Johnny Parker

Full name:   John Winston Parker     Born:   October 15th, 1943
Hometown:   Christchurch, New Zealand
Instruments Played:   Vocalist, Guitar
Career Began:   Age 16 (The Sapphires)
Other Groups:   Wildcats (aged 17)
First Recording:   1960
Other Groups:   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
Worked With:   Howard Morrison Quartet, Tony Willams, Dinah Lee, Max Merritt, John Rowles, The Chicks, Lew Pryme, Bobby Davis, Ray Wolfe
Years in the Music Business:   1959 to 1965
Musical Rebirth:   Christchurch Cathedral Revival Concerts 2006
Merit Award

Johnny Parker ... in his own words

I was a war time baby, born in 1943. At 16 I started singing in the Sapphires 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 in 1962 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.

Johnny Parker
Johnny Parker performs with The Downbeats - then and now !

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.