John Rowles

Last updated

Sir John Rowles
John Rowles KNZM (cropped).jpg
Rowles in 2018
Background information
Birth nameJohn Rowles
Born (1947-03-26) 26 March 1947 (age 72)
Whakatane, New Zealand
OriginNew Zealand
Years active1966–present

Sir John Edward Rowles KNZM OBE (born 26 March 1947) is a New Zealand singer. He was most popular in the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, and he was best known in New Zealand for his song from 1970, "Cheryl Moana Marie", which he had written about his younger sister.


Early years

John Rowles in 1969 The Exciting John Rowles, May 1969.png
John Rowles in 1969

Rowles was born in Whakatane, New Zealand, and is part Māori. His father, Eddie Hohapata Rowles, played for the 1938 Māori All Blacks. His mother was European. He was brought up in Kawerau, in the North Island of New Zealand. Rowles' birth name was simply John Rowles; he added the middle name "Edward" after his brother of that name died at a young age. [1]


Rowles is best known in New Zealand and Australia, though he has also performed in the United States, particularly Las Vegas, Nevada and Hawaii, where he was managed by Kimo Wilder McVay. In the United Kingdom he was best known for the hit, "If I Only Had Time", which reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in spring 1968, and stayed in the chart for eighteen weeks. [2] This was a cover version of the French song "Je n'aurai pas le temps" with which the French singer Michel Fugain had a hit in 1967; he co-wrote the song with Pierre Delanoë. The song also charted in the Netherlands, reaching number 2, [3] after which the Franck Pourcel Orchestra had a minor hit with an instrumental version of the song, bearing the original French song title. [4] In Germany, Schlager singer Peter Rubin charted with the German translation "Hätt ich nur einmal mehr Zeit". In the USA, Nick DeCaro and his orchestra charted with his instrumental version, released as the B-side of the single "Caroline, No" [5] in late 1968, peaking at number 71 in the Cash Box Top 100 in early 1969. [6]

Rowles had another Top 20 hit in the UK with "Hush . . . Not a Word to Mary", also in 1968. [2] This song also charted in the Netherlands. [7]

In the US, "Cheryl Moana Marie" got noticed in the summer of 1970 by some West Coast radio stations, but it took until the end of 1970 for the song to chart nationally, peaking at number 64 in the Billboard Hot 100 and number 78 in the Cash Box Top 100 respectively, in early 1971. [8]

He was the feature of a 2008 documentary entitled The Secret Life of John Rowles. [9]

Rowles had a cameo role in the 2008 New Zealand film, Second-Hand Wedding. [10]

He appeared in the 2009 New Zealand version of Dancing With the Stars . He was partnered with Krystal Stewart. Under doctor's orders, he had to retire from the competition but has since recovered.

Honours and awards

In 1974, Rowles received the Benny Award from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand Inc, the highest honour available to a New Zealand variety entertainer. [11]

Rowles was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 New Year Honours, for services to entertainment and New Zealand interests in the United States. [12] He was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to entertainment, in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours. [13]


His older brother Wally Rowles was a solo singer with his own career, and for a while went under the name of Frankie Price. He later changed his name again to Frankie Rowles due to an artist "Price" who was working in Australia. [14] Under Frankie Price he recorded three singles "Pancho Lopez" b/w "Walk Like A Man, "Another Tear Falls" b/w "I Could Have Loved You So Well" and "Sweet Mary" b/w "Take A Little Time". All of which were released on the Polydor label. [15] [16] Under the name Frankie Rowles, he recorded a single "Ma Vie C'est Toi" b/w "Live A Little Longer" which was released on the Gemini label. [15] [17] He died at age 59 on 24 March 2004. [18]

His sister Tania Rowles was a recording artist and had the single "Don't Turn Around" which was released on the RCA label in 1986. [19] [20] She was the New Zealand Music Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year winner in 1976.


Rowles released his autobiography, If I Only Had Time, in October 2012.

