Crispian St. Peters, Singer of the Hit ‘Pied Piper,’ Dies at 71

June 11, 2010


SOURCE:  NY TIMES

Published June 10, 2010

By DENNIS HEVESI

Crispian St. Peters, a British pop singer of the ’60s best known for his buoyant hit “Pied Piper” and his soulful version of “You Were on My Mind,” died on Tuesday at his home in Swanley, Kent, England. He was 71.

His death was confirmed by Chris Ashman, chief executive of Red Admiral Records, whose Cringe Music subsidiary was Mr. St. Peters’s publisher in recent years. Although his voice had withered after a major stroke in 1995, Mr. St. Peters continued to write songs.

Forty-five years ago, his lilting, high-toned voice drew audiences and record buyers with his cover of “You Were on My Mind.” Written by Sylvia Tyson, it hit the Top 10 in Britain, as did a version by the We Five in the United States.

In 1966, Mr. St. Peters recorded “Pied Piper,” which reached No. 1 in Canada and the Top 10 in Britain and the United States. Written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, it contains the memorable chorus “Hey, c’mon babe, follow me,/I’m the Pied Piper, follow me.”

“It’s one of those happy songs that keeps going through your head,” Mr. Ashman said.

Robin Peter Smith (Crispian St. Peters was his stage name) was born in Swanley on April 5, 1939, a son of Gerald and Phyllis Smith. He began playing guitar as a boy and gave his first performance at 17.

For nearly 30 years, Mr. St. Peters performed all over the world with a string of bands, while writing more than 200 songs. Although disabled, he gave his last performance in 1999.

Mr. St. Peters’s marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by a daughter, Samantha; a son, Lee; and a grandson.

I recall this song vividly as a part of my youth that makes me smile. Thank you Mr. St. Petters. RIP.

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