From humble roots in Whakatane to headlining concerts in Las Vegas showrooms with his sultry voice, singer John Rowles has another accolade for the record books - a knighthood.

Rowles' velvety voice reached radios across the globe in the late 1960s with If I Only Had Time, which reached No 3 in the British singles chart in 1968.

For his services to entertainment he has been made a knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Cheryl Moana Marie was also popular overseas, reaching No 64 in the United States Billboard Top 100 in 1971.


Rowles, now 71, famously performed in the US, Britain and Australia.

His Queen's Birthday Honours profile says Rowles was part of the Royal Command Performance for the Queen in 1981.

He also performed a one-off show for charity at the Aotea Centre in Auckland in 1990.

In 2011 Rowles performed a farewell tour before returning to the limelight in 2014 for his "I'm Back Again" Australian Tour.

An autobiography, If I Only Had Time, touched on his touring days in Las Vegas and Hawaii, where he found a dependable market for his smooth baritone.

Called by some the Kiwi Tom Jones or Elvis Presley, Rowles drew attention from the masses with his big hair, big voice and slick style.

He told the Herald in 2006 that during touring he would wear clothes that some would think ridiculous today.

"I was different, I didn't dress normal. I used to have the big buckle and the tight velvet suit. It would look absolutely ridiculous today but I did the Johnny Carson show in New York with that."


Even now, decades after his mainstream success, Rowles' legendary voice is still showing popularity with his hit songs accumulating millions of listens on YouTube.