Johnny Campbell and The Detours

aka The Detours


In the Christchurch dance hall scene of the early 1960s, Johnny Campbell and The Detours emerged as a polished instrumental combo in the mode of The Shadows. Dressed in matching suits, The Detours were in demand for residencies and appearances throughout the region, and often backed leading solo singers. The band had long stints at the Laredo Nitespot and Surf City, and ventured south to Timaru and north to Paraparaumu. They socialised with visiting acts such as Roy Orbison and the Beach Boys, and supported the Rolling Stones at their 1965 Christchurch concert. Along the way The Detours evolved with the times, and developed their vocal harmonies to broaden their act.

This profile of The Detours, written by John R Campbell, is an excerpt from a memoir at his website dedicated to the band. Campbell has also created the extraordinary Rockhappenz website covering the history of Christchurch bands and venues.

The blue blazer and grey trousers "uniform" in colour. From left: Jim Phillips, Trevor Wright, Johnny Campbell, Paul Sargison, and John Clinton
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours backstage at The Laredo Nitespot
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The band visiting a playground in Whanganui, where John Clinton's parents and family were living at the time
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The last known picture of Johnny Campbell at the Mecca Nitespot
Photo credit: Kaye Miller collection
Reunited at The Cashmere Club in Christchurch, 2009
Photo credit: John Campbell Collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours featured in Photo Review Christchurch, playing at the New Brighton Sound Shell in March 1964
Photo credit: Photo Review Christchurch - March 1964, vol 2 no 1
The band reuniting for the first time in 31 years for John's 50th birthday party, 1997
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
High kicks at The Laredo Nitespot from Johnny Campbell and The Detours
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell playing a Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster, but not the first one he owned 
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Jim Phillips entertaining crowds at Surf City, with his ability to play saxophone behind his back
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny and The Detours performing at St Matthews Church Hall in St Albans, circa 1963
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours were chosen to open Timaru's new Downtown Nitespot on Stafford Street, organised by local second-hand dealer Ray Wright. For several weeks the group travelled 100 miles each Friday afternoon, from Christchurch to Timaru, to be ready to play that night.
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours backstage at The Laredo, circa 1965
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Performing at The Laredo Nitespot. From left: Johnny Campbell, Larry McKay, Trevor Wright and Graham Hanham.
Photo credit: John Campbell Collection
A new lineup of Johnny and The Detours, on the church dance circuit. From left: Jim Phillips (sax), Trevor Wright (bass), Johnny Campbell (lead), Paul Sargison (rhythm), and John Clinton (drums)
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours backstage at The Laredo Nitespot, Christchurch
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny playing his newly purchased 1962 Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster at Shirley Boys' High School in late 1963
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours
Johnny Campbell with his original '62 Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster, which he later sold
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Label from the original acetate for My Girl by Johnny Campbell and the Detours (Robbins single RRSP54)
Photo credit: Johnny Campbell Collection
Johnny and The Detours covered 'April In Portugal', a 1950s pop standard composed by Raul Ferrãro
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
At St Matthews Church Hall in St Albans, circa 1963
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
In 1963 Johnny and The Detours released 'Murphy the Surfie' on the Robbins label. The original version was by the Australian band The Joy Boys. 
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The original (pre-release) acetate cutting of the single 'My Girl'
Photo credit: John Campbell Collection
Johnny and The Detours at their first major residency at Surf City. From left: Johnny Clinton, Paul Sargison, Johnny Campbell, Jim Phillips, and Trevor Wright
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The Detours backing Wellington vocalist Gwynn Owen at The Laredo Nitespot, 1966. From left: Trevor Wright (bass), Larry McKay (rhythm), Gwynn Owen, and John Campbell (lead guitar, obscured).
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The Detours support the Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, and Ray Columbus and the Invaders, February 1965. A review from the Christchurch Star. 
Johnny Campbell at The Laredo Nitespot, circa 1965
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours performing at St Matthews Church Hall in St Albans, late 1963
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The Shirley Boys' High School Dance Band, performing at the 1963 Leavers' Dance. From left: Arthur Muir (rhythm guitar), Johnny Campbell (lead guitar), Bob Barrett (drums) and Clive Brunton (bass)
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny and The Detours in a promotional picture for the NZBC Have A Shot television talent quest, taken at St Theresa's Church Hall in Riccarton. From left: Michael Robinson (bass), Bob Barrett (drums), Johnny Campbell  (lead guitar), Paul Sargison (rhythm guitar) and Jim Phillips (saxophone)
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell harmonising with Paul Sargison, who eventually left the band to focus on his university studies
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Vintage Detours T-shirt, designed by Myles Johnson
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours in good company, 9 July 1965.
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
The final incarnation of The Detours. From left: Peter Talbot and John Clinton (top), John Campbell (centre), Trevor Wright and Paul Talbot (bottom)
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
Johnny Campbell and The Detours backstage at The Laredo Nitespot
Photo credit: John Campbell collection
An advertisement clipping for The Detours at Mecca nitespot (224 Tuam Street), lovingly collected by John's father Ron Campbell

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