Andre Martin…Here we are at the end of August 1964, and what an exciting month that has been for us in Hastings – this is Saturday 29th, and we are back at the Happy Ballroom, for the next episode of its musical history. Has the Pier management decided to start the fight back against the new local competition, and start booking bands that are building their own reputations, this week we have The HoneyCombs and the support from Brighton – Shelly – formerly known as The Sabres, who were about to embark on a future playing in Europe, and would become top names in both Denmark and Scandinavia within the next few years. This was to be one of the last appearance from the band in Hastings.
The Top of the Bill, The HoneyCombs – started in November 1963 as an amateur band founded by Martin Murray, Its members were Murray, a hairdresser, his salon assistant Honey Lantree her brother John and two friends, Originally they called themselves the Sheratons. The group played dates in the West End of London, and at the Mildmay Tavern a North London pub. Among those attending an appearance of the band in February 1964 were aspiring songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. Howard and Blaikley would become a prolific British songwriting team, writing songs recorded by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, the Herd, Lulu and even Elvis Presley, but in 1964 they had just started their career They got into conversation with the group, which appeared interested in a few songs the duo had just written. The group had already arranged an audition with indie record producer Joe Meek The audition resulted in a recording of Howard and Blaikley’s “Have I the Right?”. Meek himself provided the B-side, “Please Don’t Pretend Again”.
“Have I the Right?” was released in June 1964 on the Pye record label. Louis Benjamin Pye’s later chairman rechristened the group The Honeycombs, a pun on the drummer’s name and her job as a hairdresser’s assistant. The sales started slowly, but by the end of July the record started to climb in the UK Singles Chart. At the end of August the record reached No. 1. “Have I the Right?” was also a big success outside the UK, hitting No. 1 in Australia and Canada, No. 5 in the US ] and No. 2 in the Netherlands. Overall sales of the record reached a million. The Honeycombs also recorded a German version of the song: “Hab ich das Recht?” Both the English and the German versions reached No 21 in the German charts: the English one in October, the German one in November 1964. That would have made the Pier Managements day – with a No 1 Hit record recording group playing in the Happy Ballroom. Elswhere the competiton at the Witch Doctor would have been the regular 7 nights a week, plus Sunday afternoon offering with such artistes this week as Neil Langdon & The Burnetts, Dave Champion & The Strangers, Peters Fables and Danny Mitchell & The Sound Sensations. Top billing that week would have been on the Sunday with Alexis Korner R&B Incorporated featuring Herbie Goins. The Weekend would have started off with the regular TV trip to Kingway London for Ready Steady Go, and on this weeks show —Gerry and the Pacemakers – “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” –Dusty Springfield – “Can I Get A Witness?”–Mark Wynter – “Love Hurts.”–Lulu – “Can’t Hear You.”—Filmed acts appearing “Rag Doll” (Four Seasons record).–a “You Never Can Tell” (Chuck Berry record). So that it for this week everybody – now looking forward to September 1964 and all that will hold for us in Hastings & St Leonards ! Andre Martin
Andy Qunta… ‘Have I The Right’ – Another gem!