b. Donald Rhys Hubert Peers, 9 August 1909, Ammanford, Dyfed, Wales, d. 9 August 1973, Brighton, England. An extremely popular singer during the late 40s and early 50s in the UK, especially with female audiences who swooned and screamed à la American bobbysoxers. His father, a Welsh colliery worker, was a prominent member of the Plymouth Brethren, and would never go inside a theatre to see and hear his son at work. Peers was to have been a schoolteacher, but ran away and became a house painter, a steward on a British tanker vessel, and a singer with a seaside concert party. He made his first broadcast in 1927 with the popular comedy duo Clapham And Dwyer, and continued to have success in the medium. In 1940 he enlisted in the Armed Forces, and was invalided out on D-Day, 1944. In the same year he recorded ‘In A Shady Nook (By A Babbling Brook)’, written by Edward G. Nelson and Harry Pease in 1927, and it became his life-long theme. Other 40s recordings included ‘I Can’t Begin To Tell You’, ‘Bow Bells’, ‘Far Away Places’, ‘On The 5.45’ (a vocal version of ‘Twelfth Street Rag’, with a lyric by Andy Razaf), ‘Powder Your Face With Sunshine’ (one of his biggest successes), ‘Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)’, ‘A Strawberry Moon (In A Blueberry Sky)’, ‘Everywhere You Go’, ‘Clancy Lowered The Boom’, ‘It Happened In Adano’, ‘A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds’, ‘I’ll String Along With You’ and ‘Down In The Glen’. He toured the UK Variety circuit and spent lucrative summer seasons at top locations such as Blackpool, and in 1949 presented his one-man show at the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium. He also had his own radio show Cavalier Of Song, a television series Donald Peers, and he made several films including Sing Along With Me.
Peers’ record success was sustained through the early 50s with songs such as ‘The Last Mile Home’, ‘Dear Hearts And Gentle People’, ‘Out Of A Clear Blue Sky’, ‘Music! Music! Music!’, ‘If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake’, ‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think’)’, ‘Dearie’, ‘I Remember The Cornfields’, ‘Beloved, Be Faithful’, ‘Me And My Imagination’, ‘Mistakes’, ‘In A Golden Coach’ (a celebratory number for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II), ‘Is It Any Wonder’ and ‘Changing Partners’. In the late 50s he worked often in South Africa, Australia and India, and on his return to the UK, had to rebuild his career via the northern club circuit which had taken over from the music halls. He had a Top 10 chart entry in 1968 with ‘Please Don’t Go’, written by comedian Jackie Rae and Les Reed. In 1972 Peers returned to the stage after overcoming a severe back injury sustained in Australia, and had his last chart entry with the aptly titled ‘Give Me One More Chance’.