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First published March 2017, last updated December 2017

Phil Garland passed away suddenly on March 15th 2017 at Waikato Hospital.  Phil was a founding member of the Christchurch Folk Club and a champion of New Zealand folk music. 


Just found out today (10th Dec 2017) about Phil Garland passing.  Although a long time ago I had the pleasure of playing drums with the Saints and Phil and Dianna Jacobs (Lee) at the Hibernian hall in Christchurch in the early 60s.  Phil was a couple of years younger than me but I used to enjoy his singing.  We played alongside Pat Nehoney, Jimmy Woods, Don Hickman, Ross Clancey, and supervised by Manager Bart Ball.  Kevin Ealam played my bongo drums.  I recall we backed Jonny Devlin (sorry Max) when he came to Christchurch.  We also played at a jambouree...that was fun.  I also remember going to 3ZB Studio with the Saints where we recorded a 45 called 'Scotland Yard and Psycho'.  I still have a copy of it on Robins Recordings.  I only played with the band a short time as I became a practising Christian and decided to pursue that lifestyle.  Phil and I got on well together during our brief time in the band and years later I went into a music shop on Papanui road and had a chat about the good old days.  Phil was talking with a friend and he said, "This is Graeme. The best drummer I ever heard.".  I was delighted.  I'm sorry to hear the news, but I have lovely memories of this very special man.  God bless his family. - Graeme Milne
Phil and I go back to around 1960 when I joined the band The Saints in Christchurch we played the Hibernian Hall run by Bart Ball and I was the girl singer in the band.

Max Merritt played down the road at the Railway Hall  so there was always a bit of competition going on.  I remember once we went to see Max play and the dance The Twist had just come out and I have to say Phil was one mean Twister he could really twist it up on the dance floor.

Phil started up the band The Playboys and once again I was the girl singer in the band and we gigged around Christchurch becoming very popular with the Christchurch dance scene. Max Merritt invited the Playboys to fill in for the Meteors in Auckland which in the early 60's was the showbiz mecca of New Zealand and once again the band did very well.

Back in Christchurch Phil and I got the taste for the music scene in the big smoke and we moved to Auckland where we gigged around and Phil recorded his hit song 'Little Band Of Gold' which did extremely well for him.

Phil and I went our separate ways and I moved on to Sydney and Phil became this well respected and much loved Folk singer and toured Australasia becoming a legend and a pioneer in his chosen field of music.

I connected with Phil once again in the last few years mainly through Facebook we both loved catching up and discussing our music careers what we had done and what we were going to do in the future and learning about our families and home life.

I am so going to miss Phil, our little banters on Facebook his wit, his kindness, his generosity, a true Gentleman there will always be a place in my heart for Phil.

My thoughts and love go to his family he was one of a kind, a true New Zealand Music Legend.

Rest In Peace Phil Garland xx - Dinah Lee
I checked my Facebook when I got back from a couple of gigs in Rarotonga recently and found a birthday wish from Phil.  Then I read my other messages and was informed of his passing three days after he had sent his message.  What a shock. 

I remember Phil as a 60's Musician in Christchurch where he would sing Chuck Berry covers at the Plainsman with I think it was Peter Nelson and the Castaways in a snazzy suit.  He was quite a mover too. 

He was a man of integrity in the New Zealand music business and walked his own road which is to be admired. 

RIP Phil you made your mark. - Peter Caulton
(email me your tribute to Phil and I'll add it in -


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