Johnny Parker

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      Award presented 2007  

Johnny Parker - Spencer Street Revival Concerts, Christchurch Cathedral 2006

John Winston Parker was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and is a vocalist.  Initially he spent six years in the music business retiring in 1965, but re-emerging in 2006.  He gigged at Spencer Street, The Dolphin Lounge, Coca Cola Twist Marathons - Christchurch/Temuka and toured to Oamaru, Timaru, Temuka and Mount Maunganui.

Johnny 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.  Just before I turned 17 I joined The Wildcats, and made my first recording 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, which was the biggest dance in Christchurch at the time.


Johnny Parker and an early iteration of The Downbeats at the
Christchurch Teenagers Club, Carlyle Street, Christchurch



Johnny Parker and The Downbeats with Ra Denny

Johnny Parker

Johnny Parker and Brent Brodie with Santa Claus


"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 from whence I was called up in the 18-year-old Compulsory Military Training 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."


Johnny Parker - SSR reunion of The Wildcats/Downbeats 2006

Johnny Parker - SSR reunion of The Wildcats/Downbeats 2006