In 1964, Normie Rowe started work as a trainee technician with the Australian Postmaster General’s Department (now Telstra).
He began growing his hair long in keeping with the style worn by the new wave of British pop stars which caused a dispute with his bosses, and Normie was forced to make an important career choice.
He chose to keep the long hair and become an entertainer.
As a gimmick to rev up fans at the monthly dances at Melbourne’s Alphington Methodist Church, Normie invented a writhing and shaking dance, which – throughout his career – would be the cue for girls in the crowd to scream and go crazy. The gimmick became his trademark.
By October 1965 Normie had all three of his singles – It Ain’t Necessarily So, Que Sera Sera and I (Who Have Nothing) in the Top 40 at the same time . . . seems he made the right choice.
In 1966 he was named the first Top Male Singer in Go-Set‘s National Pop Poll.
Also that year he recorded two singles – Ooh La La and It’s Not Easy – using session musicians including two chaps by the names of Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who would go on to form the legendary Led Zeppelin.
Super-stardom was a cert for Normie Rowe until conscription in 1967 sent him off for army service in Vietnam (pictured at left). Corporal Norman John Rowe of B Squadron, 3 Cavalry Regiment returned home from his year in Vietnam to find his teen idol days over and his career in tatters.
Turning his hand to acting in the 1980s, he spent 18 months as Doug Fletcher in the soap opera Sons and Daughters.
In 1987 Normie starred as Jean Valjean in the Australian stage production of Les Miserables.