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Tribute to Robbie Snowden 1948-2009

Posted by ken On December - 16 - 2009

Sadly Robbie Snowden passed away at 10.10 am on Tuesday morning December 15, 2009.

Born 10/10/1948 – Died 15/12/2009
Robbie Snowden at the TVW Reunion on October 18, 2009

This no doubt will come as a shock to the many who recently watched him perform on stage at the TVW Reunion on October 18th.

Little did the reunion attendees know how ill he was…

It was only on Monday December 14, 2009, that we were to learn from Australian Pop legend Normie Rowe that he was in palliative care at the Pindarra Private Hospital, on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

This sad news was conveyed to Johnny Young by Normie. It was John and his band who provided the backing for Robbie on the day.

Normie went on to say,

“Rob, has lived a good life and one that should not end in this way at such an early age. But we can’t pick our time, I guess.

As some of us may have been aware, Robbie had been in remission from an earlier cancer. He went to hospital last Saturday with a suspected bowel blockage, but the bad news came soon after.

Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news.

Make each day an important one.

Love to all


This video extract is taken from the TVW 50 Years Reunion Commenorative DVD

Johnny Young fondly remembers that…

Robbie started as an office boy at AJ Williams advertising, in the same building as 6IX where I was the office boy .. so Robbie and I had crossed paths early I went on to form my band Johnny Young and the Strangers and Robbie became assistant to Bruce Wishart the Account exec for Coke and Gest, sponsors of Club 17 at AJW.

Bruce W. was actively involved in the production of The Club and apart from assisting Bruce, Robbie also mimed and danced on the show.

It was only after I had recorded my fist hits at Clarion records that we discovered Robbie had a voice .. His first hit was the Wanderer then two more “No one really loves a clown” and “Sheila.”

Robbie was never really comfortable in his Popstar roll. He was a very humble kid more at home promoting and supporting others even though the Fans loved him .. great looks .. Bobby V type voice (hear him sing on you tube (no one really loves a clown ) short in stature Clean-cut and cute.

Robbie worked at 4GG on the Goldcoast and at the Goldcoast Bulletin in later years .. and also a long stint as a cruise director .. he looked great in his white uniform.

Robbie kept in touch with all of his mates .. Keith Bales and myself from the early TVW days. Normie Rowe, Ronnie Burns et all. His looks never changed and at the TVW7 reunion when he got up sang his hits it was like a time warp (see Robbie sing on the Reunion video) you would not have known he was so ill.

Rob made a lot of show business friends over the years even though he stopped performing in the early 70s. Of course we will miss him.. a genuine fella and proud West Australian with no EGO and happy to see his mates succeed..

Lovely bloke Robbie Snowden… its a mystery to me that the old saying “Only the good die young” is often so true it certainly applies to Robbie Snowdon.

Popular singer Ronnie Burns has emailed his condolences. Robbie was a prominent artist during the formative years of the Australian music industry and former lead singer of the Melbourne band The Flies and former member of Cotton Morris & Burns. Ronnie’s biggest national hit, “Smiley”, was written by Johnny Young.

From: Ronnie Burns
Date: 16 December 2009 5:42:33 PM AWST

Robbie – we all love you – and [together] we wish to bring you an enormous
amount of love and respect at this time.

We are all holding hands around you – to ensure the way ahead is illuminated with the compassion that you continued to show everyone who came to know you. That, never changed – never wavered …

Life calls to you, existence calls to you, and there is beauty, cooperation and purpose for you to delve into in this time of transition. Because when one is in the depths of Initiation, it is not always easy to move the energy and to understand the power of greater forces. But they are present – and so are we. Because, in the end, we conserve only what we love; and, through the inner journey and higherknowledge, we love only what we trulyunderstand.

Keep the love alive and awake within your heart my friend – keep that smile upon your face. For as the landscape changes, you will know what to do – it is all a matter of choice. And you can call upon friends you have not seen for some time.

