Ray Columbus and The Invaders Profile

Murray Cammick
20 Nov 2013

When Christchurch band Ray Columbus And The Invaders chose their name, they could not have envisaged that they would quickly conquer Auckland in 1963, invade Australia in 1964, tour both countries with the Rolling Stones in 1965 and split that same year. They made the impossible look easy, yet staying together was not possible.

Some bands are created in one place and at one time, but Ray Columbus and The Invaders evolved out of an older, established Christchurch dance band called The Downbeats.

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The Invaders, early 1963. Pete Ward on drums at the back. Front L to R: Puni Solomon, Wally Scott, Dave Russell
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Ray Columbus fronting The Downbeats, an early, pre-Invaders band in Christchurch.
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Supporting Rob Orbison and The Rolling Stones, Sydney, January 1965
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The NZ poster for She's A Mod, 1964
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders at MOTAT, Auckland, 1965
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1965 Ray Columbus publicity shot
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She's A Mod - the first pressing
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The surviving members of Ray Columbus And The Invaders are inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at Vector Arena in 2009. Dinah Lee stands behind Dave Russell, Billy Kristian and Ray Columbus.
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The classic Ray Columbus & The Invaders promo shot, as used on the cover of the 2009 Definitive Collection.
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Ray Columbus and The Invaders win the 1965 Loxene Golden Disc
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Ray Columbus and The Invaders on Kings Cross, October 1964
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She's A Mod
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders, 1964: Wally Scott, Dave Russell, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill and Billy Kristian
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The early 1966 advert for All Through Pride, the final Ray Columbus & The Invaders single (issued at the end of 1965), although there's no mention or image of the band on the copy. Ray was being positioned for a solo career, although not with Zodiac and this single seems to have been promoted this way in competition with his debut solo release on the Impact label.
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The final single, released late 1965 - the band had already split.
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Original Numbers, the first entirely band-composed New Zealand rock and roll album, released in late 1965. The band had already gone their separate ways when this landmark album was released.
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Ray Columbus, 1964
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Ray and The Drifters, the band that would be renamed Ray Columbus and The Invaders in February 1962
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Ray Columbus interviewed by Jeff Smith, 2010 Pt.2
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Ray Columbus, Billy Kristian and Dave Russell
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders in Perth, 1964. Wally Scott, Billy Kristian, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell
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Ray Columbus and The Invaders in Palmerston North, 1964: Wally Scott, Billy Kristian, and Ray Columbus
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Ray Columbus interviewed by Jeff Smith, 2010 Pt.1
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders in an Australian teen magazine
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Dave Russell in Palmerston North with The Invaders in 1964
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The 1965 US release of She's A Mod
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Ray Columbus with The Invaders in Palmerston North in 1964
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders
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The Downbeats circa 1960, with Ray Columbus out front and Pete Ward on drums. This band would mutate into Ray and The Drifters who in turn would become Ray Columbus and The Invaders
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The 1965 Now You Shake EP. Sales had started to drop after She's A Mod and this wasn't a massive seller - which makes it extraordinarily rare and very sought after now!
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One of the early pre-Invaders bands, with Pete Ward on drums and Dave Russell on guitar (left)
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Till We Kissed
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Ray Columbus
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Ray Columbus and The Invaders win the very first Loxene Golden Disc in 1965
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The Australian poster for She's A Mod and Yo Yo
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Ray and The Drifters
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders in 1962. Top: Ray Columbus, Mac Jamieson; Centre: Wally Scott; Bottom: Pete Ward, Dave Russell
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Leaving on a (turboprop) plane - Ray Columbus & The Invaders head home from Australia, 1964
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders
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Billy Kristian in Palmerston North with The Invaders in 1964
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders in Sydney
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A rare colour shot of Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell, Ray Columbus, Wally Scott and Billy Kristian
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Ray Columbus and The Invaders in an unknown TV studio c.1964
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Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Wally Scott, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill, Billy Kristian and Dave Russell
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Labels:

Zodiac

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Members:

Ray Columbus - vocals

Dave Russell - guitar

Wally Scott - guitar

Billy Kristian - bass

Jimmy Hill - drums

Puni Solomon - bass

Peter Ward - drums

Brian Ringrose - guitar

Mac Jamieson - bass

John “Yuk” Harrison - bass

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Trivia:

"Yuk" Harrison was very briefly a member of the band after Puni Solomon was fired in October 1963. He appears in the She's A Mod video but not on any recordings and was never regarded as a full member. He would also fill-in, in May 1964 when Billy Kristian was ill.

Puni Solomon was later in The Dynamics in Christchurch, a Wellington Beatles copy band called The Measles (with Bruno Lawrence) and The Keil Isles. He was still playing in Auckland in the late 1970s. Pete Ward was also in The Dynamics.

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