Johnny Chester

Johnny Chester grew up and went to school in Preston (Tyler Street, Bell Primary and Preston Technical School) before starting his working life as a motor mechanic. However, he soon followed a new path of music. He formed a rock n’ roll band and started singing and performing at the West Preston Church Hall at the start of the 1960’s, a very exciting era in music.   Because of their popularity, his band soon had to move to a larger venue, Preston Town Hall. Up to a thousand teenagers would congregate to enjoy the music and very soon, Johnny got himself a manager to make life easier.   In 1961, he joined an instrumental group, The Thunderbirds as their singer, released albums, performed interstate and became a regular on TV music shows. They even recorded one of their albums live at Preston City Hall.   By 1964, Johnny was appearing on ‘Teen Scene’, a new TV show for teenagers, with his group, The Chessmen and in October of that year, he married his teenage sweetheart, a local girl from Preston. Johnny appeared with the Beatles in their tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1964 In the 1970s Johnny moved from rock n’ roll to country and western music, hosting a tv program called ‘Country Road’.   In the early 1980’s Johnny won the best male vocalist award three years in a row at the Tamworth Country Music Festival amongst other awards. He later compered the event. Since then Johnny has toured Australia with various artists, worked on radio programs and continued to create music.   ANOTHER JOHNNY ROCKS ‘EM. (1961, July 5). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) p. 75.   LOCAL TALENT. (1961, December 27). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p.11   JOHNNY CHESTER. (1963, July 31). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 69.   JOHHNY CHESTER’S WEDDING BELLE! (1964, October 28). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 91.   COUNTRY MUSIC STARS STAY IN THEIR FIRMAMENT (1983, January 31). Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 3.