Continental American is the third studio album by Peter Allen, released in 1974. The album was his first for A&M Records, and is notable for the inclusion of Allen's version of his co-authored hit for Olivia Newton-John, among others, "I Honestly Love You".
Allen's previous two studio albums, Peter Allen (1971) and Tenterfield Saddler (1972) had been released on Metromedia Records, with modest results. Prior to the release of Continental American, Allen had assumed residency in New York City and had become a regular performer at the Reno Sweeney nightclub, owned and operated by composer Lewis Friedman between 1972 and 1977. A portrait of Allen, taken at Reno Sweeney's, is featured on the back cover of Continental American.
The album was described by critic William Ruhlmann as involving a "retrospective, world-weary concept" and a "mood of desperate nostalgia", concluding that the album was "a dour singer/songwriter collection that used show business clichés in music and words to express a world view of regret and resignation."
Metromedia Records had ceased operations as of 1974, resulting in Allen's earlier albums becoming largely unavailable. He used the Continental American and later A&M releases as an opportunity to reintroduce some of his music. "Just Ask Me I've Been There", was originally recorded on the Tenterfield Saddler album. "Harbour", included on his follow-up Taught by Experts album (1976), was also originally from Tenterfield Saddler.
Peter Allen (born Peter Allen Woolnough; 10 February 1944 – 18 June 1992) was an Australian singer-songwriter and entertainer. His songs were made popular by many recording artists, including Elkie Brooks, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, with one, "Arthur's Theme", winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1981. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed a cabaret and concert career, including appearing at the Radio City Music Hall riding a camel. His song "I Still Call Australia Home", used extensively in advertising campaigns, was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry in 2013.
Allen was the first husband of Liza Minnelli, with the couple divorcing after seven years of marriage; he later came out as gay. He and his long-term partner, Gregory Connell, died from AIDS-related illnesses eight years apart, with Allen becoming one of the first well-known Australians to die from AIDS. Several years after his death, the musical The Boy from Oz was written about his life. It ran on Broadway and earned Hugh Jackman a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
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