They may be in their twilight years and not be able to jive like they used to, but rock’n’roller Johnny Devlin is sure his fans will be out in force for his concert at Woonona on December 2.
The Illawarra resident and New Zealand’s first major rock’n’roll star is hoping to bring the house down when he returns to play the Woonona Bulli RSL Club for the first time in more than 50 years.
Devlin said when he opened Seniors Week in Wollongong in 2010 he was amazed at the fans who came up to him and asked him to sign his records from 1959.
Labelled New Zealand’s answer to Elvis, Devlin, now 74, is still performing. He was an instant success when he and the Devils crossed the ditch in 1959, after having a No.1 hit with Lawdy Miss Clawdy in New Zealand in 1958. The song sold 100,000 copies and was the country’s first gold record.
His big hits in Australia include No.3 hit Turn the Lights Out Johnny and Stop the Tumbarumba. He released Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On and Blue Suede Shoes, for the 1964 Beatles tour. His backing singers were the Bee Gees.
The Pioneers of Australian Rock’n’Roll at Woonona Bulli RSL will feature Devlin, Digger Revell and Johnny Charters’ Rebels. Devlin wrote Revell’s biggest hit in 1963, My Little Rocker’s Turned Surfie.
‘‘It’s going to be one hell of a rocking show. The fans can expect to hear original rock’n’roll a la Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and some of my hits,’’ said Devlin.
There will be a meet and greet session after the gig.
Devlin remembers fondly his only other gig at Woonona Bulli RSL in ‘‘late 59/early 60’’. He was riding high on the Aussie charts, performing big stadium shows with Crash Craddock and appearing on TV shows Bandstand and Six O’Clock Rock with Johnny O’Keefe.
He says, driving down the Bulli Pass, ‘‘we came to this little club – just a little tin shed where we could get a beer.’’ The RSL club manager Jim Birney asked Devlin if he would perform a charity show for a guide dog appeal and he agreed.
‘‘You could not get in the club. I couldn’t get to the stage. It was a rip-roaring success.’’
The show starts at 2pm.
Information, tickets: 42841577 or wbrsl.com.au