For each one of us, will, in time, come to re-frame what we think is happening, as we reconfigure our life’s journey – and the heart’s we have touched along the way. We take that precious love with us – as you now are aware.

All my love Robbie ..


Ronnie’s earlier email….

From: Ronnie Burns
Date: 16 December 2009 5:21:19 AM AWST
Subject: Re: Robbie Snowden

Normie advised me of Robbie’s condition yesterday.

He has always been a gentle soul – and will be grateful of the support being offered to him for the transition time ahead.

We met up [again] a few years back, when he came to see
‘Burns, Cotton and Morris’ perform on the Gold Coast.

I appreciate you keeping me in the loop …


Ronnie Burns - ‘Senior Tasmanian of the Year 2009’ Appin Hall Children’s Foundation – Director & Co-Founder


In 1998, Ronnie and his wife Maggie (a former dancer whom he met on the set of the ’60s pop show Kommotion) founded Appin Hall Children’s Foundation, a refuge for orphans of war and children with chronic illness.

Entertainer and singer Marty Rhone echoed everyones sentiments in this email to John Young…

From: “Marty Rhone”
Date: 16 December 2009 8:14:57 AM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden

Hi John

Very sad indeed. As you may or may not know Robbie & I were flat mates in Melbourne back in those heady days of the mid to late 60’s. Robbie was there when I met and courted my wife Rosa, so very fond memories. I have kept in touch with Rob ever since and saw him when I was on the Coast last April.

Ironically, I was in Tweed Heads last Saturday night for a show unaware of his swiftly deteriorating condition and only learnt of his imminent passing when I received an email from Normie Rowe yesterday morning. I was shattered and rang the hospital to try and speak to Rob. His wife Lol put the phone to his ear so I could say goodbye on behalf of my wife and I. Rob couldn’t speak but I heard his breathing become heavier and more intense and respond to my words. His wife said his eyes were fluttering in response. My wife said her goodbyes asking him to give her a beautiful smile with those flashing white teeth he had. He passed away an hour later.

He will always be in our memories.

Kind regards




As a singer, Jeff Phillips shared the TVW Reunion stage with Robbie Snowden and Johnny Young on Sunday October 18th, 2009.

From: Jeffrey Phillips
Date: 16 December 2009 1:22:35 PM AWST
I am so sad to hear of the loss of my musical friend Robbie Snowden. Luckily we both sang at the TVW7 50th Reunion this October and we were able to laugh and reminisce about our musical beginnings.
Please share my thoughts with his many friends in Perth and Surfers Paradise.
Thank you for letting me know. He was a gentleman at all times.
Jeff Phillips

Jeff Phillips appeared on TVW Channel Seven during his early singing career and became known as an Australian TV show host/personality and pop singer of the 1960s to the early 1990s. Jeff took over as compere of Club 7 Teen, following Johnny Young’s move to Mebourne and National fame. Jeff too was to enjoy national singing and hosting fame and appear on British variety television shows.

Former managing director of the Surfers Paradise radio station 4GG Barry Ferber, had these kind words to say about Robbie…

From: Barry Ferber
Date: 16 December 2009 1:33:38 AM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden
Robbie worked with me at GG for over ten years and remained the best of friends he and Lol stayed with me in Vages last year for his 60th, Lots of pics back stage with Frank Marino and The Cast of Mamma Mia also Lol has shots of Rob with Impersonators Cher, Little Richard and Elvis I organized a dinner with them as a surprise. So sad I am still in shock have done apiece for the service Let me know what you need Barry.
Lol is Robbie’s lovely wife Lolita…

Barry Ferber kindly provided these words of farewell…
Robbie at 4GG.jpg
Robbie Snowden during his period working for Barry Ferber at Gold Coast Radio Station 4GG

Robbie Snowden Farewell.

I don’t believe there was a single person who didn’t like Robbie Snowden. Those of us fortunate enough to be his friend loved him.

