“Tenterfield Saddler” by Peter Allen
“Tenterfield Saddler” serves as a brief biography of the last three generations of Peter Allen’s lineage, i.e. the first verse being about grandfather, the second his father and the last himself.
It is his granddad, one George Woolnough (1884-1963), whom this track is named after. That is to say that he is the “Tenterfield Saddler”, someone who was prominent enough in his profession that he has his own Wikipedia page. And as for his personality, he is depicted as man who “lived without sin” and is worthy of being memorialized in the minds of the locals, with Tenterfield being a town in Australia, to this day.
Peter Allen’s dad, whose life highlights the second verse, wasn’t as fortunate. He was involved in World War II and came home messed up as a result. As the story goes, he eventually committed suicide. And interestingly this is the most-vague verse, but it does conclude by implying that George Woolnough went on to outlive his son and was distraught by his untimely death.
Then as for Peter himself, he goes on to reveal that he’s akin to a globetrotting nomad and doesn’t particularly feel any type of special kinship with his dad or granddad. Or as he further infers, the best he could do for them at this point is drop this song. But obviously he does venerate the “Tenterfield Saddler” to not only name this track after him but also release it as a single.
Peter Allen (1944-1992), the late Australian musician, achieved more notable success as a songwriter (for other musicians) than through works her personally headlined. For instance, his personal rendition of a song he co-wrote titled “I Honestly Love You” (1974) didn’t make any noise, but Olivia Newton-John’s concurrent version of the same tune was a chart topper that won a couple of Grammys.
But Allen did score one semi-solid hit of his own with 1976’s “I Go to Rio”, which topped the Kent Music Report.
When was “Tenterfield Saddler” released?
“Tenterfield Saddler” happens to be one of Allen’s earlier works. It was released in April of 1972 through A&M Records as the title track of his second album. And to note this song did get around to charting, in Australia, in 2015.
Some More Noteworthy Things
This song was written by Peter Allen, who also co-produced it with Brooks Arthur. Olivia Newton-John, in 2002, laid down her own rendition of “Tenterfield Saddler” also.
The multi-talented Hugh Jackman also covered this song for the musical The Boy from Oz in 2003.
Peter Allen gives a roundabout shoutout to EGOT winner Liza Minnelli, who he was actually married to at the time this song dropped.
To note, Allen’s birth name was actually Peter Woolnough. He took on the name “Peter Allen” in 1959 as at the time, he was part of a musical duo known as The Allen Brothers.