Johnny Parker

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Full name:  John Winston Parker     Born:  October 15th, 1943
Hometown:  Christchurch, New Zealand
Instruments Played:  Vocalist, Guitar
Career Began:  Age 16 (The Sapphires)
Groups:  Wildcats (aged 17), Downbeats (renamed from Wildcats) 1962, Sundowners (Auckland 1964)
Gigs:  Spencer Street, Dolphin Lounge, Coca Cola Twist Marathons - Christchurch/Temuka
Tours:  Oamaru, Timaru, Temuka, Mount Maunganui
Years in the Music Business:  1959 to 1965
Musical Rebirth:  Christchurch Cathedral Revival Concerts 2006

  Award presented 2007

John tells us in his own words .... "I was a war time baby, born in 1943.  In 1959, at the age of 16, I started singing in The Sapphires, a band which had a regular dance in England Street called the Dolphin Lounge.  Later I joined the Wildcats just before I turned 17, and recorded my first record in 1960.  The Wildcats went through a name change and became the Downbeats, soon building up a reputation as a great band to dance to at Spencer Street, the biggest dance in Christchurch at the time.


"The Downbeats played for a new phenomenon called the Twist and we were hired to play at the Coca Cola Twist Marathons which could go for several days at a time.  I moved to Auckland in 1964 and joined the Sundowners Band from whence I was called up in the 18 year olds Army Draft system and went into the army in 1965 bringing my career to an abrupt end.  During my career I sang at venues with the Howard Morrison Quartet, Toni Williams, Dinah Lee, Max Merritt and the Meteors, John Rowles, The Chicks, Lou Prime, Bobby Davis and Ray Wolfe.  I rejoined the singing fraternity in 2006 at the Spencer Street Revival in Christchurch Cathedral."