Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Peter Harvey

Whatever happened to Peter Harvey? He was a vocalist from Splott, Cardiff, who released a handful of singles between 1962-64 on the Columbia record label. Harvey's is an unusual story. At the age of 3 he fell off a milk cart and broke a hip. Due to complications he would be hospitalised for 9 years. His left leg was shorter than his right and later in life he would have to wear a built up shoe. In hospital he learned to play the harmonica.

Harvey grew up to be a genial fellow and had a fine singing voice. By day he was a draughtsman for Glamorgan County Council but at night he was a singer in a nightclub. He was spotted by musical entrepreneur Norrie Paramour who in 1962 invited him to London to cut a disc. At the time Harvey said that he didn't want any sympathy or to make capital from having a damaged leg.

Retrospectively it seems likely, though, that he was being exploited precisely for being lame. He was a singer with a limp and it was used as a kind of gimmick. His record company/management made him sing melancholy songs. His singles were: Rainin' In My Heart / Please Don't Tell Joe (1962); Wishing You The Best Of Luck My Friend / Lovin' Can Be Lonesome (1963); Heart Of Ice / Trace Of A Heartache (1964); Big Man In A Big House / Date With Heartache (1964).

I've not heard any of these tunes but apparently he had a Pat Boone-like voice and the numbers had orchestral backing. Unfortunately, none of his singles would go on to become hits though Trace Of A Heartache did sell over 5,000 copies. Any further info on Peter Harvey would be much appreciated.

A member of Peter Harvey’s family was kind enough to contact me to update the story. Peter, I’m pleased to say, is alive and well and still living in south Wales. His career came to an end when he made the decision to focus all of his attention on bringing up his young family – touring and parenthood not being particularly compatible. It must be stated that although he suffered from a minor disability Peter Harvey resisted all unscrupulous attempts at exploitation, even to the extent of turning down an offer of work in America. I’d very much like to thank Debra Harvey for providing this additional information.