Graeme Allwright Profile

Sam Coley
Published: 13 Jun 2019
Updated: 17 Feb 2020

Nineteen sixty-eight was the year of revolution. Around the world, a generation of young protesters rallied against capitalism, consumerism and tired post-war institutions of government. In America, the soundtrack to this insurrection came from San Francisco’s “flower power” movement, while in the UK, the Beatles sang about revolution on the “White” album. But in France, student rioters were singing along to the protest songs of Graeme Allwright: a New Zealander whose music provided anthems for the French left-wing counter-culture.

Although Graeme Allwright may not be a household name in his homeland, his songs have become part of French culture, sung by all ages and respected for their messages of peace. Allwright was one of the first to introduce France to American folk music, including the protest songs of artists such as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie; in the late 1960s he became well-known for his adaptations of songs by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The sleeve notes to his self-titled 1966 album describe Allwright as “a beatnik without a uniform,” likening him to a Kerouac hero. Allwright’s restlessness and passion for travel took him on a long journey towards his eventual success as a musician, and fuelled his wanderlust later in life.

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Graeme Allwright - Les retrouvailles (Il faut que je m'en aille)
Graeme Allwright: an image from his 1975 album 'De Passage' on Mercury (France). Included was a version of the well-known anti-war song 'Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream', written by Ed McCurdy in 1950. 
Graeme Allwright's double-LP 1975 compilation on the Impact label, L'étranger. 
Graeme Allwright - Il faut que je m'en aille (1967)
Graeme Allwright - Qui a tué Davy Moore ? (1967)
Graeme Allwright: an image used for his 'En Concert' live CD, c. 1993. 
Graeme Allwright's self-titled album was released in 1966 in France on the Mercury label. It included 'Qui A Tué Davy Moore' - a French-language version of Bob Dylan's 'Who Killed Davy Moore'. 
Graeme Allwright, c. 1990s. 
'On the Road Again' - Graeme Allwright at Happy bar, Wellington, 2005 (from the doco Pacific Blues)
Graeme Allwright performing in 2010. 
Cover of Graeme Allwright's debut LP Le Trimardeur (Disques Mouloudji, 1965). 
Graeme Allwright performing at Ploemeur, 24 March 2007, while touring through Brittany. 
Graeme Allwright performs 'Little Children' with his grandchildren - and 50 young guitarists - at the Vaison la Romaine.
Graeme Allwright - Johnny (1968)
Graeme Allwright
Graeme Allwright Sings Brassens, an album released on Philips France in 1985. Georges Brassens (1921-1981) was a French writer who set over 100 of his poems to music. 
Graeme Allwright's 59-track, three CD career Anthologie was released in 2006. 
Graeme Allwright, performing at the Barjac M'en Chante festival, 2005: aged nearly 80, he was on stage for two hours. 
Graeme Allwright and Guy Béart - De passage / Passing through (1975)
Graeme Allwright in a publicity photo from the 1990s.
Graeme Allwright performing at Wellington's Monde Marie folk cafe in 1959, on his first trip back to New Zealand after leaving for Europe in 1948.
Photo credit: Joy, 20 July 1959
Graeme Allwright
Graeme Allwright performing Leonard Cohen's Suzanne (1968)
Labels:

Mercury


Philips


Universal


Disques Mouloudji