Ray Columbus & the Invaders

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Ray Columbus & the Invaders
Years active 1964 (1964)–1966 (1966)
Past members Ray Columbus
Dave Russell (guitar)
Wally Scott(guitar)
Peter Ward (Drums)
Billy Kristian (bass)
Jimmy Hill (drums)

Ray Columbus & the Invaders were a rock group from Christchurch, New Zealand that was active from 1964 to 1966, and fronted by leading vocalist, Ray Columbus a musician, television host and manager. Part of the new surf music craze, they were the first New Zealand band to have an international number 1 with a cover of The Senators "She's A Mod".[1]


Influenced by the early 1960s work of Cliff Richard and The Beatles, Ray Columbus & the Invaders scored a #1 hit in Australia thus becoming the first New Zealand band to have an international #1 song[1]—and New Zealand with "She's a Mod" in 1964, a cover version of a song by The Senators. Ray Columbus and the Invaders were included in a package tour "Big Beat '65" with Roy Orbison, The Rolling Stones and The Newbeats that toured New Zealand and Australia. During the tour, the Invaders performed as Orbison's backing band as well as performing as Ray Columbus and the Invaders.

They had several more hits in New Zealand before disbanding in late 1965. Leader Ray Columbus later moved to the US where he found a California psychedelic band, Newcastle Five, who he renamed as The Art Collection. As a band, Ray Columbus and The Art Collection released four singles for the Colstar label, including the psychedelic rocker "Kick It" before The Art Collection split with Columbus. During his time in California (1966–68), Columbus was offered an audition with The Monkees but turned this down. He also turned down the chance to get together with David Crosby or Gene Clark after these musicians left The Byrds. Columbus then went on to become a band manager.

Billy Kristian played bass for the Invaders, and he later joined the Keil Isles, The Jimmy Sloggett Band, Headband and Night and produced Herbs' first full album Long Ago.

National Honours[edit]

The band were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2009.[1]



  • Every Nite (1964)
  • Original Numbers (1965)

Compilation Albums[edit]

  • Till We Kissed: The Greatest Hits (1965)
  • Anthology (1981)
  • The Definitive Collection (2009)

Extended Plays[edit]

  • Now You Shake (1965)


Year Single Chart Positions
1963 "Ku-Pow" - -
1964 "On My Mind" - -
"She's a Mod" 1 -
"Yo-Yo" 72 -
"I Wanna Be Your Man" - -
1965 "C'mon and Swim" 71 -
"Till We Kissed" 29 -
"Where Have You Been" - -
1966 "We Want a Beat" - -


  1. ^ a b c Kara, Scott (8 October 2009). "The Ray Columbus story". The New Zealand Herald (APN News & Media). Retrieved 25 October 2010.