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 74)
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 is best known in New Zealand for his song from 1970, "Cheryl Moana Marie", which he wrote 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]


Aotearoa Music Awards

The Aotearoa Music Awards (previously known as New Zealand Music Awards (NZMA)) are an annual awards night celebrating excellence in New Zealand music and have been presented annually since 1965.

YearNominee / workAwardResultRef.
1978John RowlesMale Artist of the YearWon [14]


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. [15] 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. [16] [17] 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. [16] [18] He died at age 59 on 24 March 2004. [19]

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. [20] [21] She was the New Zealand Music Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year winner in 1986.


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


Related Research Articles

The music of New Zealand has been influenced by a number of traditions, including Māori music, the music introduced by European settlers during the nineteenth century, and a variety of styles imported during the twentieth century, including blues, jazz, country, rock and roll, reggae, and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation.

The music of Niue has a long history. Niue is a Polynesian island in the South Pacific. Though independent, it is in free association with New Zealand.

New Zealand Hip Hop derives from the wider hip hop cultural movement originating amongst African Americans in the United States. Like the parent movement, New Zealand hip hop consists of four parts: rapping, DJing, graffiti art and breakdancing. The first element of hip hop to reach New Zealand was breakdancing, which gained notoriety after the release of the 1979 movie The Warriors. The first hip hop hit single, "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, became a hit in New Zealand when it was released there in 1980, a year after it was released in the United States. By the middle of the 1980s, breakdancing and graffiti art were established in urban areas like Wellington and Christchurch. By the early 1990s hip hop became a part of mainstream New Zealand culture.

Shapeshifter are a live drum and bass act from New Zealand. They are known for their live shows and blend of heavy soul with drum and bass. They have made appearances at Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Big Day Out, Parklife plus sold-out performances across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Jon Stevens

Jon Stevens is a New Zealand singer, best known for his work with Noiseworks and Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Exponents, formerly The Dance Exponents, was a New Zealand rock group led by vocalist and songwriter Jordan Luck.

Darren Watson Musical artist

Darren Watson is a New Zealand singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Moana Maree Maniapoto is a New Zealand singer, songwriter and documentary maker. Widely considered 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. Moana was briefly married to New Zealand politician and radio personality Willie Jackson, during which time she was known as Moana Maniapoto-Jackson; they divorced in 2001. In 2016, Moana was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

Margaret Urlich New Zealand singer

Margaret Mary Urlich is an ARIA Award-winning New Zealand musician based in New South Wales, Australia. Urlich moved to Sydney in 1988 to pursue her singing career. Her debut solo album, Safety in Numbers, released in 1989, was highly successful and won "Breakthrough Artist – Album" at the 1991 ARIA Awards. Its follow-up Chameleon Dreams was also a success when released in 1992. Urlich has been successful trans-Tasman, selling over 400,000 albums during her career, ranking her as one of New Zealand's most successful recording artists. She is the cousin of fellow New Zealand singer Peter Urlich.

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.

Ray Columbus Musical artist

Raymond John Patrick Columbus was a New Zealand Benny Award-winning singer and songwriter, television host, music manager and entertainer, with a career spanning six decades. As the lead singer of Ray Columbus & the Invaders, his best-known hit was "She's A Mod".

Sensitive to a Smile (song) Herbs song

"Sensitive to a Smile" is a single from the New Zealand reggae band Herbs from the Sensitive to a Smile album. The single reached #9 in the New Zealand chart.

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.

Dennis Marsh New Zealand singer

Dennis Te Uhi Marsh is a New Zealand country music singer and television presenter, best known for his series of popular albums in the 2010s and for hosting the country music TV show My Country Song. He is New Zealand's best selling country music artist.

Aotearoa (Stan Walker song) 2014 single by Stan Walker featuring Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika

"Aotearoa" is a song by New Zealand recording artist Stan Walker featuring Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika. It was released as a single through Sony Music Australia on 21 July 2014. "Aotearoa" peaked at number two on the New Zealand Singles Chart.

Waiata : Maori Showbands, Balladeers & Pop Stars is a historical various artist album compilation released on compact disc in 2001 by His Master's Voice and EMI. It features recordings by Prince Tui Teka, the Maori Volcanics, the Howard Morrison Quartet, The Quin Tikis, Billy T. James, and John Rowles.

<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.

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.

Benee New Zealand singer

Stella Rose Bennett, better known as Benee and formerly Bene, is a New Zealand singer and songwriter from Auckland. In both 2019 and 2020, she consecutively won Single of the Year, Best Solo Artist and Best Pop Artist at the New Zealand Music Awards. Benee initially gained local prominence with her singles "Glitter" and "Soaked", before her 2019 single "Supalonely" saw international popularity following its success on the video-sharing platform TikTok. Benee subsequently released her debut album, Hey U X, in November 2020.

This article is the discography of New Zealand singer John Rowles.


  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. "Aotearoa Music Awards". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  15. "Brothers play two Rowles". 1 July 1969.
  16. 1 2 "Frankie Price".
  17. "Frankie Price Discography – All Countries".
  18. "Frankie Rowles".
  19. "Frankie Price – AudioCulture".
  20. New Zealand Woman's Weekly, 16 February 1987 – Pages 4–5 Tania Rowles : something to sing about
  21. "Tania Rowles Discography – All Countries".