After his career as a pop star came to a close he came to me for a job at 4GG. How could I not hire him, a guy in the business with a happy disposition and a willingness to work?. I liked him immediately. The only job I had was in promotions a kind of “no hour’s” job to which he said no worries, and it never was.

I told him if he did the right thing by the station he would be rewarded. Three years late having worked his butt off, with events like sand modeling Beach Girl quest and countless other promotions that were thrown at him, I surprised Rob and Loll with new car. They were thrilled but more importantly, so were the staff that loved him and were happy for him. Robbie was a role model for all other staff to follow.

I treasure his friendship and the times we spent talking shop or music over a few coldies.

Robbie Snowden was the epitome of loyalty and everything one wanted in a friend. Robbie always knew he had picked a winner in Lol. They were two peas in a pod.

I am so glad to have spent time with them in Vegas as recently as last year when they stayed with me for his 60thbirthday bash. They both loved Vegas. I took them back stage after Mamma Mia where Robbie delivered some Cherry Ripes to the leading lady.

Previously I set up supper after the show of Legends in Concert as a surprise, and there was the old rocker in the company of look-a-likes Cher, Little Richard and Elvis. Great memories.

If all of us could leave the world surrounded by the love and friendship Robbie Snowden attracted throughout his life we would indeed be proud.

I loved him as a person as a workmate but most of all as a friend, one who never changed and would always be there.

My heart goes out to Lol, the love of his life, who today stands tall as we celebrate the life of that wonderful man she married. We will all miss him but Lol will carry the biggest load as well as the biggest joy of living her life alongside our friend Robbie Snowden.

Farwell my friend, safe trip I will miss you.

Lolita Elvis & Robbie in Vagas.jpg
Robbie’s 60th birthday bash in Las Vagas: Wife Lolita, Elvis impersonator and Robbie were guests of Barry Ferber

As a young DJ spinning vinyl for top Australian radio station 3DB in Melbourne, Barry Ferber was the first Australian DJ to play the Beatles song “Please Please Me” on the air. He was a 19-year-old announcer for 3DB in 1963 when he began receiving tapes from an unknown group out of Liverpool. Barry Ferber went on to management, first at 4GG at the Gold Coast in Queensland when it first went on air, and later at Radio Fiji. More recently, he’s filed columns from Las Vegas for the Gold Coast Bulletin. Barry Ferber was honored with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) medal for his work in broadcasting.

Condolences from Marcie Jones, who has appeared on every national TV variety show in Australia over four decades…

From: “Marcie Jones”
Date: 16 December 2009 6:20:10 PM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden

Thank you for letting me know, we are a dwindling lot. Robbi was always such a darling he will be missed. Marcie Jones

Marcie Jones started as a teenager in the early ’60s. Performed with Normie Rowe’s band The Playboys and appeared on the “Go-Show”. She released five singles from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 Marcie teamed up with the Cook sisters, Margaret, Beverley and Wendy, who were performing as “The Cookies” to become the top female singing group in Australia. In 1968 they toured Australia as support act for overseas artists such as The Monkees. That same year ‘Marcie and the Cookies’ were presented the “Best Female Act for 1968″ award by national pop magazine Go-Set and were awarded the “Critics Award” for the top Australian vocal act. During 1969 and 1970, ‘Marcie and the Cookies’ toured extensively throughout Asia and Europe and toured the United Kingdom with Cliff Richard and the Shadows. On returning to Australia, Marcie resumed her solo career releasing an album and five singles between 1973 and 1976. Marcie has toured with The Seekers, The Monkeys, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and supported Gene Pitney on five national tours. Marcie continues to perform in stage shows, clubs, concerts and tours supporting major overseas artists until the present day. In mid-2008, Marcie became a presenter on 100.7 Highlands FM, a community radio station based in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria.

TVW Promotions Manager Jill Glass also conveyed the sad news…

From: “Glass, Jill”
Date: 16 December 2009 9:16:04 AM AWST

I’m sure you’ve already heard this news. This is from today’s MediaWeek Morning Report.

