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Johnny Chester and the Chessmen

John Howard Chester was born on Boxing Day 1941 in North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia.

By the time he was 17, John had formed a group with some of his mates. Originally calling themselves Johnny Chester and the Jaywoods, they eventually became Johnny Chester and the Chessmen.

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In 1960, the band booked a suburban town hall on a weekly basis and held a dance every Saturday night. Within six months it developed into one of Melbourne’s biggest dance venues.

Johnny released his first single, Hokey Pokey, in 1961, and its success established him as a national pop identity.

For the next three years, Johnny Chester and the Chessmen remained one of Melbourne’s leading bands and in 1964 were given the prestige job of support band on the Australian concert tour of The Beatles.

For 12 months after the tour, Johnny worked the pop scene throughout Australia then starred in Teen Scene – an ABC television series – for six months.

In late 1965 he accepted the position as associate producer of a new Melbourne pop television show, Kommotion, remaining with the program until September 1966 when he joined Melbourne radio 3UZ as a midnight-to-dawn announcer.

He retired from his on-air DJ gig in 1969 and moved into the program department of the station.

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Johnny returned to the Australian charts in 1971 with the single Gwen (Congratulations). He continued recording through the 70s and 80s, moving into the country music scene.

Johnny Chester
Vocals
Huey Fryer
Guitar
Bert Stacpool
Piano
Les Stacpool  
Guitar, saxophone
Jeff Cason 
Bass
Frank McMahon 
Bass
Ken Branchflower  
Bass
Len Woodhouse 
Drums
Barry Windley  
Drums
Billy Dale  
Guitar
George Dale  
Guitar
Laurie Arthur  
Guitar
Graeme Trottman 
Drums
Mike Lynch  
Drums
Henri Bource  
Saxophone
Don Wright  
Saxophone