Saturday, 23 January 2016
Si Senor (I Theenk)/Swan River Twist)/Teardrop/Peter Gunn
Robert George Porter was born in 1942 and raised in Ashfield, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney. He reluctantly took steel guitar lessons from the age of eight - he wanted to play football instead. Sydney TV show Bandstand featured hits from the UK and US played by Australian artists. As Rob E.G., Porter made his TV debut in 1959 performing the lap steel guitar instrumental "Sleep Walk" (originally by Santo & Johnny); he was soon signed to Rex Records and became a Bandstand regular.
His first single, "Your Cheatin' Heart", a cover of the Hank Williams hit, appeared in February 1960. In 1961, Porter received severe spinal injuries in a car accident, he adapted his playing style and continued to record. Top ten hits in Sydney include, instrumentals "Si Senor (I Theenk)" which peaked at #1 in May 1962, "Jezabel" at #2 in May 1963, and "55 Days at Peking" at #1 in July; and the vocal single "When You're Not Near" at #7 in August 1964.
Although not as popular in Melbourne, these four singles also peaked into the top ten. On the advice of The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, Porter moved to the UK in 1964 where he wrote and recorded singles for Festival Records but had no chart success. During 1967 he moved to the USA and appeared in several television shows: Malibu U, Popendity, Daniel Boone, Mannix and The Immortal. In 1969 Porter co-starred in the movie Three.
In 1970, Porter was back in Australia where he purchased a controlling share of independent record label, Sparmac. He recorded three of his own singles for Sparmac before focusing on managingand promoting bands and producing records. Porter produced three of doo wop rock band Daddy Cool's LPs including their debut 1971 album, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, which peaked at #1 and became the highest selling Australian album at the time.
Other Sparmac artists included Rick Springfield and Healing Force. In 1973 Porter started a new label, Wizard in partnership with Steve Binder, with Daddy Cool and Springfield the new label also signed Hush, Mighty Kong and Marcia Hines. Porter and Binder also managed Springfield and introduced him to the US market. He co-wrote the song "Shining" with Jill Wagner-Porter, which was recorded by Marcia Hines on her 1976 LP album Shining, and also wrote "Empty" and "A Love Story" on the that album. In the 1980s, Porter produced albums for Air Supply, Tommy Emmanuel and The Nauts. He returned to the US to live and worked in television production and as a horse breeder. During 2006 Porter formed another record label named, Musique, with flautist Jane Rutter.