Related Research Articles

A Little Less Conversation 1968 single by Elvis Presley

"A Little Less Conversation" is a 1968 song recorded by Elvis Presley written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange and published by Gladys Music, Inc., originally performed in the 1968 film Live a Little, Love a Little. The song became a minor hit in the United States when released as a single with "Almost in Love" as the A-side. A 2002 remix by Junkie XL of a later re-recording of the song by Presley became a worldwide hit, topping the singles charts in nine countries and was awarded certifications in ten countries by 2003.

"War" is a counterculture era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – an obvious anti-Vietnam War statement – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release "War" as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations' version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr's version of "War" was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but it is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. It was one of 161 songs on the no-play list issued by Clear Channel following the events of September 11, 2001.

The Jets are a Polynesian-American family band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, composed of brothers and sisters LeRoy, Eddie, Eugene, Haini, Rudy, Kathi, Elizabeth, and Moana Wolfgramm. who perform pop, R&B, and dance music. They started performing as a family band in 1977. The Jets were discovered by Don Powell, who previously managed Stevie Wonder and David Bowie, among other artists.

Moana Maree Maniapoto MNZM is a New Zealand singer, songwriter and documentary maker. Widely considered as one of New Zealand's most successful indigenous acts, her music is described as a fusion of traditional Māori haka, chants and taonga puoro, with contemporary soul, reggae and classical styles. In 2016, Moana was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

I Can See Clearly Now Song by Johnny Nash

"I Can See Clearly Now" is a song originally recorded by Johnny Nash. It was a single from the album of the same name and achieved success in the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 1972, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was covered by many artists throughout the years, including a 1993 hit version by Jimmy Cliff, who re-recorded the song for the motion picture soundtrack of Cool Runnings, where it reached the top 20 at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I Will Follow Him 1963 single by Peggy March

"I Will Follow Him" is a popular song that was first recorded in 1961 by Franck Pourcel, as an instrumental titled "Chariot". The song achieved its widest success when it was recorded by American singer Little Peggy March with English lyrics in 1963. The music was written by Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat. It was adapted by Arthur Altman. The English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel.

Cant Take My Eyes Off You 1967 single by Frankie Valli

"Can't Take My Eyes Off You" is a 1967 song written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. It was recorded as a single by Frankie Valli. The song was among his biggest hits, earning a gold record and reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week, stuck behind "Windy" by the Association. Gaudio was a bandmate of Valli's in the Four Seasons. It was Valli's biggest solo hit until he hit No. 1 in 1975 with "My Eyes Adored You".

Games People Play (Joe South song) 1968 Joe South song

"Games People Play" is a song written, composed, and performed by American singer-songwriter Joe South, released in August 1968, that won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

"Don't Turn Around" is a popular song written by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren. It was originally recorded by Tina Turner as the B-side to the single "Typical Male" in 1986. Warren is said to have been disappointed that Turner's record company treated the song as a B-side and never included it on one of her albums. However it has since been included on the rarities disc of the 1994 compilation The Collected Recordings – Sixties to Nineties, as well as featuring in the Tina musical in 2018.

If Tomorrow Never Comes 1989 single by Garth Brooks

"If Tomorrow Never Comes" is a song recorded by American country music artist Garth Brooks. Written by Brooks and Kent Blazy, it was released in August 1989 as the second single from his album Garth Brooks and also appears on The Hits, The Limited Series and Double Live. This was his first #1 single on the Billboard Country Singles chart. It is also sometimes referred to as his signature song. "If Tomorrow Never Comes" was named Favorite Country Single in the American Music Awards of 1991. It has subsequently become one of Brooks' most popular songs for other artists to perform. The song has been covered by several artists, including Ronan Keating, who took it to Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2002.

The Yandall Sisters were a popular New Zealand-born Samoan all-female singing group of the 1970s, who made a major contribution to music in New Zealand. The members of the group were Caroline, Mary and Adele Yandall, and later younger sister Pauline Yandall.

Grease (song) 1978 song performed by Frankie Valli

"Grease" is a song written by Barry Gibb and performed by Frankie Valli. "Grease" is the title song for the 1978 musical motion picture Grease, which was based on the stage play of the same name. It sold over seven million copies worldwide and was featured twice on the film's soundtrack, as the first track and reprised as the final track. This track was specifically written for the 1978 musical motion picture and was not used in the stage production of Grease.

