Johnny Duncan entered the United States Army and was sent to England where he met and married his wife Betty in 1952. After a short return to the USA he went back to England with Betty who needed a hosital operation.
Chris Barber's Jazz Band
On a visit to London Johnny Duncan went to hear Chris Barber’s Dixieland Band which had turned Lonnie Donegan into a star with his international skiffle hit recording of Rock Island Line. Barber signed Duncan to play with his band where he stayed for a year.
Big solo hit
His first unsuccessful solo recording was a cover of Hank Williams' Kaw-Liga, but in 1957 his recording of a Calypso song called Last Train To San Fernando became the seventeenth most popular recording of that year in Britain and its only rivals were Buddy Holly's That’ll Be The Day; True Love by Bing Crosby and especially Diana by Paul Anka.
As a result of his chart success he became a regular on 6.5 Special, the first teenage program on BBC television and his own program Tennessee Songbag on BBC radio.
Although Johnny Duncan continued to record for a period of time the skiffle fad faded and so did the success of Johnny Duncan. Following his divorce he emigrated to Australia, briefly returned to England and then back to Australia where he married for a second time. On occasion he did perform in Australia, but he had basically left show business after his return to Australia. In 1999 while his health was fading he did make new recordings in Australia just before he died in 2000.
Duncan claimed Tennessee as his place of birth, and gave his year of birth as Sept. 7, 1931, but none of this information could ever be verified.
Duncan decided to go solo that year, with a band comprised of bassist Jack Fallon, drummer Lennie Hastings, and guitarist Bryan Daly, who was later replaced by top-flight jazz player Denny Wright, a veteran of Donegan's band.
Duncan is said to have moved to Australia in the mid-1970s, and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
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