9.
  1. ^ Schluter, Kevin (24 February 1982). "You Wanted to Know with Kevin Schluter". The Australian Women's Weekly. p. 129. Retrieved 25 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q McFarlane, ""Colleen Hewett" entry". Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Archived from the original Archived 18 May 2003 at the Wayback Machine on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  3. ^ "'Coming Up Again' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 25 January 2014. Note: User may have to click 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:' e.g Coming Up Again; or at 'Performer:' Colleen Hewett, or Colleen Hewitt
  4. ^ a b c d Kimball, "Laurie Allen / Laurie Allen & The Revue". Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  5. ^ Kimball, and Casey, Bill, "Record Labels – RCA Records". Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kimball, "Colleen Hewett". Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  7. ^ McDonald, Patrick (26 July 2013). "Colleen Hewett Comes Full Circle". The Advertiser. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d McFarlane, "Bobby and Laurie" entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 April 2004). Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Percival, Bonnie (21 August 2007). "Laurie Allen's Career Diary". Bonnie's Laurie Allen Tribute (Bonnie Percival). Archived from the original on 14 September 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  10. ^ Spencer et al, "Ian Saxon and the Sound" entry.
  11. ^ "Marlene Richards". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Bandstand Awards for 1970". The Australian Women's Weekly. 16 December 1970. p. 13. Retrieved 25 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia. Note: last name given as Hewitt.
  13. ^ a b c d Go-Set published its national charts from October 1966 until August 1974:
  14. ^ a b c d "Contributor: Colleen Hewett". AusStage. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "'Day by Day' Colleen Settles on New Plans". The Age. 20 July 1972. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  16. ^ "'Science Fact' Dangers to the Human Race". The Canberra Times. 17 April 1972. p. 15. Retrieved 28 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Jeff; Meldrum, Ian (2007). Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1.
  18. ^ a b c d e Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5. Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1993, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Allen (1976), Dreaming My Dreams with You, Image Music Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne: Allans Music Australia Pty. Ltd. [distributor], retrieved 28 January 2014
  20. ^ Mannix, Teresa (7 March 1983). "Fraser Back to Clear out Office". The Canberra Times. p. 3. Retrieved 29 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ a b Kimball, "Tommy Australian concert production, 1973". Archived from the original Archived 8 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Charlemagne Goes Pop". The Australian Women's Weekly. 27 March 1974. p. 2. Retrieved 28 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  23. ^ Spencer et al, "Incredible Penguins" entry.
  24. ^ "Colleen Hewett Black & White Debuts At No 1 On Australian Jazz Chart". noise11. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  25. ^ a b c d Marshall, Konrad (10 August 2013). "Two of Us". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  26. ^ "Backstage Offstage". The Canberra Times. 27 June 1979. p. 25. Retrieved 28 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  27. ^ a b Morris, Joan (22 July 1979). "A Bird's Eye View: More Australian Sales to World TV Market". The Canberra Times. p. 19. Retrieved 28 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  28. ^ Kimball, "John Farnham". Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  29. ^ Smith, Pete (8 October 1980). "Pete Smith". The Australian Women's Weekly. p. 30 Supplement: Free Your TV Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  30. ^ a b Elder, John (16 March 2008). "Death in Fiji: the daughter, the wife, the actress and the sunflower man". The Age. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  31. ^ a b c Williams, Glen (14 January 2008). "Colleen: I'm in Love with Life Again". Woman's Day. 60 (2): 34.
  32. ^ a b The Herald Sun, 29 November 2014 – Colleen Hewett reveals she is a victim of domestic violence - Andrew Rule
  33. ^ Boxrec Boxing Encyclopaedia – Edward Starlight Rollins
  34. ^ Australian Kent Music Report online entries for Colleen Hewett:
  35. ^ a b "Australian Music Awards". Ron Jeff. Retrieved 16 December 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 December 2021, at 22:48
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