"Release Me", is a popular song written by Eddie "Piano" Miller and Robert Yount in 1949. Four years later it was recorded by Jimmy Heap & the Melody Masters, and with even better success by Patti Page (1954), Ray Price (1954), and Kitty Wells (1954). Subsequently, Jivin' Gene [Bourgeois] & the Jokers recorded the tune in 1960, and that version served as an inspiration for Little Esther Phillips, who reached number one on the R&B chart and number eight on the pop chart with her big-selling cover. The Everly Brothers followed in 1963, along with Lucille Starr as "The French Song" including a translation in French (1964), Jerry Wallace (1966), Dean Martin (1967), Engelbert Humperdinck (1967) who was number one on the UK Singles Chart and many others in the years after.

As Long as You Follow 1988 single by Fleetwood Mac

"As Long as You Follow" is a song by the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Written and sung by band member Christine McVie, and her then-husband Eddy Quintela, the song was one of two new tracks on the band's 1988 greatest hits album. Lead guitarist Rick Vito singled out the guitar solo as his best work with Fleetwood Mac.

The Official New Zealand Music Chart is the weekly New Zealand top 40 singles and albums charts, issued weekly by Recorded Music NZ. The Music Chart also includes the top-20 New Zealand artist singles and albums and top 10 compilation albums. All charts are compiled from data of both physical and digital sales from music retailers in New Zealand.

<i>Moana</i> (soundtrack) 2016 soundtrack album by various artists

Moana: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 2016 Disney animated film Moana. The soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on November 19, 2016. It features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa'i, with lyrics in English, Samoan, Tokelauan, and Tuvalu. The two-disc deluxe edition includes the score, which was composed by Mancina, as well as demos, outtakes and instrumental karaoke tracks. The record also produced two singles.

"How Far I'll Go" is a song from Disney's 2016 animated feature film Moana. It was written and produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The song was performed in the film by American actress and singer Auliʻi Cravalho in her role as Moana. It was released along with the album on November 18, 2016. Canadian singer Alessia Cara also recorded the song for the Moana soundtrack. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards and Best Original Song at the 74th Golden Globe Awards but lost both to "City of Stars" from La La Land. It did however win the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

"If I Only Had Time" was a big hit in 1968 for the New Zealand singer John Rowles. It was also his first release in the UK.

The Pain Goes On Forever was a New Zealand hit for John Rowles. It was the follow up to his second hit, Hush Not A Word To Mary.

M'Lady was a hit for John Rowles. Following the success he had in New Zealand with "The Pain Goes On Forever", M'Lady became a New Zealand chart tropper.


  1. Interview with Jim Mora on Eight months to Mars programme, Radio New Zealand National, 1pm NZT, Monday, 16 May 2011
  2. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 472. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  3. "John Rowles – If I Only Had Time". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  4. "Franck Pourcel – Je N'aurai Pas Le Temps (Thema Uit De T.v. Serie "mens Durf Te Leven")". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  5. "Nick DeCaro – Caroline, No / If I Only Had Time". discogs. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  6. "The Cash Box Top 100 of January 18, 1969". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  7. "John Rowles – Hush... Not A Word To Mary". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  8. "M'Lady – JOHN ROWLES (1968) – Pop Archives – Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  9. "The Secret Life of John Rowles". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  10. "Second Hand Wedding (2008)". IMDb.
  11. "Variety Artists Club of NZ Benny Award Recipients". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013.
  12. "No. 47725". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 30 December 1978. p. 40.
  13. "John Rowles dedicates knighthood to family". 4 June 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  14. "Brothers play two Rowles". 1 July 1969.
  15. 1 2 "Frankie Price".
  16. "Frankie Price Discography – All Countries".
  17. "Frankie Rowles".
  18. "Frankie Price – AudioCulture".
  19. New Zealand Woman's Weekly, 16 February 1987 – Pages 4–5 Tania Rowles : something to sing about
  20. "Tania Rowles Discography – All Countries".