Peter Combe On Why Children's Music Needs More Influence From The Beatles And Paul Simon

6 June 2017 | 4:47 pm | Jessica Dale

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'90s nostalgia is hitting hard. Between Pokemon, jelly sandals and the recent Twin Peaks revival, it seems that every kid that actually was a kid to see in the millennium is more than happy to party like it's 1999 - and what better way to do that than to the soundtrack of your primary school days.

Peter Combe has been entertaining hordes of children around the world for 35 years and this winter he's bringing old favourites to 18+ crowds in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney for his upcoming tour.

"I did a gig in Adelaide about 10 years ago, to what was meant to be a children's audience," explains Combe, "But it turned out to be pretty much all adults and when they heard the songs they grew up on - Newspaper Mama, Mr Clicketty Cane, Juicy Juicy Green Grass, Toffee Apple, Spaghetti Bolognaise - it brought back lovely memories of their childhood and they sort of went crazy, singing every word of every song. It was an amazing experience for them and me! Having done over a hundred 18+ shows, this pretty much happens at all of them."

Seven Gold and two Platinum CDs, 3 ARIAs and over a million sales later, Combe now plays to second generation fans, with parents regularly taking their children to see the man who entertained them so joyously in their own youth.

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Combe himself is now a grandfather of seven and his own adventures in parenting have been an influence on his songwriting.

"My 'inspiration' comes from the beautiful, crazy, busy, inspiring, serious, funny world around me," says Combe. "My grandchildren and my children have all influenced my songwriting. On the new album Live It Up, five grandchildren do cameo performances."

Combe is a firm believer that children's music shouldn't just be restricted to the usual nursery rhyme structure, so he looks to more mature influences when developing his work.

"Paul Simon, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison have written so many songs of great depth with beautifully constructed lyrics and melodies," says Combe. "Good melody writing is a very undervalued and rare skill, and recording a record needs great attention to detail. Like the above famous songwriters, I try to create magic moments on my albums. Obviously earning a living as a singer-songwriter is wonderful, but I also love doing it. And the 'love' is an absolutely essential ingredient."