The Gold Coast lost a proud local yesterday with the death of Robby Snowden, 61, former rocker and promotions man, report The Gold Coast Bulletin. Snowden was known around the Coast as The Gold Coast Bulletin promotions manager and relentlessly cheerful man about town. Long before that he was a rock star from Perth with a gaggle of groupies, thanks to hits such as “The Wanderer” and “No One Really Loves A Clown”. Snowden died at 10.10am in Pindara Private Hospital where he had been since his recent diagnosis with aggressive stomach cancer. The Bulletin’s managing director, Steve Howard, said: “He was a long-serving and loyal executive at our company and will be missed, not only by friends and former colleagues, but the wider Coast business and media community.”

Jill Glass

Promotions Manager  | Channel Seven Perth

Former TVW Channel 7 Managing Director Kevin Campbell paid this sincere compliment…

From: “Kevin Campbell”
Date: 16 December 2009 9:40:03 AM AWST
Thank you Jill for the early notice and Ken for both passing it on and for handling the post.
Another sad loss to both the industry and humanity.
Kev Campbell

Former TVW senior producer/director Keith Mackenzie was shocked to hear the sad news…

From: “Keith Mackenzie”
Date: 16 December 2009 3:44:59 PM AWST
Thanks Jill, I’m really shocked to hear the news, especially seeing him so recently. Regards, Keith.

Keith directed the Club 7 Teen period when Jeff Phillips was the host. (Gordon McColl directed the Johnny Young period, whilst Max Bostock directed the Gary Carvolth period).

Back in the 1970’s, Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) was a young performer on STARS OF THE FUTURE and other shows. Later Annette worked in the TVW Publicity Department.

From: Annie Grennell (nee Purvis)
Date: 17 December 2009 6:22:10 PM AWST
Subject: Re: Robbie Snowden
Dear Keith and Ken,
I couldn’t believe it when I opened your email….how tragic… wern’t we the lucky ones to have been blessed with the pleasure of his company in October at the reunion. He has given us all such great memories of our youth….he is now in “Rock & Roll Heaven”..

Noel McGrath’s now out-of-print Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop notes that Robbie Snowden was born in the UK but was raised in Australia since infancy. He started out recording advertising jingles for a Perth agency and appeared on Johnny Young’s TV show Club 7 Teen on Perth’s Channel 7. Signed to Clarion Records, he had a #1 in Perth 1966 with a version of Dion’s “The Wanderer” (which was also #7 Brisbane) and relocated to Melbourne in 1967.

Release Date Songs
Sep. 1966 “The Wanderer” “Take Your Time”
Feb. 1967 “No One Really Loves A Clown” “Talkin’ “
June 1967 “Sheila” “What Do You Want To Make Eyes At Me For”
Oct. 1967 “Sunshine Rides On A Trolley” “Do You Want To Dance”
Feb. 1968 “Surrounded By A Ray Of Sunshine” “Just A Little”
July 1968 “Freckles” “I Can’t Stop”
Robbie Snowden in 1966 with the Channel Seven Dancers singing “The Wanderer”

Janet Boyd (nee Ladner) who was one of the Channel Seven Dancers (seen to the left of Robbie in above photo) was also shocked to learn the sad news…
From: “Boyd, Jan”
Date: 16 December 2009 8:19:02 AM AWST
Subject: Robbie Snowden


Robbie’s death has really shocked and upset us, he was such a sweet person.

Please ask Johnny to pass on our condolences to his family.


Jan Boyd

Robbie Snowden interviewed by Garry Meadows on the TVW Channel 7 “Seven is Seven” anniversary show in 1966

In the 70s, after leaving the music industry, Robbie Snowden became a Cruise Director on cruise ships, then went to work at a regional newspaper in Queensland. You can listen to two of Robbie’s numbers on YouTube by following the below links…

Robbie Snowden – Nobody really loves a clown

Robbie Snowden , Talkin’

Gold Coast Tribute to Robbie Snowden

The Gold Coast Bulletin’s managing director, Steve Howard, said: “He was a long-serving and loyal executive at our company and will be missed, not only by friends and former colleagues, but the wider Coast business and media community.”

