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Normie Rowe

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Normie Rowe AM (born Norman John Rowe on 1 February 1947) was the preeminent male solo star of Australian pop music in the 1960s. Known for his bright, edgy tenor voice and dynamic stage presence, many of Rowe’s most successful recordings were produced by Pat Aulton, house producer for the Sunshine Records, Spin Records and Festival Records labels. Backed by his band The Playboys, Rowe released a string of Australian pop hits on the Sunshine Records label that kept him at the top of Australian charts and made him the most popular solo performer of the mid-1960s. Rowe’s double-sided hit “Que Sera Sera” / “Shakin’ All Over” was one of the most successful Australian singles of the 1960s.

Between 1965 and 1967 Normie was Australia’s most popular male star but his career was cut short when he was drafted for compulsory military service in late 1967. Rowe’s subsequent tour of duty in Vietnam effectively ended his pop career, and he was never able to recapture the success he enjoyed at his peak.

Normie’s first single, released in April 1965, was a brooding ‘beat’ arrangement of Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (from Porgy & Bess) a choice suggested by Stan Rofe. It was a Top Ten hit in most capitals (#6 Sydney, #1 Melbourne, #3 Brisbane, #5 Adelaide)[1] , even though Sydney pop station 2SM (then owned by the Catholic Church) banned it because of its supposedly sacrilegious lyrics.

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