Johnny Campbell

Full Name:  John Richard Campbell   (a.k.a. Johnny)
Born:  March 26th, 1947 in Christchurch, N.Z.
Musical Background:  Christchurch Cathedral Choir (1955-60)
Career Began:  1962     Recording Label:  Robbins
First Single:  Murphy The Surfie b/w April In Portugal  RRSP36
Biggest Single:  My Girl b/w I Just Can't Go To Sleep  RRSP54
Residencies:  Surf City, Laredo Nightspot, The Mecca
Community Activities:  Carlyle Street Sunday Youth Club
Shows:  Opened for The Rolling Stones, Christchurch (1965)

Merit Award


Johnny Campbell (and The Detours)
—  in John's own words ...

My musical career began around the age of seven when I won a scholarship to join the Christchurch Cathedral Choir.  After 5 years as a chorister I went on to Shirley Boys' High School at which stage I heard "The Shadows" playing Apache on the Lever Hit Parade.  That was it for me - I was hooked - and I threw away my ukelele and went on to acquire a guitar (teaching myself to play and soon forming a band which was initially known as "The Torments", but was soon to be "The Detours").  It was only relatively recently that I was made aware that the English group "The Who" were originally known by the latter name.

The Detours arrived on the Laredo Nitespot scene as a five-piece outfit and had many successes over a relatively short period of time .... taking over the prestigious St Mary's Merivale, Church Dance from Max Merritt and his outfit, and of course attempting to fill Max's shoes at his parents' Sunday Youth Club, in Carlyle Street.  The Band was resident at Surf City with it's clutch of twisting and stomping teenagers and Saturday afternoon New Brighton Soundshell appearances, and latterly at the prestigious Laredo Lounge (Nitespot) in Cambridge Terrace as understudies to The Playboys (Dave Miller and The Byrds) before their departure to the Auckland spotlight.  

Johnny Campbell and The Detours (Lardeo) As the top group at the Laredo we went on to undertake the Trevor King arranged opening for The Rolling Stones Show in 1965 at the Theatre Royal, and we soon had a hit single "My Girl" out in the market which added dramatically to our popularity.  We were lucky enough to have made several recordings, and to have been well accepted by the local pop-hungry set of the day. Johnny Campbell and The Detours (Carlyle Street Youth Club)
« The Detours (5-piece):   Johnny Campbell (Lead), Trevor Wright (Bass), Jim Phillips (Sax), Paul Sargison (Rhythm), John Clinton (Drums)
The Detours (4-piece):   John Clinton (Drums), Trevor Wright (Bass), Johnny Campbell (Lead), Brian Bligh (Rhythm) »

My band-related musical activities were relatively short-lived, and I gave up playing commercially in 1966, in favour of a "a haircut and a real job", initially in scientific instrumentation but latterly in the computer business as a distributor of data storage devices.  Despite this apparent lay-off I have continued to play guitar and I have maintained my interest in the music of "The Shadows" and more especially "Hank Marvin" whose style and sound I have tried hard to replicate.  I re-invented myself for a Detours re-union at my 50th birthday party in 1997, and I have been very happy to have been involved in recent 60s revival concerts, particularly the 2006 Spencer Street Revival concerts in Christchurch Cathedral, and I'm looking forward to the ROCKONZ 50 Years of Rock 'n Roll Festival in March 2007.  I will eagerly grasp future opportunities to play all that "old stuff" and to continue to rub shoulders with so many of my old peers.