Originally from Farnborough, England, Mr Snowden grew up in Australia and after finding fame in Perth, then touring for six years on cruise ships, he settled on the Gold Coast.

He embraced the city and lifestyle and quickly became one of its most loved locals.

“He loved the Coast, he enjoyed what the Coast had,” said Mr Gordon.

A memorial service will be held early next week for close family and friends.

15 Responses to “Tribute to Robbie Snowden 1948-2009”

  1. Frank Calabrese says:

    Very Sad News indeed from both a local Television and the Australian Pop Scene – he will be sadly missed.

    Is there a possibility that Robbie’s performance from the reunion can be uploaded as a tribute ? and also is there any TVW footage of him from Club 17 ?

  2. Dave Power says:

    Rob was someone who I met only on a handful of occasions but always made me feel as though we’d been friends a long time. Conversations we had are a fond memory to me now. Time spent with Robbie was time well spent and I truly consider myself privileged to have made his aqquaintance.

    Carol and I send our deepest sympathy to Lol, keep your chin up Kid!

    Dave Power

  3. It’s Christmas Eve and a phone call has informed me of the passing of Robbie Snowden, I remember a young man with a smile that couls light up the sky. Of an unrealised talent that surprised us all. He wasn’t a bad office boy either.
    Farewell Robbie.
    Happy memories – and now – sad moments Bruce Wishart

  4. Viva says:

    It was so sad hearing about Rob last month. My thoughts turned to 1968, and the flat Rob and Marty shared in East St Kilda, and long nights with too much beer, and Rob’s backing band of loony Tasmanians, and the stunning Rosa, and Michael Chugg, and the awful Harry Nilsson song “Freckles” that seemed to put a full stop on Rob’s career as a pop star.

    I don’t need Youtube. I can hear Rob singing “Surrounded by a Ray of Sunshine” to this day.

    Vale, Rob

  5. Don Wood says:

    I was lucky enough to work with Robbie on the Fairstar and the Minghua and we had a great time talking about the 60’s music scene over a quiet beer. He was always happy and loved life – so sad that he left so early.

  6. kim newman says:

    I have just heard of Robs death (8th Jan) I am shocked and saddened I only spoke to him briefly at the reunion
    Back in 1965 I was a mimer on Club Seventeen and Rob was the 17 year old office boy at A J Williams I talked him into miming on the show. While he was extremely reticent the offer of 10 pounds was too bigger carrot. For his first appearance he mimed Down in the Boondocks the then current hit by Billy Joe Royal.
    He was so popular on the show his foray into the pop world was inevitable. He wrote to me when I was overseas that he was on the cover of Everybodys magazine. It was typical of his modesty that he couldn’t comprehend his success. Great memories Sad loss

  7. Ken Jackson says:

    It was a big jump from the confines of Perth in the late 60’s to The Gold Coast in the mid 80’s but Robbie was the same ‘smiley face’ with the same totally unassuming attitude & boyish appeal. I worked with him at 4GG in 1986, while I was reading news & writing & producing station commercials he was ‘out front’ for the station doing the job he did so well of promotions. He seemed to me as though he had hardly aged in 20 years & his boyish enthusiasm hadn’t waned in the slightest. His work ethic reminds me of a quote:

    Plenty of men can do good work for a spurt and with immediate promotion in mind, but for promotion you want a man in whom good work has become a habit.

    God speed Robbie,

    Ken Jackson

  8. Laurie Baker says:

    Sadly, I only found out today that Robbie had passed away, I find it hard to accept that only a few months ago at the Channel 7 Reunion I spent a couple of hours with Rob; he was tanned, looked great and enthusiastically sharing his future plans in his retirement. We discussed his earlier illness and he was so confident about the future and enjoying every bit of his life.

    I was privileged to have worked with Robbie on Club 17 and to be counted as a close friend during those Perth years, he was always generous with his friendship and yet his humble and passionate disposition, brought him many friends and success. I will never forget those crazy times; the fun, the pranks, the music and the dreams we shared as the Club 17 gang.

    Robbie, you were taken from us far too soon and your departure leaves a great void. God bless bud.


  9. Back in the late 60’s, I was known as Chris James (stage name created by a manager who thought that my real name wasn’t good enough) and like Robbie, recorded on the Clarion label.

    I was conscripted and sent to Vietnam. These days, being some 36 years later and issues behind me, I have been able to get back up and want to mention that Robbie in many ways contributed to this.

    I met him while living on the Gold Coast a few years back when I was assisting a child protection charity group.

    He asked if I had any recorded music and if I did, he said he would try and get me some exposure on the local radio station that he worked for.

    I didn’t have any music at the time but will never forget the fact that he was willing to go to bat for someone who was a competitor back in the day. What a genuine and beautiful soul!

    May he rest in the peace that he so justly deserves.

  10. Linda O'Brien says:

    I knew Robbie back in the late sixties, when he came to Brisbane he would visit me and my family. I am very saddened to hear of Robbie’s passing, he was such a gentleman with a kind heart. My deepest wishes for Robbie’s family.

  11. Anne Floyd says:

    I used to go to Club 17 every week and loved Robbie. I still have his singles (I am now 56) and moved back to England in 1967. I can’t believe I found all this about him and am so sorry to hear that he has passed away.

  12. Keith Bird says:

    Have just learned of Robbies’ passing and find it hard to believe.

    I ran dances in Wagga Wagga and Griffith in the 1960s and hired Robbie on numerous occasions. He was a gentleman and I have fond memories of the time we spent together.

    Many years later he found out that I owned a jewellery shop in Cairns and used to call in to say hi in his capacity as cruise director .

    My condolences to his family .

  13. ray bullock says:

    Robbie Snowden was favourite of mine in the 60’s. I followed his career at the time, not quite sure whether “PRETTY FLAMINGO”, was a cover he released or a mimed song from those shows in those days. One funny thing was when i was at highschool was that,if I ever had to give a false name for whatever, I always used Rob Snowden. He was so popular in WA at the time……RIP

  14. Sue says:

    Fond memories, a privilege to have known you briefly xx

  15. Tony Hart says:

    Hi guys.
    This may sound very odd but my Mother had a cruise from the UK around Europe late summer in 1974 on the T.S.S Lenoid Sobinov around the Helsinki- Copenhagen-Southhampton route. And she had a..em Shall we say “an encounter” with a member of one of the entertainment staff is all i know.It can only be one of five or six people max! And here i am 39 years later. Long story short as i can.
    I always thought i was never really my dads biological child, and when i was about eleven years young i found out this was true.
    when i managed to speak to my mum properly about it years later i asked her. Are you sure? And she looked me square in the eye and said yes. So i asked. How are you so sure? And she replied. When you see him you will know because you look like his brother. (i am more than willing to send a photo)Quite alike i think. Lips and all!
    Only the other day for some reason i got out the ships information that my mother kindly gave before she passed away bless her. I have spent some time going through the possibilitys and i think i have found him.
    If anybody is willing to help me prove that this is so. or iliminate Robbie from the equation then any help would be greatfully recieved.
    This is no prank and i do not wish any upset to anyone or cause trouble through this. I just need to know the truth. Love and light to you all.
    I would love to speak to Ronnie Burns if possible. From his words to Robbie i think he’s on my wave length from his words to Robbie.
    Sincearly Tony Hart x ( my mum’s name Sheila Hart by the way if that helps?)R.I.P
    My email is
    Mob UK 07508189432

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